Lobos Head To UTEP Invitational
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  02/22/2006
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Feb. 22, 2006

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at UTEP Invitational in El Paso, Texas, Feb. 24-26
Friday, Feb. 24 - vs. San Jose State (El Paso, Texas), 10 a.m.
Friday, Feb. 24 - vs. New Mexico State (El Paso, Texas), 2:30 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 25 - vs. Northern Colorado (El Paso, Texas.), 9 a.m.
Saturday, Feb. 25 - vs. San Jose State (El Paso, Texas), 11 a.m.
Sunday, Feb. 26 - at UTEP (El Paso, Texas), 1:30 p.m.

All times Mountain Standard

The New Mexico softball team travels to El Paso, Texas this weekend for the UTEP Invitational. The three-day tournament will mark the end of the Lobos' road games for awhile as New Mexico (2-10) will be playing at home the entire month of March, starting next weekend. Tournament play this weekend gets underway on Friday, Feb. 24 as New Mexico faces San Jose State (10 a.m. MT) and New Mexico State (2:30 p.m. MT) on the first day. On Saturday, the Lobos will meet with Northern Colorado (9 a.m. MT) and San Jose State (11 a.m. MT) one more time. Tournament action wraps up on Sunday as New Mexico will face UTEP (1:30 p.m. MT) for the second time this season.

San Jose State (3-3, not including California game): Through six games the Spartans are even at 3-3 with a 1-2 away and 2-1 neutral record...before coming to UTEP, SJSU opened its home season on Wednesday, Feb. 22 with a game against No. 9 California...top hitters for San Jose State is Kristy Ballinger and Courtney Lewis each with a .444 BA..Ballinger has eight hits and four RBIs in 18 at bats, including 1 double, while Lewis has eight hits, 1 RBI and four doubles in 18 at bats...top pitcher is Kelly Harrison with a 1.58 ERA and a 1-1 record...San Jose State on the Internet: www.sjsuspartans.com

New Mexico State (10-5): The Aggies just met with New Mexico on Tuesday, Feb. 21 in a doubleheader at Las Cruces, N.M...New Mexico State fell in the first game, 3-1, and won the second game, 2-1...Mailei Hilva has provided most the power at the plate in NMSU's line up as she leads the team with 13 RBIs and four home runs...top pitcher is Sarah Seagraves who holds a 1.88 ERA and winning record of 7-3...she currently has 82 strikeouts in 63.1 innings pitched...New Mexico State on the Internet: www.nmstatesports.com

Northern Colorado (3-2): The Northern Colorado Bears are 3-2 after going 0-1 on the road and 3-1 in neutral games...Ashley Martinosky is batting .500 through five games...she currently has four RBIs and two home runs...Casey Hogue has also been helping the Bears produce runs as she leads the team with 6 RBIs and also has two triples to her name...leading pitcher is Shea Carpenter...she is at a perfect 2-0 record and holds a 3.71 ERA in 17 innings pitched...Northern Colorado on the Internet: www.UNCBears.com

UTEP (2-7): UTEP is 2-7 after coming back home from the same Las Vegas Tournament New Mexico participated in last weekend...UTEP and New Mexico met during last weekend's tournament with UTEP winning 17-7 in a game that saw a total of 10 home runs...Amber Bennett currently leads the Miners in home runs with five, while Simone Holland leads the team with 10 RBIs...pitchers Meagan Teal, Renee DiPuccio and Megan Barber have been the most time in the circle out of UTEP's pitching staff of five...DiPuccio leads the three with a 1-0 record and a 7.64 record...UTEP on the Internet: www.utepathletics.com

New Mexico pitchers Katie Gregg and Jen Mendenhall each pitched complete games in Tuesday's doubleheader against New Mexico State. The Lobo hurlers showed good stuff in the circle as both combined to hold NMSU to a total of just three runs on seven hits.

In the first game, Gregg earned her first win of the season as the Lobos won 3-1. The Aggies couldn't find a good look at Gregg's pitches as they grounded out 16 times during the game. New Mexico State's only run came in the third inning when Rishelle Gastelum doubled to left field with a runner on base.

Mendenhall's record moved to 1-6 after the Lobos loss the second game to the Aggies, 2-1. The rookie pitcher, who has started in seven of 12 games played so far, pitched a good game despite the loss. NMSU's two runs only came in the second inning when Heather Minniti capitalized on a miss pitch by Mendenhall and homered it to left field with a runner on base.

Mendenhall, who had surgery on her throwing arm during the fall season, has stepped up to the task of being a work horse for New Mexico this spring. She has pitched 34 innings and has completed three games in her 10 appearances in the circle.

Senior second baseman Kristina Schmallen has been proving in every weekend tournament so far that she is New Mexico's leading hitter. In last weekend's tournament in Las Vegas, Schmallen added two more home runs to her stats. She now leads the team with five home runs through 12 games and also leads with an amazing count of 14 RBIs in just 12 games.

With five home runs already this season, Schmallen just needs two more to break into the top 10 for most home runs in a single season at New Mexico. Former Lobo Danielle Cassra currently holds the record with 13 in 1999.

Schmallen has been starting second base in every game played this season. She is currently recovering from shoulder surgery she had done to her throwing arm because of an injured labrum. The aftermath of the surgery has been painful for Schmallen when she throws, but her shoulder seems to be holding up when she's at the plate.

Junior catcher Liz Young and freshman first baseman Samantha Hughes have evolved into some reliable hitters for New Mexico lately. Young has been a playmaker in several of her at bats in the last seven games, hitting singles and doubles to spark New Mexico's offense. She also grabbed her first home run of the season in last weekend's tournament in Las Vegas.

Although just a freshman, Hughes follows Schmallen as one of the Lobos' top hitters. An Albuquerque, N.M. and La Cueva High School product, Hughes has been starting at first base in every game this year. She currently has four RBIs, one home run and two doubles.

Sophomore Lindsey Elcess can't be counted out of the hitting statistics as she had a 2-RBI double to push New Mexico to a 3-1 win over New Mexico State on Tuesday. As the designated hitter, Elcess is second on the team with seven RBIs and has two home runs.

UTEP will provide a tournament link on its web site at www.utepathletics.com. Box scores and post-game notes from every game played at the tournament this weekend will be posted on a tournament link that can be found on the UTEP softball page.