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Mang brothers ready to lead UNM back to top of MW

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By Phil Scherer

The stakes are higher than ever for Connor and Jared Mang. Not long ago, the brothers suited up in Hilltopper gear hoping to win district championships for Los Alamos High School. Now, they are two of the biggest sources of hope for the University of New Mexico baseball team, a group intent on returning to the top of the mountain West Conference.

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Both of the Mang brothers are extremely talented, and highly confident about what the Lobos are capable of accomplishing this year. They are also both capable of accomplishing great things on the baseball diamond. 

Last season, as a redshirt freshman, Connor Mang was named to the freshman All-American team as the starting first baseman for the Lobos. He batted .326 with two home runs, 10 doubles, three triples and had 15 multi-hit games. He also committed only one error at first base. 

This year, the expectations are even higher for Connor Mang, but he intends on letting his bat and glove do the talking. 

“I’m just going to work hard and let the game play out,” Connor Mang said. “As long as I’m putting in my work and doing what I do, I think the results will speak for themselves.”

Through his successful freshman season, Connor Mang learned a lot about what it takes to play at the collegiate level, and he feels even more prepared heading into his second season with UNM. 

“I just learned that I have to grind it out,” Connor Mang said. “This is a long season, longer than anything I ever did before this, so it is just about taking it day by day. I can’t get too high after a good game and I can’t get too low after a bad game.”

For Jared Mang, this season is about getting back on track. Injuries derailed his 2018 season, as he was only able to play in 29 games. Heading into last season, he was a potential Major League Baseball draft prospect. Now, he is out to prove he is still the same player he was two seasons ago, and that he is capable of accomplishing great things. 

“I am trying to stay healthy for 56 games, and just be able to go out there and help the team the best way I can and let the rest take care of itself,” Jared Mang said. 

Prior to the season, Jared Mang was named a captain for the team, and this week he was also named to the Preseason All-Mountain West Team. As a captain, he intends to show his teammates the right way to play the game. 

“I just try to set a good example out there and make sure I am taking care of my business. I try to pull everybody along and make sure we are all going the same way,” Jared Mang said.

Despite having his season cut short due to injury, Jared Mang still produced impressive numbers at the plate a year ago. He led the Lobos with eight home runs, and batted .284. He scored 27 runs, and drove in 29 runs. 

Both Jared and Connor Mang have high expectations for this season, and expect a rebound after last year’s disappointing 11-19 conference record. 

“We want to win the Mountain West, and then we will go from there,” Jared Mang said. “You have to take it one step at a time.”

Connor Mang believes the team is more talented and motivated than last year’s group. 

“We can accomplish a lot this year,” Connor Mang said. “We are pretty talented and pretty deep, but we are young again. By the end of the year, I think we will be playing some really good baseball.”

This is the final year both Jared and Connor Mang will play for the Lobos, and is likely the final time they will play competitive baseball on the same diamond. They plan on enjoying the experience of playing at such a high level, one neither of them ever expected to have.

“It is definitely unique,” Connor Mang said. “I never really thought it would be an option or an opportunity. But once we got that opportunity, it has been awesome the whole way through.”