Feb. 28, 2010
Sunday: Northern Colo. 13, Lobos 11; UTEP 7, Lobos 5
Up Next: Baylor at Lobos, March 5 (DH), March 6 (DH) at Lobo Field
By Richard Stevens - Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
EL PASO -- On a blustery Sunday in El Paso, maybe the only thing moving more than softballs in the wind was the wiggly strike zone the Lobos found over the plate at UTEP's Helen of Troy complex.
"We were in a hostile environment and our team decided to hang in there and battle," said Lobo coach Ty Singleton after UNM's 7-5 loss to UTEP. "I was very proud of them."
Part of the Lobos' problems Sunday in El Paso was falling behind early on the scoreboard to UTEP. The Lobos were down 7-1 after five innings.
UNM put a scare into the host Miners when Erin Brandow drove a shot into the buckling wind in right field and it easily carried over the wall for a 3-run homer. UNM's Jessica Lujan-Dresslar and Cassandra Kalapsa also scored on the blast in the top of the sixth inning.
Part of UNM's problems in an earlier 13-11 loss to Northern Colorado was not protecting a quick 8-1 Lobo lead. The Bears battled back with five runs in the top of the fourth and five more in the fifth to pull ahead of UNM 11-8. The Bears squeezed that into their 13-11 win.
The Lobos got solo shots in the bottom of the seventh to scratch back at the Bears. Senior Cristin Anderson buried a shot into the mountain behind center field and senior Katie Gilmore pushed her solo shot over the right-center field fence.
"We hit the ball hard and hit some home runs," said Singleton, whose Lobos went 3-3 in the UTEP tourney. UNM is 8-6 on the season. Sunday's weather definitely was not typical for El Paso. The afternoon was stained by rain, wind and occasional hail.
"I think we definitely got better," said the Lobos' coach. "We still have to learn how to win close ballgames and I'm confident about that because I've seen so many good signs. I thought we were stronger mentally in our last two games on Sunday."
Against the Bears, UNM got multi-hit games from Anderson (4-for-4), Gilmore (3-for-5) and Jessica Garcia (2-for-5) and Kalapsa (3-for-4). Anderson scored four runs and had one RBI off her homer. Gilmore scored twice and drove in two runs and Garcia had a massive five RBIs. Kari Gutierrez picked up the mound loss.
The Lobos had beaten Northern Colorado 12-5 earlier in the tourney and needed to toughen up for the Miners, who rode a 12-game win streak into their game with UNM.
"Our pitchers did a good job of bouncing back in the second game against a much better hitting team," said Singleton. "I was proud of the way they battled through the obstacle of the strike zone. To come back and out hit UTEP, and score five runs, really said something about our will to battle."
The Miners drifted up 7-1 in the bottom of the fifth inning. A big blow for UTEP was a two-out, grand slam home run by Kelynn Frye.
"We thought she (Frye) struck out on the pitch before," said Singleton. "We think we have a strike out and give up a home run on the next pitch. Our team could have folded after that, but they kept on battling.
"There were a lot of odds against them today, but they decided to keep fighting."
With the exception of Brandow's 3-run blast in the sixth inning, the Lobos didn't group enough hits together against the Miners. Lujan-Dresslar (3-for-3) was the only Lobo with a multi-hit game against UTEP. She also drove in two runs and scored a run for UNM.
UTEP's Stacie Townsend found a lot of corners on Sunday and struck out eight Lobos in 5.1 innings and picked up the win for the Miners. UNM's Kaela DeBroeck got the loss. The Lobos had nine hits to seven for UTEP. The Miners had five runners reach on walks to two base-on-balls for UNM.
"Being a young team, there are things we still have to learn to do to overcome certain things," said Singleton. "I was proud of the progress I saw."