ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Ray Birmingham and his University of New Mexico baseball team are hosting starting Saturday, for the first time in nearly a year. The Air Force Academy is up first for the Lobos in a Mountain West Conference battle.
The Lobos were 18 games in last year at 14-4 when COVID-19 wiped out what was left of the season. The series against Air Force will be at 25% capacity and the Lobo website listed tickets as already sold out as of 3 p.m. Friday.
The series against Air Force was originally scheduled for a field in Amarillo, Texas. That was before the Lobos got word this week that the state health order for COVID-19 had eased a bit.
Playing at home has the Lobos excited, especially the seven players who are from New Mexico. “Me personally, I was ecstatic, you know. I am a New Mexican and I love playing in front of my fans and having my family close enough to come watch me. You know, you got to love that,” said Lobos pitcher Tristen Lively.
The home of the Lobos will look a little different to fans this season. Upgrades were put in during the offseason, improvements that the Lobos are very proud of. “We play pretty good in this yard and so they are excited about playing here,” said Lobos head coach Ray Birmingham. “It’s a big deal, it’s a big deal to play here in the new stadium and see how Lobo Baseball is moving forward because we are trying to catch power five schools, that’s what we are trying to do.” Game one of a doubleheader Saturday has a 1 p.m. start time. Sunday’s game is scheduled to start at noon.
In other sports news, UNM softball dropped a pair of games at the GCU/ASU Tournament in Arizona. The Lobos suffered an 8-0 loss to second-ranked Oklahoma in morning play and lost to 13th-ranked ASU 13-1.
Lobo football announced Friday that they will start the home portion of their schedule in 2023 against Tennessee State. The Golden Eagles will get $350,000 and 350 complimentary tickets to make the trip to the Duke City. The Lobos are also starting spring football Tuesday. Practice will run from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. in the first of 15 total practices.
New Mexico State has played bad on Fridays and well on Saturdays during the two-game series WAC Conference season. The three-time defending WAC champion is hoping to change it all as they start a two-game series at Tarleton State Friday night.
Former UFC bantamweight champion Holly Holm will put her broadcasting skills to use during the first all-women pay-per-view boxing card on Fite TV March 5. Holm’s Jackson and Wink Academy teammate and world champion boxer Claressa Shields will face Marie Eve Dicaire in a 154-pound unification battle. Holm will serve as the co-host for the fights. Shields hopes to make her MMA debut sometime in June.