April 17, 2012
Lobo Softball at No. 13 Arizona
Wednesday, April 18: Doubleheader to start at 12 p.m., Hillebrand Memorial Stadium
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Lobo Softball - Weekend Series vs. San Diego State
Friday, April 20: Lobos vs. San Diego State, 6 p.m. (MW Opener)
Saturday, April 21: Lobos vs. San Diego State, 3 p.m. (Live on TheMtn.)
Sunday, April 22:Lobos vs. San Diego State, 1 p.m.
GoLobos.com: GameTracker, Live Streaming (Friday and Sunday), Stats, Recaps
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - New Mexico softball travels to No. 13 Arizona for a doubleheader set to begin at 12 p.m. MT on Wednesday, April 18. The Lobos, now 24-11, will look to recover from a 9-1, five-inning loss suffered at home at the hands of Rio Grande Rival New Mexico State on April 10.
Last week's Rio Grande Rivalry game was tied, 1-1, heading into the third, but then the Aggie bats got hot and the Lobo pitching and defense turned frigid. NMSU put up eight runs on seven hits and a Lobo fielding miscue to make it 9-1. New Mexico was unable to bat runners home and the game ended after five innings.
The Lobos also hope to use the doubleheader at Arizona to gain some momentum before starting Mountain West conference play at 6 p.m. MT on Friday, April 20, at home against San Diego State. UNM hosts the Aztecs for a three-game weekend series. Saturday's game will be televised live on TheMtn.
"Anytime you get a chance to pick up games--especially against a ranked team it's a positive thing," head coach Erica Beach said. "It will help with our RPI and serve as one last challenge before conference. Arizona is a really good team and I think it's a challenge we need to step up to."
The Wildcats are 29-11 after a 1-2 weekend at No. 1 California. Arizona dropped a 2-0 decision to the Golden Bears on April 13 and then defeated the nation's top-ranked team, 8-3, on April 14. California won the third game of the series, 6-0, on April 15.
Beach says her Lobos will need to make sure all parts of their game come together and will use the doubleheader at Arizona to iron out some of the wrinkles.
"We want to make sure all parts of our game are working together," Beach said. "We've only played a couple of games so far this season where everything is working at the same time, which is positive because we've done so well that way, but we can be an unbelievable team if we're doing everything at the same time, correctly."
Five players are hitting .317 or better for Arizona - Shelby Pendly (.362), Hallie Wilson (.348), Chelsea Suitos (.330), Brigette Del Ponte (.317) and Lini Koria (.317). The Wildcats have seven players with at least one home run, while Pendly leads the team with 14.
Sophomore Shelby Babcock and junior Kenzie Fowler split time in the circle for Arizona. Babcock is 15-7 in 21 games started and 25 appearances. She owns a 2.33 ERA and has a 12-7 record. Fowler has started 17 games and made 21 appearances. She has a 2.59 ERA and is 12-4 in 110.2 innings pitched.
The Lobos' offensive lineup, too, has five batters hitting above .300--.307 or better, to be exact.
Senior Jordan Sjostrand hits .307.
"Our hitters should match up well against them," Beach said. "I think we will be able to compete really well with them and it will give us momentum heading into the weekend."
This will be meetings No. 39 and 40 between the Lobos and Wildcats with Arizona holding a hefty 35-3 all-time series advantage. The last time the two teams met was for a three-game series March 26-28, 2010. The Wildcats were ranked in the top five and took all three games, 8-0, 10-2 and 14-0.
The Lobos and Wildcats have six common opponents in Cal State Northridge, NMSU, North Dakota, Texas A&M, UC Davis and Utah.
Both UNM and Arizona beat Cal State Northridge, North Dakota and UC Davis. The `Cats split with the Aggies, dropping the first of a March 21 doubleheader, 9-5, before rebounding for a 6-3 win.
The Lobos defeated then-No.16 Texas A&M on February 23, 15-3 in six innings. Arizona faced Texas A&M in its opening weekend at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, Ariz., dropping a 5-4 decision to the Aggies.
UNM lost its only contest against Utah, 6-1, at home on March 4 while the Wildcats got a three-game sweep of Utah in Tucson March 10-11, topping the Utes by scores of 8-0, 3-1 and 4-2.