UNM Softball Faces No. 5 Arizona This Weekend
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  03/21/2007
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

March 21, 2007

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New Mexico will travel to Tucson, Ariz., this weekend to face the defending national champion Arizona Wildcats at Hillenbrand Stadium. The Lobos will play a three-game set with the 5th-ranked Wildcats starting Friday at 7 p.m. UNM is 7-10 heading to Arizona and have won five of its last eight games. The games are scheduled for 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday with the series finale Sunday at noon.

No Stranger To Arizona: The Lobos and Wildcats have played 32 times in school history and the series dates back to the first year of UNM softball in 1978. Throughout the years, the Lobos have only won four games with the last victory coming in April of 1990. UNM had success against UA during the early years winning two games in 1978 and one in 1980. Since that point, the Wildcats have dominated the series on their way to winning seven national titles.

Following The Wildcats: Arizona enters this weekend ranked fifth nationally and has a 21-7 record. The Wildcats are coming off the Judi Garman Classic last weekend in Fullerton, Calif. UA went 4-2 and advanced to the championship game against Oklahoma. OU managed to run-rule the Wildcats in five innings, 11-0. The Sooners were the only team in the tournament to beat UA. The Wildcats have eight upperclassmen and have been led by seniors Caitlin Lowe and Chelsie Mesa. Lowe is hitting .494 in 89 at-bats with 26 stolen bases. Mesa is second on the team with a .396 batting average. UA has stolen 56-of-59 bases this year and is hitting .305 as a team.

Lobo Review: New Mexico is 7-10 and recently took two games of a three-game series with Utah Valley State over the weekend at Lobo Field. The Lobos have won five of their last eight games and carry momentum into this weeks games with Arizona. UNM is hitting .257 as a team and has 11 home runs on the year. Last weekend, the Lobos belted four long balls Sunday in the series finale.

Ninemire Named MWC Pitcher of the Week: Junior Kelly Ninemire was named the Mountain West Conference Softball Pitcher of the Week on March 21. Ninemire, from Prosper, Texas, was instrumental in New Mexico's 2-1 finish in a three-game series against Utah Valley State last week. The right-handed pitcher went 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA in three appearances, pitching 12 2/3 scoreless innings and denying the Wolverines a single walk. She had two complete game shutouts against Utah Valley State, striking out 12 batters and limiting her opponent to four hits. Ninemire has a team-leading 2.82 ERA and a 4-5 overall mark. She has recorded 35 strikeouts and held opponents to a .259 batting average in 57 innings.

Utah Valley State Series: New Mexico took two of three games from Utah Valley State over the weekend including collecting its first two shutouts of the year. The Lobos beat the Wolverines, 3-0, in game one and run-ruled game three, 8-0, in five innings. UVSC managed to win game two by a score of 5-3 despite UNM stranding 12 runners on-base. The games were the first at home for the Lobos this season.

Lobo Support: UNM had 1,348 fans in attendance at the home opener on March 17 against Utah Valley State. It was one of the largest crowds in school history and came on a day when the program played its first night game. The crowd watched UNM split a doubleheader with the Wolverines but also enjoyed Lobo softball under the lights. The recently installed lights are some of the best in the country and gives UNM an opportunity for more night contests as well as possible television coverage.

Jayhawk Classic: The Lobos reached the championship game of the Jayhawk Classic on March 9-11, after beating North Dakota State and defeating Drake twice. Junior Lindsey Elcess led UNM at the plate going 6-for-15 with two doubles and a home run. Freshman Tori Rogers pitched 10.2 innings and picked up two wins.

Buzz Classic: UNM went 1-3 at the Buzz Classic against Lipscomb, No. 21 Georgia Tech, Centenary College and Indiana State. The Lobos managed to scored 18 runs in four games with their only victory coming against Lipscomb on day one, 12-8. The tournament was the second weekend of the regular season and matched UNM against quality opponents.

Kajikawa Classic: The Lobos opened the year at the Kajikawa Classic on Feb. 9-11 with a historic victory over No. 3 UCLA, 13-1, in five innings. UNM faced three nationally-ranked opponents to open the year in Arizona State, Fresno State and the Bruins. The Lobos also battled Ohio State and Florida while in Tempe, Ariz.

Lobos Online: UNM athletics will provide gametracker for all home games this year as well as all-access video. Gametracker provides a basic graphic function, while all-access is a live broadcast online with play-by-play announcing. The functions have been provided to allow Lobo fans an opportunity to follow UNM via the internet from all over the world.

Softball Preview: The Lobos have two mid-week games next week, including a Tuesday night battle with Eastern New Mexico at 7 p.m. The game with the Zias will be the final night game on the home schedule. Wednesday features a doubleheader against in-state rival New Mexico State in Las Cruses, N.M., starting at 1 p.m. Heading into this weekends series with Arizona, UNM only has six games to prepare for Mountain West Conference action on April 7 at Colorado State.

Aggressive Style of Play: The Lobos have brought an aggressive style of play into the new year. UNM has stolen 24 bases this year and scored 71 runs. Last year alone, the Lobos only stole 11 bases and scored 260 runs. Singleton's style of play was noticeable in Kansas and in the opening weekend against Ohio State, Arizona State and UCLA.

Ranked Opponents: New Mexico faces another nationally-ranked opponent this weekend in Arizona. The Wildcats are ranked fifth according to this weeks USA Softball poll. UNM has already faced four nationally-ranked opponents this year including No. 20 Georgia Tech in the Buzz Classic. The Lobos played No. 5 Arizona State, No. 11 UCLA and Fresno State, who was ranked No. 21 at the time to open the season at the Kajikawa Classic. UNM has a 1-3 record against ranked team.

Lobos Run-Ruled No. 3 UCLA: UNM pounded out 13 runs on 12 hits to upset the third-ranked UCLA Bruins, 13-1, on Feb. 10 in five innings. Junior pitcher Kelly Ninemire dominated in the circle throwing five innings allowing a run and holding UCLA to two hits. Sophomore Samantha Hughes and freshman Katie Gilmore both hit their first home runs of the year and led UNM at the plate. The Lobos pick up their first victory of the season and move to 1-3 on the season. The upset of UCLA was the first victory in the Ty Singleton era at UNM.

Building The Program: New Mexico head coach Ty Singleton enters his first season since taking over the program in August of 2006. Singleton has led the Lobos into three tournaments and recently picked up his first win in the Cherry and Silver. Singleton guided UNM to a 13-1 victory over the previously third-ranked UCLA Bruins on Feb. 10. Singleton has a career record of 137-98 heading into the Arizona series. In six years as a head coach at the Division I level, Singleton has led his teams to four NCAA Tournament appearances while at Missouri and Northwestern (La.).

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 upon 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 have started as many as four freshmen through the first 17 games. Junior Kelly Ninemire, who transferred from Odessa College, has taken a leadership role and has started to become a promient pitcher. Freshman Tori Rogers has seen time in the circle and could have an impact this weekend. Offensively, Sara Loeffelholz and Katie Gilmore are both hitting well and playing solid defense.

Offensive Production: The Lobos have plated 71 runs in 17 games. UNM has hit well with runners in scoring position (.250) and has found a way to score runs. The Lobos are 9-for-17 with bases loaded and hitting .485 with a runner at third with less than two outs.

Mountain Network: The Mountain West Conference 2007 softball broadcast schedule includes an unprecedented 11 games on national and regional television. The television exposure provided by the MWC broadcast partners far exceeds the softball coverage in the previous seven-year history of the league. Seven games will be shown on the Mtn. Network, while four games will be broadcast live nationally on CSTV: College Sports Television. The official schedule of games should be released shortly.