ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Comebacks have been a trend for the University of New Mexico softball team. And tonight they added another, beating Detroit 6-5 in the bottom of the seventh off a walk-off sacrifice fly from freshman Michala Erickson that scored Jasmine Casados.
“I love the fight of the team and I love that we are never out of the game,” said head coach Erica Beach. “I just hope that we can start to score earlier. It takes a lot to come back and I’m really proud of the mental toughness that we showed.”
The inning started when Brandi Heimburg reached base on an error by the second baseman. She then advanced to second on Chelsea Anaya’s ground out to the pitcher. Shelbie Franc sparked the Lobo offense with a single up the middle that moved Heimburg to third. Naomi Tellez hit a double to left center that scored Heimburg and Franc to bring the score to 5-3 .
“Shelbie has been a total spark plug for us, getting things started for us,” said Beach. “She is really fun to watch and is feisty in the box.”
Mariah Rimmer kept the rally going with an infield single. Rimmer and pinch runner Shelby Lucero both scored on the next play when Casados hit a shot down the right field line for a triple, tying the game up 5-5. Erickson came to the plate and with a 3-2 count, knocked in Casados for the walk-off.
Detroit started the game off hot, scoring four runs in the first two innings off Lobo starter Carrie Sheehan. The Titans produced their final run of the game in the fourth with one out. Lauren Soles came in as relief and recorded the final two outs in order. Soles was on top of her game tonight, striking out four and allowing one hit in 3.2 shutout innings of work to record the win, her first of the season.
“Lauren came and threw really well in relief,” said Beach. “She came in and shut the door for us.”
UNM put its first run on the board in the sixth inning. Jordan Sjostrand singled through the right side to score Rimmer. The Lobos pounded out 10 hits. Sjostrand and Casados, players who struggled early on in the season with their offense, were perfect at the plate. Sjostrand went 3-for-3 with and RBI and Casados went 2-for-2 with 2 RBIs and two walks.
“Jordan has stepped up big time for us, defensively and offensively,” said Beach. “She had a good pick at first today off a play from Casados and finished the play for us.”
“Jasmine had two good at bats that drew walks so the first key thing is that she is not chasing bad pitche,”said Beach. “She is trusting, just playing and not really thinking anymore. She is a good athlete and is trusting her instincts and picking better pitches to hit.”
The Lobos improve to 5-14 on the season and will continue the Lobo Classic tomorrow with a doubleheader against Detroit starting at noon.