2004 Seaon Review: Exceeding Expectations
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  07/06/2004
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics
The 2004 Lobos entered the season with great expectations after a success fall training season where they worked harder than ever before. They were to be led by five talented seniors and were deeper in every position compared to recent years. With several new faces on the team including five freshmen and two transfers, the Lobos were determined to prove to the conference that they were much better than the sixth place finishing that was predicted of them in the preseason.

After the first two tournaments of the season, the Lobos were 5-5 but had achieved a huge upset of 20th-ranked Arizona State at their own tournament, the ASU Fiesta Bowl. They road the momentum into Denton, Texas for the North Texas/Betlin Round-Up and started their rise to the top. The Lobos placed second in the tournament but had tremedous performances from several players. Junior Ashley Perkins improved to 5-0 on the season with three wins including two consecutive shutouts.

The Lobos continued their winning ways, sweeping doubleheaders from New Mexico State and UTEP. They were 13-7 overall and in first place in the MWC. It was the first time in four years that the Lobos were above .500 at the 20-game mark. After the Mutual of Omaha Lady Raider Classic, they were 16-9 overall and just one game back in the conference standings.

Seeming a notch above the rest, the Lobos were quickly brought back down to earth after a rough time at the Oklahoma Worth Invitational. Sixth-ranked Oklahoma and Centenary won four consecutive games over New Mexico, giving them their longest losing streak of the season to date. The Lobos were ready to head home for their first games of the season at Lobo Field.

Sophomore Stephanie Kennedy grabbed the team's lone spot on the all-conference first team.

Home never seemed so sweet, with the Lobos winning five of six games in three days. They swept UTEP and New Mexico State and almost did so against Texas Tech but lost a close game, 1-0. They headed back to North Texas where they won the first two games of the tournament and were at their highest peak, 25-14, which tied the total number of wins they had in all of the 2003 season.

With the season half over and conference play right around the corner, a string of unforseen hard times fell upon the Lobos. Sophomores Jamar Bynum, Stephanie Kennedy, Iraina Ogas and freshman Robyn Hutson missed six games due to suspensions, Perkins was struggling with her pitching mechanics and the Lobos lost pitching coach Danielle Thacker, being placed on administrative leave. Poor weather also caused the cancellation of two home games against Colorado State and one versus BYU. The cancellations forced the Lobos to make up two games at CSU, striping the Lobos of home field advantage.

All of the bad luck cost the Lobos dearly, going 5-21 the remainder of the season. They finished 30-35 overall. They did end on a high note, upsetting third-seeded BYU, 1-0 in the opening round of the conference tournament as a sixth seed. They almost made it past the second round, falling in the final inning to second-seeded San Diego State, 2-1. As a result, only Kennedy was recognized for her performance, earning a spot on the all-conference team.

Senior Amy Dumas ends her career at UNM but leaves her name etched throughout the record books.

The end of the 2004 season completed the stellar career of pitcher Amy Dumas. Dumas, an effective workhorse for the Lobos, leaves the team holding the career records for appearances (151), games started (101), innings pitched (658), strikeouts (442) and tied for shutouts with Dena Mullins (19). Dumas is also in the top five in complete games, wins and walks, and is seventh in ERA.

Also ending their careers at UNM are Ora Hensley, Kim Korsak, Jen Sena and Sabrina Sandberg. In just two years, Hensley leaves tied 10th for all-time sacrifices. Sandberg is now 7th all-time with 10 career homers thanks to her seven this season including her first grand slam. Korsak left her mark in the walks category, drawing 59 over her career which leaves her tied for seventh.

Losing five seniors with the talent and leadership that the 2004 seniors posessed will be missed next year but for the 2005 Lobos, they will return 12 players including seven daily starters. Head coach Kim Newbern has brought in a strong recruiting class for next year that includes junior transfer Katie Gregg who should step in a fill any void left in the pitching rotation. The 2005 Lobos will be more experienced, talented, and determined to prove they are one of the best in the Mountain West.