Feb. 7, 2007
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- The 2007 New Mexico softball season kicks off this weekend at the Kajikawa Classic hosted by Arizona State University in Tempe, Ariz. UNM opens the year with one of the toughest schedule in the country, facing five NCAA Tournament teams from a year ago. The Lobos battle Ohio State, Arizona State, Fresno State, UCLA and Florida in a three-day span.
New Era of Softball Begins: The Kajikawa Classic marks the beginning of a new era in Lobo softball under the direction of head coach Ty Singleton. Singleton took charge of the UNM program in August and has brought a new attitude along with an aggressive style of play. Singleton came to New Mexico after spending the previous four years at the University of Missouri. While at Mizzou, Singleton led the Tigers to three NCAA Tournaments. During his career, Singleton has reached the NCAA Tournament five times in six seasons and holds a 205-133 overall record.
Lobos Return Offensive Production: New Mexico returns a wealth of offensive firepower from last year's squad. The Lobos welcome back Lindsey Elcess, who was named all-Mountain West Conference last year after hitting .381 with 10 home runs and a team-leading 16 doubles. Sophomores Analise Rubalcava and Samantha Hughes are back and hope to build up their freshmen campaigns. Rubalcava hit .307 in 2006 with 47 hits and 24 RBI. Hughes posted a .306 batting average and was a key contributor.
Around The Circle: UNM has five pitchers battling for the starting roles. Junior-college transfer Kelly Ninemire and senior Caley Peterson have experience and could give the Lobos quality time this spring. Freshmen Tori Rogers and Gabriella Parra both have progressed over the last six months and are available if needed.
Lobos Picked Sixth In Pre-season MWC Poll: The New Mexico softball team has been picked sixth in the Mountain West Conference Preseason Coaches Poll as announced on Jan. 30 by the league office. The Lobos enter the season under the leadership of new head coach Ty Singleton and hope to build upon last year's 23-31 overall record. San Diego State claimed the top honor with UNLV and BYU rounding out the top three spots. The final three spots in the poll belong to Utah, Colorado State and UNM. Senior Leadership: New Mexico has six seniors on the 2007 roster, including Jennifer Deitrich, Becky Dover, Ryanne Hodgins, Caley Peterson, Amy Ray and Liz Young. Their experience and leadership will be looked up as UNM enters the Singleton era. The Lobos return 13 players from last year's squad and face a difficult slate in 2007.
Newcomers: UNM has eight newcomers this year and expect a lot of great things. The Lobos could start four freshmen to open the season this weekend at the Kajikawa Classic against five tough opponents. Junior Kelly Ninemire, who transferred from Odessa College, could be an opening day starter for UNM after throwing well in the pre-season. Freshman Tori Rogers will see time in the circle this weekend and could have an impact. Offensively, Sara Loeffelholz and Katie Gilmore will provide pop in the lineup. Albuquerque products Kim Holyfield could start at short and catcher Erin Brandow will start behind the dish.
Home Opener: New Mexico opens the 2007 home schedule on March 17 against Utah Valley State in a doubleheader starting at 4 p.m. Home Lobo softball game will be shown live through All-Access on www.GoLobos.com and gametracker will be provided.
For more information about UNM softball visit www.GoLobos.com.