March 7, 2009
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - The University of New Mexico softball team pushed its home winning streak to five straight and evened its overall record at 8-8 with a doubleheader sweep of Iowa State on a windy afternoon at Lobo Field. New Mexico starter Analise Rubalcava allowed just one unearned run in the Lobos' 3-1 win in the opener before the UNM bats pounded out 16 hits in a 12-4 victory in the five-inning finale.
Iowa State dropped to 14-8 on the season and has now lost six of its last seven games. The two teams will square off again tomorrow in a twin bill starting at 10 a.m.
With 30 mph winds blowing straight in from centerfield, runs were at a premium in the opening game. Rubalcava - with plenty of help from the defense - did a masterful job in the circle, scattering 10 hits, walking none and escaping jams in each of the final three innings.
Down 2-1 in the fifth, Iowa State put runners on first and second with one out. Rubalcava, however, got No. 3 hitter Carrie Monroe to hit the ball on the ground to Lobo second baseman Cristin Anderson, who stepped on second and threw to first for the double play.
UNM catcher Erin Brandow led off the bottom of the fifth with a double and came around to score on a an error by second basemen Amanda Bradberry, but the Cyclones threatened again in the top of the sixth.
Courtney Wray hit a two-out single, Bradberry followed with another single and a throwing error by Brandow moved the runners up the second and third. Rubalcava escaped by getting No. 2 hitter Carleigh Berry to ground out harmlessly to third.
Things got tight again in the top of the seventh when Heidi Kidwell led off with a triple to the gap in left-center. Once again though, Rubalcava worked herself out of trouble with help from a solid late-inning Lobo defense.
She got Kelsey Kidwell to ground out to second, then Berry to ground to short. Monroe then flied out to center to end the game.
Katie Gilmore's first inning triple was one of just three hits for the Lobos, who were helped by three ISU errors behind hard-luck starter Rachel Zabriskie (7-5). Iowa State stranded eight runners.
Game two was a different story as the wind gusts increased to 40 mph, wreaking havok on the both teams, defensively.
New Mexico put three runs on the board with two outs in the first, but ISU answered with two runs in the top of the second, helped largely by two uncharacteristic wild pitches by Rubalcava.
The Lobos continued their offensive onslaught, however, plating five runs in the second. Samantha Hughes' RBI double and Gilmore's two-RBI line drive up the middle were the big blows in the inning.
New Mexico added runs in the third and fourth innings, and brought the run rule into play with a two-run fifth.
Hughes, third baseman Shaunte Duarte, and right fielder Shenise Cox had three hits apiece for the Lobos. Gilmore went 2-4 with a team-high three RBIs. Duarte, Cox, and catcher Jessica Garcia drove in two runs apiece.
Rubalcava (5-4), meanwhile, settled down in the circle, retiring 10 of the last 14 batters, including six straight at one point. She was charged with four earned runs and scattered seven hits, while striking out two.
Charissa Carlin (7-3) took the loss for the Cyclones, allowing eight earned runs on 10 hits in three innings.