Ray Birmingham is entering his seventh year as head coach of the UNM baseball team, and he helped the team set records both on and off the field as the Lobos made their fourth straight NCAA regional. UNM absolutely dominated the Mountain West to the tune of 25 wins (a conference record) and only five losses on their way to an overall record of 37-22. The Lobos won the league by seven games (another record) for their second straight regular-season title. Along the way they won 14 straight conference games (yet another MW record) and all 10 MW series. For the second straight year UNM had the Co-Players of the Year in DJ Peterson and Mitch Garver, as well as one of the Co-Freshmen of the Year in Sam Haggerty. Birmingham also won his second straight Mountain West Coach of the Year award as the team made a seamless transition back to their newly renovated Lobo Field.
Birmingham's teams are usually some of the best offensive clubs in the country, but 2013 was a special year even by his lofty standards. The Lobos led the nation in five offensive categories: batting (.334), runs per game (8.3), slugging percentage (.504), on base percentage (.422) and doubles per game (2.53). They finished second in both doubles (149) and hits (724), and third in runs (487), triples (31) and triples per game (.53). Individually, Peterson, Garver and Luke Campbell finished in the top 22 in batting, while Peterson led the nation in OBP and finished in the top 10 in 11 other categories.
For the second straight year Peterson was named a semifinalist for both the Golden Spikes Award and the Dick Howser Trophy and Garver was a finalist for the Johnny Bench Award.
Ken Jacome is in his 10th year at New Mexico, joining the staff in the summer of 2004. Prior to joining the Lobos, Jacome was the head coach at El Paso COMMUNITY COLLEGE for six seasons and then handled the Lobo pitching staff before shifting to infield coach/recruiting coordinator following the 2008 season.
Under Jacome, the Lobos' defense has recorded five of the top nine fielding percentage in school history, including a record .976 mark in 2009, which was also the first time the Lobos led the conference in fielding since the 2005 season. Outfielders Brian Cavazos-Galvez and Max Willett posted perfect fielding percentages and were the Lobos' top two fielders. In 2013, Chase Harris was perfect in the outfield in 138 chances, setting a new school record for most chances without an error -- breaking the record of 123 set by Willett in 2009.
As pitching coach in 2008, Jacome guided the staff to an ERA of 5.67, the lowest at UNM since 1996. He placed a Lobo pitcher on the All-Mountain West team during each of his four seasons as pitching coach - Danny Ray Herrera (2005, 2006) and Bobby LaFromboise (2007). In 2008, LaFromboise and relief pitcher Clinton Cox garnered second team All-MW honors. In 2006, he guided
Dan Spencer enters his second year with the Lobos after spending the previous four seasons as the head coach of Texas Tech, compiling a 115-112 record. Before joining Texas Tech for the 2008 season, Spencer spent 11 seasons at Oregon State as the Beavers hitting coach (1997-2003) and pitching coach (2004-2007). He helped lead Oregon State to back-to-back College World Series titles in 2006 and 2007.
"This is huge for the continued success of our PROGRAM as we try to get to Omaha," UNM head coach Ray Birmingham said when Spencer was hired."Dan is a quality guy and one of the best pitching coaches in the nation."
The Lobo pitching staff excelled in its first year under Spencer's tutelage in 2013. Gabe Aguilar and Sam Wolff enjoyed career years, and Josh Walker had one of the most successful seasons in Lobo history. Freshman Drew Bridges, who came to UNM as a shortstop, converted to the mound and had a wildly successful season, including combining with Walker to shut out then-No. 10 Arkansas on the road.
Volunteer Assistant Coach
Tony Cappuccilli enters his first year as a volunteer assistant coach for the Lobos. A native of Huntington Beach, Calif., Cappuccilli was an All-American in 1999 at Edison High School where he broke the Orange County career home run record. He attended Nevada and played for the Wolf Pack from 2000-03 and helped lead them to a Big West title and an NCAA Tournament berth in 2000. As a junior in 2002 he hit a team-high .357 and slugged 10 home runs to also lead the squad. During his four years the Wolf Pack played .553 ball (125-101) as he hit .288 with 28 home runs and 90 RBI in 168 games.
Following graduation, he played one year in the Frontier League for the Florence Freedom before turning to coaching. He began his career back at Edison HS, where he was an assistant during the 2004 season. Following one year at Trout Lake High School in Trout Lake, Wash., he returned to Edison and spent the following four years helping coach the Chargers. Cappuccilli earned his MASTER'S DEGREE in coaching and athletic administration from Concordia in 2009. He spent three months that year in Germany as part of the MLB Envoy program.
From 2010-13 he was an assistant coach at Irvine Valley College, and spent the 2014 season as a volunteer assistant at UNLV. In 2010 he was also an assistant coach for the Brewster Whitecaps in the Cape Cod League, and from 2011-14 he was the head coach of the Anchorage Bucs in the Alaska Baseball League.