Sports Desk: UNM pitcher Justin Slaten selected by Texas Rangers

Local Sports

Tuesday on the Sports Desk, former UNM pitcher Justin Slaten was selected in the third round of the MLB Draft. The Texas Rangers made Slaten the 86th overall pick, the highest since Luis Gonzalez went at 87 in 2017.

“I think 98 mph will help with that a little bit,” said Lobo Baseball Coach Ray Birmingham. “It’s obvious he’s a big league pitcher.”

Slaten grew up watching the Texas Rangers and was in awe of being selected. “It was really a surreal moment,” said Slaten.

New Mexico State shortstop Joey Ortiz made school history when he became the program’s highest draft pick. The Baltimore Orioles took Ortiz with the first pick of the fourth round, 108 overall. The All American shortstop was named 2019 WAC Player of the Year while leading the league in hits, runs scored, doubles, triples and total bases.

The NAHL expansion team, New Mexico Ice Wolves, made the first draft pick of their franchise history Tuesday. The Ice Wolves took goalie Joey Graziano with the second overall pick of the draft.

“You know, I think goaltending is the backbone of the team and it’s important to have solid, solid goaltending throughout the year and feel confident in them. We also need some high-end scoring,” said Ice Wolves Head Coach Phil Fox.

Combate Americas has added local fighter Brenda Gonzales Means to it’s July 28 fight card at Santa Ana Star Center. Jackson Wink-trained fighter Joby Sanchez has also been added.

New Mexico United is back on the pitch Wednesday. The USL Championship Western Division leader has a meeting with OKC Energy at 7 p.m.

The match comes at a time when the United has seen a whirlwind of activity in news for the franchise. They have an upcoming match with the Colorado Rapids of MLS Saturday. They also have a friendly with Cardiff FC in July.

Despite all of the exciting upcoming events, the focus remains on league play. “Open Cup and friendlies are fun, but our focus is on the league right now,” said NM United Forward Santi Moar. “We still are in first position, but the teams that are coming behind us are coming in strong. So we got to keep winning to stay on top.”

Wednesday night’s promotion is “Pride on the Pitch”. Doors open at Isotopes Park at 5:30 p.m. and the match kicks off at 7 p.m.

New Mexico State Football will have a challenging schedule during the 2019 season, but it’s okay. Head Coach Doug Martin believes he has his best team yet.

“We’ve got probably our most talented team coming up this year,” said Martin. “We feel like this team is more talented than the bowl team that we had.”

New Mexico State will start the 2019 season on the road at Washington State.

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