• Isotopes drop finale 3-1 in 11 innings, but take series
    The Albuquerque Isotopes ran out of gas Thursday afternoon in the series finale against the Tacoma Rainiers (3-5), dropping a 3-1 decision in 11 innings. The Isotopes just missed the sweep, taking the first three games of the four-game series, and conclude the eight-game homestand with a 5-3 record. The Isotopes had a chance for their fourth walk-off win in seven games in the bottom of the ninth and 10th but couldn’t find a way to pull it out. Ben Paulsen led off the inning with a double but was gunned down at third after an attempted sacrifice bunt. A 4-6-3 double play ended the inning. In the bottom of the 10th, catcher Ryan Casteel reached to lead off the frame courtesy of an error but was left stranded after a popup and back-to-back strikeouts. Albuquerque has won a pair of 10-inning games this season in addition to two more last at-bat wins. Sunday’s 11-inning affair was the longest for the Isotopes this season. In the top of the 11th, a leadoff double got Tacoma’s offense rolling. An errant throw on a bunt attempt allowed a run to score and put another runner on third with no outs. After a sacrifice fly, the Rainiers led 3-1. The Isotopes couldn’t muster any offense in the home half of the 11th with Tacoma retiring the side in order.
  • Five-run first catapults Isotopes to fourth straight win
    The Albuquerque Isotopes (5-2) used a five-run first inning, highlighted by a Brandon Barnes leadoff home run, to win their fourth-straight game with a 7-6 victory against the Tacoma Rainiers (2-5) Wednesday night. Catcher Ryan Casteel also tacked on three RBI. DECIDING MOMENT: The Rainiers tied the game at six with a one-out, two-run double in the top of the eighth. After three walk-off wins in their first six games, the Isotopes have come much accustomed to the late inning dramatics. Leading off the home half of the eighth, Ben Paulsen was plunked on the elbow. An Angelys Nina single to center put runners on the corners for catcher Ryan Casteel. The 23-year-old backstop grounded into a fielder’s choice, allowing Paulsen to score the go-ahead run. CASTEEL’S DEAL: Catcher Ryan Casteel started his third game behind the dish for Albuquerque and turned in a vital 1-for-3 night with three RBI. In his three appearances this season, Casteel is batting .417 (5-for-12) with one run scored, one double and four RBI.
  • Isotopes win third straight on Wheeler homer
    Six games into the young season and the Albuquerque Isotopes (4-2) already have three walk off wins, including two walk off home runs in as many days. Right fielder Tim Wheeler smashed a line drive home run over the right-center field wall in the bottom of the ninth inning Tuesday night, giving the Isotopes a 6-5 win against the Tacoma Rainiers (2-4). It is their third-straight victory. DECIDING MOMENT: Back-to-back doubles by the Rainiers in the top of the ninth tied the game at five, but the Isotopes were all too familiar with the late inning heroics. Tim Wheeler stepped in the box to lead off the home half of the ninth and blasted a 1-1 pitch over the right-center field wall for the Isotopes’ second walk off in as many nights. HELL ON WHEELERS: Tim Wheeler mashed his first two home runs of the 2015 seasons Tuesday night, a two-run blast in the sixth and a solo shot in the ninth. He finished the game 2-for-3 with two runs scored, three RBI and a walk. He is also the second-consecutive Albuquerque player to mash two homers in a game after Dustin Garneau’s two-homer performance Monday night.
  • Isotopes drop opener to Aces
    Opening Night festivities provided plenty of excitement for fans, but the Albuquerque Isotopes (0-1) dropped an 8-2 decision to the Reno Aces (1-0) to open the 2015 season. After a first inning leadoff double from Brandon Barnes, the Isotopes jumped out to an early 1-0 lead. The Aces tied it up in the second before a Kyle Parker homer put the ’Topes on top in the third. A four-run fifth inning from Reno, highlighted by a Garrett Weber double, put the Isotopes away for good. Reno tacked on two more runs in the sixth before cruising the rest of the way. Parker, an outfielder, christened the new season with a mammoth home run in the bottom of the third inning. He blasted the 2-2 pitch over the scoreboard in left field, giving the Isotopes a 2-1 lead at the time. Parker hit 15 home runs last season with Colorado Springs, one year after matching a career best with 23 dingers. Making a Major League rehab appearance for the Isotopes, lefty Jorge De La Rosa tossed four innings of four-hit, one-run ball. He surrendered his only run via a second inning leadoff home run. De La Rosa’s final line included 4.0 IP, 4 hits, one run (earned), three walks and two strikeouts.
  • Sipapu offering free tickets for closing weekend
    Sipapu Ski and Summer Resort will end winter operations this Sunday, and resort officials say they’ll be running the lifts at no charge on Saturday and Sunday to celebrate Sipapu’s strongest winter ever. “This season has been the best in our history,” Sipapu mountain manager John Paul Bradley said. “More guests visited us than ever before, so we decided to give away lift tickets as a small token of our appreciation.” The mountain’s lifts will be open from 9:30 a.m. — 4 p.m. The area’s ski school, full-service rental shop, mountain dining and slopeside lodging will all be available. Sipapu is currently reporting at 23-inch base, but it’s unclear what trails will be open for the area’s final weekend. The 2014-2015 winter season was a busy one for northern New Mexico’s oldest ski area: Sipapu’s lifts started turning on Nov. 15, which marked the earliest opening in recent Sipapu history and clenched the 12th consecutive time the resort opened before any other ski area in the state. Sipapu then extended its daily operations schedule to offer guests the longest ski and snowboard season in New Mexico.
  • Isotopes open Thursday
    The Albuquerque Isotopes are ready to begin a new era as the Colorado Rockies Triple-A affiliate. The Isotopes’ opening day roster features some of the Rockies top prospects, including16 players with Major League experience and four first-round picks. New manager Glenallen Hill has 10 members on his squad who are on the Rockies 40-man roster: Chad Bettis, Rex Brothers, Jairo Diaz, Tommy Kahnle, Jorge Rondon, Chris Rusin, Cristhian Adames, Ben Paulsen, Brandon Barnes and Kyle Parker. Colorado Rockies ace Jorge De La Rosa is scheduled to make a Major League rehab start for the Albuquerque Isotopes on Opening Day this Thursday against the Reno Aces. First pitch is set for 6:35 p.m. De La Rosa, an 11-year Major League veteran, was placed on the disabled list with left groin tightness on April 6 (retroactive to March 27). He was originally tabbed to start Colorado’s home opener on April 10. The Monterrey, Mexico, native has the Rockies’ best all-time winning percentage (.763). The upcoming season is also packed with 13 fireworks shows and 22 giveaways including replica jerseys, hats, beer steins, mini bats and much more. To kick off the promotional schedule, beanies courtesy of Coca-Cola will be given away to the first 3,000 fans on opening day.
  • High water levels welcome rafters to the rio
    As skiers and snowboarders prepare for their final weekend of to slide around this season — on Sunday, Taos and Sipapu will be the final New Mexico ski areas to close — local rafting outfits are just beginning their seasons. “It’s boating time,” New Mexico River Adventures guide Matt Gontram said. New Mexico River Adventures and many other local rafting companies started operating for the season on April 1. With the lower Sangre de Cristo mountains at 100 percent of their normal snow pack, water levels in the Rio Grande are high enough right now to ride everything from La Junta to the Taos Box and the Race Course sections of the river. “The water levels are great,” Gontram said. “It’s going to be a beautiful season.” In some ways, the rafting season is the opposite of ski season. Ski areas have to wait for snow to stack before it can open its more challenging the terrain. Sometimes it can be months before ski areas are able to open 100 percent of its terrain. On the rivers, however, the highest water levels are often at the beginning of the season.
  • Fishing starting to pick up
    Fishing at the lower end of the Abiquiu Lake has been fair using crank baits and swim baits for walleye. Fishing was fair using Power Bait and crank baits for trout.
  • Special Olympian steals show at Lobo football practice
    Not that a pick me up was needed at the fourth practice of the 2015 Spring Season, but it was most certainly delivered. It was delivered in the form of Special Olympian Abe Assaad, and he was the definitive highlight of the days events. The second practice of the week, and the fourth of the spring, started much like all the others, with some special teams periods and a good team stretch. After that stretch, Coach Davie brought the team together, and brought in Abe into the huddle. Abe, along with many other Special Olympians, took part in the Mayor’s Invitational, which was held at the Albuquerque Convention Center on February 21, and is a part of Special Olympics New Mexico. The UNM football players went down and served as judges, timers, coaches, cheerleaders and anything else for the event, getting to meet all of the Special Olympians, including Abe. As a thanks, Abe sent the following note to UNM head coach Bob Davie. “Dear Coach Davie,
  • Minor League Baseball announces new pace of game regulations
    Minor League Baseball recemtly announced rules and procedures aimed at improving the pace of play in games at the Triple-A and Double-A levels. The procedures, created in partnership with Major League Baseball, will monitor the time taken between innings and pitches, and will limit the amount of time allowed during pitching changes. Umpires will continue to enforce rules prohibiting batters from leaving the batter’s box between pitches. Timers have been installed at all Triple-A and Double-A parks in plain view of umpires, players and fans to monitor the pace of play and determine when violations occur. The month of April will serve as a grace period, with players receiving warnings for infractions. Beginning May 1, rules will be enforced as written. The regulations and penalties for non-compliance are listed below. INNING BREAKS -Inning breaks will be two minutes, 25 seconds in duration. The first batter of an inning is encouraged to be in the batter’s box and alert to the pitcher with 20 seconds left on the inning break timer. The pitcher must begin his wind-up or begin the motion to come to the set position at any point within the last 20 seconds of the 2:25 break.