May 9, 2005
MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS: The Lobos, 15-32 overall and 5-15 in the MWC, head back to San Diego, Calif. for the second consecutive week. This time New Mexico, the fifth seed, is vying for the conference championship. The Lobos' first obstacle is fourth-seeded Utah, which they will face in the tournament's opening game on Thursday, May 12 at 11:30 a.m. PDT. With a win, the Lobos will advance to play top-seeded BYU at 4:30 p.m. In the event of a loss, they will play the loser of game four, which is the winner of three-seeded Colorado State and sixth-seeded San Diego State or second-seeded UNLV on Friday at 11:30 a.m.
LOBOS' LAST TIME OUT: The Lobos went 1-3 on their road trip to San Diego State and UNLV. The Lobos won game two against San Diego State, getting their first road win of the season. Junior Kristina Schmallen hit .500 (5-for-10) over the weekend with one double and one RBI. Sophomore Liz Young hit .300 (3-for-10) with a double, her first UNM career home run and three RBI. Junior Katie Gregg earned the lone win, her eighth of the year.
SCOUTING THE UTES: Utah is 20-27 overall and 6-12 in the MWC. The Utes hit .252 as a team with a 3.13 ERA. Ivette Hernandez leads them at the plate, hitting .311 with nine home runs and 29 RBI. Diana Phillips and Devina Quintero both are averaging .309 while Bryanne Durrence completes the list of Ute hitters with averages over .300, hitting .304. Brianna Gourdin and Lindsie Nielsen are the two best pitchers for Utah, each having over 100 strikeouts this year. Gourdin holds a 2.98 ERA while Nielsen's ERA is 3.32.
NEW MEXICO VS. UTAH: Utah claimed the regular season series this year, 3-1. New Mexico went 1-1 vs. the Utes at home but 0-2 in Salt Lake City. Freshman Ashley Allen had the best season against Utah, hitting .545 (6-for-11) with two RBI and two walks. Junior Cassie Chavez has a .455 batting average against Utah this year with two runs scored, two walks and one double. Classmate Kristina Schmallen hit .417 against Utah with a team-high three runs scored. Junior Katie Gregg had the lone win against the Utes, holding a 1.58 ERA over them with two complete games. She allowed just three earned runs in 13.1 innings with nine hits, three walks and three strikeouts.
As a team, UNM hit .245 compared to Utah's .284 average. Utah out hit New Mexico 29-23 and yielded a 1.04 ERA compared to the Lobos' 2.92 ERA.
HOT HITTERS: Junior Kristina Schmallen is one of the hottest Lobo hitters heading into the MWC Championships. Schmallen holds a .352 average and is on a six-game hit streak. Sophomore Liz Young has been red-hot of late, hitting .360 over the last three weeks of the regular season with a team-high five RBI. Young hit her first UNM-career home run at UNLV on Sunday, May 8 to extend her hit streak to three games.
In MWC action that started April 1, freshmen Ashley Allen and Lindsey Elcess have been on fire, hitting .343 and .308, respectively. Elcess has a team-high nine RBI and three home runs in conference play.
Sophomore Ryanne Hodgins cannot be overlooked. Hodgins holds a .319 average while leading the team in at bats (166), hits (53) and triples (3). Hodgins also holds the team's longest hitting streak of the season at 10.