Sports Briefs 12-19-13

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Lobo pitcher Walker named All-American


ALBUQUERQUE — In 2013 Josh Walker did something for only the fifth time in UNM history: he won 10 or more games in a season. 

Now, he is being honored like no other Lobo pitcher in the history of the program.

Walker was named a preseason third team All-American Tuesday by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association. It is believed that he is the first Lobo pitcher to ever earn preseason All-America recognition.

“It feels really great,” said Walker, who is a native of Rio Rancho. “That’s one of the highest recognitions I can receive at this point. I want to thank my teammates and coaches for pushing me so hard. I want to thank my grandparents especially. My grandpa is a father figure to me. He has taught me so well and helped me become a better man. I owe it all to him.”

Walker began 2013 in the bullpen before getting into the starting rotation late in the season. He finished the year 11-1 with seven saves and a 3.66 ERA as the Lobos advanced to their fourth straight NCAA postseason. 

He started UNM’s opening game in the Fullerton Regional and allowed just one earned run in 7.1 innings.

“Being an All-American at the Division I level is a big deal,” UNM manager Ray Birmingham said, “and it is very well deserved.”

UNM has only had two pitchers receive postseason All-America honors: Dean Duane in 1985 after he posted a 14-0 record and a 2.98 ERA in 105.2 innings, and Danny Ray Herrera in 2006 after he went 10-0 with 104 strikeouts and a 2.24 ERA in 128.1 innings.


NMSU’s Franklin declares for NFL draft


LAS CRUCES — New Mexico State head football coach Doug Martin announced Tuesday that wide receiver Austin Franklin has declared himself eligible for the 2014 NFL Draft.

Franklin played in 33 games for the Aggies over the last three seasons. He caught 160 passes for 2,439 yards and 19 touchdowns, all of which rank him in the top-10 in school history. 

Franklin recorded 10 games during his Aggie career with over 100 yards receiving, while leading the team in receiving in 2012 and 2013.

This past season, Franklin caught 52 passes for 670 yards and seven touchdowns in just eight games.

 “Austin has been a very dynamic and explosive player for this team over the past three seasons and we wish him all the best in the upcoming draft and in the future,” NMSU head coach Doug Martin said.


UNM’s Riddle picked to AVCA third team


ALBUQUERQUE — Chantale Riddle was named third team American Volleyball Coaches Association All-America, capping an honor-filled junior campaign, and becoming just the seventh University of New Mexico Lobo to earn AVCA All-America honors.  

She is the program’s first AVCA All-American since 2008 when Jeanne Fairchild was named third team.  Riddle was an honorable mention selection last year. 

All told, Riddle is the sixth player to earn AVCA All-America honors, and the junior now has a chance to join Pauline Manser as the program’s only two-time All-American.

 In 2013, Riddle once again led UNM in kills (468) and kills per game (4.11).  She easily blew past the 1,000 kill mark and currently stands at 1,182, which is fifth all-time.

She will enter the 2014 season just 397 away from Tania Gooley’s school record set from 1991-94.

 Riddle’s 468 kills and 4.77 points per set easily led the Mountain West.

 “This is a really a well deserved honor,” said head coach Jeff Nelson, “It caps off great season for her and her team.  Her development since coming here has been nothing short of amazing, and she just keeps getting better.”

New Mexico went 24-7, finishing in second place in the Mountain West.  It was the most wins in a season since going 25-5 in 1988.