Lobos Open Home Schedule This Weekend
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  03/01/2006
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

March 1, 2006

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Doubleheaders against Utah Valley State March 4-5
Saturday, March 4 - Utah Valley State (Albuquerque, N.M.), Noon
Saturday, March 4 - Utah Valley State (Albuquerque, N.M.), 2:00 p.m.
Sunday, March 5 - Utah Valley State (Albuquerque, N.M.), Noon
Sunday, March 5 - Utah Valley State (Albuquerque, N.M.), 2:00 p.m.

After a challenging 17-game road swing to open the season, the New Mexico softball team opens the 2006 home schedule this Saturday against Utah Valley State. First pitch of the doubleheader is scheduled for noon at Lobo Field. The Lobos (5-12) and Wolverines (5-6) meet again for a doubleheader on Sunday, March 5 also starting at noon. Gates open an hour before the first game on each day. For the March 5 doubleheader, fans who bring their ticket stub from the March 4 New Mexico women's basketball game will receive $1 admission to the softball games on Sunday. Call 925-LOBO for more ticket information.

The Lobos have a good thing going as they carry into the home schedule this weekend a 3-game win streak. New Mexico won the last three games at the UTEP Invitational in El Paso, Texas last weekend, including victories over Northern Colorado (score:15-4), San Jose State (score: 2-0) and UTEP (score: 10-7).

When at Lobo Field this March, fans will notice a brand new facility connected to the Lobos' dugout. The renovation project was completed in the fall of 2005 just in time for New Mexico's 2006 season. The facility houses the Lobos' locker room, bathroom and shower facilities, coaches' offices, and indoor batting cages. Both dugouts also received major overhauls for the first time ever, including construction on the dugouts to make each sit below ground level. New bull pens were constructed for New Mexico as well, sitting just past the home dugout down the third base line.

Lobo field now has a more completed look with the new additions and renovations. The Lobos will have plenty of time to enjoy their new facility as they play at home the entire month of March. Fans, make sure to get your tickets to see the Lobo softball team in action this month. For more ticket information, call 925-LOBO or use the 2006 Season Ticket Form on the softball main page at www.golobos.com to order season tickets.

Utah Valley State is currently 5-6 overall on the season, playing most of its games in neutral settings. The Wolverines are on a 2-game losing streak with their last two loses coming against Santa Clara (score: 2-0) and Washington (score: 8-0). Leading hitter for Utah Valley State is Rachel Hartgrove who is batting a .355 BA. She currently leads the team with 10 RBIs, three home runs and one triple. Top pitcher is Jackie Roberts with a 4-1 winning record and 1.78 ERA. Roberts has four complete games under her belt this season. The Wolverines are coached by second year head coach Todd Fairbourne. Utah Valley State on the internet: www.wolverinegreen.com

Last weekend in the Lobos' last non-conference road tournament of the season, New Mexico traveled to El Paso, Texas for the UTEP Invitational. UNM went 3-2 in the tournament with losses to San Jose State (score: 2-1) and New Mexico State (score: 4-3) and wins over Northern Colorado (score: 15-4), San Jose State (score: 2-0) and UTEP (score: 10-7). The 3-2 record over the weekend was the New Mexico's best outing this season.

Freshman pitcher Jen Mendenhall showed great performances on Saturday, bringing home two wins for New Mexico against Northern Colorado and San Jose State. She also earned her first complete game shutout in the Lobos' 2-0 win over San Jose State. She held the Spartans to only five hits in seven innings pitched and struck out seven.

Senior pitcher Katie Gregg had one of her best outings on the mound in the extra inning UTEP game where UNM won 10-7. Gregg came in relief for Mendenhall and pitched seven innings. She buckled down on UTEP's bats, holding the Miners to just three runs on five hits.

While everyone in New Mexico's lineup contributed one way or another at the plate last weekend, it was sophomore Lindsey Elcess who turned the most heads with her ball-crushing performances. Elcess batted a .563 batting average in El Paso. She racked up nine RBIs, two home runs and three doubles in her 16 at bats for a slugging percentage of 1.125. Her best performance last weekend was in the tournament's final game against UTEP where the Lobos defeated the Miners 10-7 in eight innings. Elcess went 4-for-5 in the game and drove in six runs to lead New Mexico to its third straight win and fifth overall. She tied the game with a two-run shot to left field in the seventh inning and then came back in the eighth to put the game away with a three-run double.

Senior second baseman Kristina Schmallen and sophomore designated player Lindsey Elcess lead the pack in home runs and RBIs through 17 games while senior shortstop Cassie Chavez leads the team with a .354 batting average.

Schmallen currently leads the team with six home runs and 18 RBIs. She also has five doubles to her name.

Elcess is a close second to Schmallen with four home runs and 16 RBIs. She also had four doubles.

Interesting fact about both leading power hitters is that they each are playing through injuries and still manage to show tremendous talent at the plate. Schmallen is working through a right shoulder injury she recently had surgery on in the fall and Elcess is dealing with an injured foot that is healing after being broken last season.

Chavez has been a great selective hitter lately, battling at the plate and fighting to find a hit with every at bat. The Carlsbad, N.M. native has 17 hits and 12 runs, including four RBIs. Chavez has yet to hit a home run, but the Lobos have benefited from her ability to get that base hit in the clutch moments. Her deceptive speed on the bases has also been a great help to New Mexico's scoring chances.

Freshman Samantha Hughes (La Cueva HS) is right on the heels of these veteran hitters. She is currently batting .281 and is one of three Lobos that are already in the double digits in RBIs with 10 (Schmallen and Elcess are the other two). She is also at the top of the list with five doubles.

The Lobos came very close to having everybody hit and everbody score in the five games played last weekend at UTEP. Eleven players that had at bats last weekend had at least one hit. Five players had five or more hits and nine players scored at least one run. Eight players also contributed one or more RBIs through the five games. In total, the Lobos had a combined team batting average of .296 last weekend with 31 runs, 42 hits, 26 RBIs, three home runs and 14 doubles.

New Mexico is 0-5 in games decided by one run. In last weekend's games New Mexico dropped two games that were decided by only one run. In all five games that were lost by one run, the Lobos were never completely out hit by the other team. Both sides were pretty evenly matched with the winning opponent having a slight edge in hits.

The Lobos have not been held scoreless once so far this season. New Mexico has scored at least one run in all 17 games played, including scoring on top-ranked Arizona and Stanford in its first weekend of competition. The most runs New Mexico has scored in a game this season was in the Lobos' 15-4 victory over Northern Colorado. UNM scored 13 runs in one inning.

With all this talk about hitting, can't forget about the Lobos' defense seen last weekend. Some great, jaw-dropping defensive plays were made by several position players during the five games played at UTEP.

In the outfield, speedy Jennifer Deitrich in center field tracked down a few scary fly balls that could have easily been hits. In one game, she had to run in from deep center field to make a thrilling under-hand catch. Right fielder Ryanne Hodgins also had some dramatic plays, including an over the shoulder catch in the tight UTEP game, saving a possible double.

In the infield, shortstop Cassie Chavez showed tremendous range in the middle infield, collecting grounders that at times could have been base hits against another shortstop. Stand-out play among many for Chavez was a sliding to the knees play to stop a ground ball up the middle and throwing the runner out from her knees.

Schmallen at second base was a vital part in New Mexico's four double plays executed last weekend as she took part in two of them. The Lobos have now turned six double plays.

The hot corner or third base can be an intimidating position, but not for freshman starter Analise Rubalcava who showed a quick glove at the position last weekend. One great heads-up play for Rubalcava was when she caught a hard line drive and then threw out the unsuspecting runner on first base for the double play.

At the other corner, freshman Samantha Hughes made an excellent diving catch in foul territory to earn her a nod for her skills at first base last weekend.

Behind the plate, catcher Liz Young picked off a runner at third base who was attempting to steal during a squeeze play. She also had a great foul ball catch right at the back stop.

Gametracker will be temporarily unavailable due to the lack of phone lines at the renovated field. Future releases will keep fans updated on when gametracker will be available this season for New Mexico home games.

New Mexico is on home ground the entire month of March. Next up is a doubleheader against New Mexico State next Saturday, March 11. First game of the doubleheader starts at noon.