The University of New Mexico is not a perennial powerhouse.The school began playing baseball in 1899 but has advanced to the NCAA postseason only once. When it comes to ranking the greats in baseball history, USC is certainly at or near the top. New Mexico is not.Versatile · Sophomore right hander Ben Mount will get the start on Saturday against New Mexico after pitching in relief last weekend. – Avi Kushlan | Daily TrojanBut make no mistake about it, the Lobos can play. Just ask No. 3 Texas.Two weeks ago, both teams opened the season in Austin, Texas, where then-No. 1 Texas dropped two of three games to unranked New Mexico.Now, nobody is taking the Lobos lightly.The Lobos (6-3) come to Dedeaux Field for a three-game series with the Trojans (4-4) that starts tonight. And UNM brings a lot of firepower.Junior catcher Rafael Neda has picked up right where he left off in 2009. Through nine games, he’s hitting .447 with a team-leading two home runs and 10 RBIs. Last season, he finished the year batting over .400.Two of his teammates, senior outfielder Chris Juarez and senior first baseman/outfielder Justin Howard, are also hitting over .400 for the season. Howard is one of the most patient hitters on the team, sporting an on-base percentage of more than .500 to complement his hitting.The Trojans will counter with a slightly different rotation than the one they’ve used the last two weeks.Sophomore pitcher Andrew Triggs (1-0, 5.11) will make his third start of the season in tonight’s contest. Triggs has 11 strikeouts in just over 12 innings of work.Senior pitcher Kevin Couture (0-0, 3.12) will also make his regular start Sunday. He pitched only one and two-thirds innings last Sunday against UCLA, leaving the game at Dodger Stadium early after being hit by a line drive in the second inning. But he is ready to go for the series finale.Saturday’s start, however, will go to sophomore Ben Mount, instead of sophomore Chad Smith. Mount (0-1, 4.05) has pitched well for the Trojans as a starter and a reliever.He made his lone start of the season on Feb. 23 against Loyola Marymount and went six strong innings. On Sunday, he relieved Couture and went four and one-third innings while allowing three runs.He took the loss in the game last Sunday but pitched well in defeat. Now, he joins the weekend rotation, at least for this series.The Lobos are in the middle of a five-game road trip. They traveled to Las Cruces, New Mexico, to take on New Mexico State and split the two-game series. They won the first game 9-6 before dropping Wednesday’s contest, 17-8.USC last played UNM in 1985 at Dedeaux Field. The Lobos won, 7-1, but the Trojans lead the all-time series 3-1.Tomorrow’s game is scheduled for a 6:30 p.m. start, and Sunday’s matchup will begin at 1 p.m.
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SA Football Association (Safa) president Danny Jordaan promised on Monday a new era for Bafana Bafana that will see a new name, new technical staff and a new technical sponsor.Jordaan said this was not a witchhunt because Bafana lost to Nigeria in the African Nations Championship (Chan) tournament on Sunday, but was part of a process he began when he was elected president late last year.“I am fully aware that the national team needs urgent attention and we are dealing with the situation,” Jordaan said in a statement.“We have a meeting already scheduled in early February where the team name, technical staff and technical sponsorship will be addressed.“Big changes are underway at Safa, not just at the national team level but at grassroots.”He said if the country wanted to build a winning team for the future, efficient structures should be in place from school level. Jordaan said he understood the criticism that Bafana and Safa were receiving about the loss to Nigeria, but said many of the country’s top players had not been allowed to take part in the tournament.“Chan rules restrict the competition to home-based players, and some teams refused to release the players who might have made a difference to the result,” he said.“This is not an excuse, it is the reality of the situation. We could not field our best team because of restrictions.”Jordaan said he had carried out a sweeping review of all Safa management since his appointment.“Things will change, and sooner rather than later. We are going to create a new era where South Africa takes its rightful place as a top African football nation and one that is respected in world football,” he said. “This is the task I have undertaken, and I will not rest until we can hold our heads up in pride.” – Sapa