April 27, 2009
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. --- New Mexico softball will host New Mexico State Tuesday in the Rio Grande Rivalry held at Lobo Field starting at 6 p.m. MT. The Lobos and Aggies will battle for the 134th time Tuesday and for the second time this season. The rivalry ranks among one of the best in the nation and will be available online via gametracker and live video on GoLobos.com.
The Lobos enter Tuesday's game 11-32 overall and 2-9 in the Mountain West conference. UNM will close out the non-conference portion of the schedule with the Aggies and try to snap a five game losing skid.
New Mexico leads the all-time series with NMSU 85-48 and has won five of the last seven meetings. The Lobos won both games last year but dropped an 8-7 heartbreaker earlier this year on March 24 in Las Cruces. The Aggies hit a walk-off solo shot for the win.
Senior Samantha Hughes leads the Lobos offensive with a .390 batting average while fellow senior Analise Rubalcava is hitting .412 during conference play. Hughes leads the team with seven home runs and 15 doubles. Junior Katie Gilmore leads UNM with 35 RBIs.
The Lobos have relied on as many as three pitchers. Rubalcava is 5-16 in the circle with a 5.60 ERA. Freshmen Danielle Castro and Kerry Hodgins have improved as the season has progressed and are key factors for UNM's success. Castro has thrown over 105 innings and is 3-14 overall with a 5.78 ERA. Hodgins has made 17 appearances and is 3-2 on the season.
New Mexico State is 30-17 and has lost three of its last four games. The Aggies have four games left on the schedule and currently sit fourth in the league standings. Hoku Nohara leads NMSU at the plate hitting .422. The Aggies have hit 63 homers and have three players with double digit bombs. Tiare Jennings leads NMSU with 16 long balls while Angie Ortega has 13. New Mexico State is hitting .343 as a team.
Kim Watson is the ace of the Aggies pitching staff. Watson is 18-10 on the year with a 2.34 ERA. NMSU has used five pitchers including Nicole Russell and Vanes Fitzgerald. Russell is 3-2 in the circle and Fitzgerald is 8-5.
The last time UNM and NMSU battled on the diamond was a thriller. The Aggies jumped ahead 7-2 and looked to be cruising to the victory. The Lobos crawled their way back into the game with five runs in the final three innings. With the game tied, NMSU hit a solo homer to leadoff the bottom of the seventh.
Saturday concludes the home portion of the UNM schedule as the Lobos host Colorado State at 4 p.m. MT. New Mexico will welcome the Rams into Lobo Field for a regional televised game on the Mountain West Sports Network. Anne Marie Anderson will provide play-by-play of the game.