Feb. 20, 2009
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Sluggish starts proved costly for the University of New Mexico in losses to Wisconsin (4-3) and Drake (7-5) today on the opening day of the New Mexico Invitational at Lobo Field. New Mexico rallied to make things interesting in both games, but couldn't get over the hump, falling to 3-7 on the season.
UNM put the game-tying runner aboard in the sixth inning in an eventual 4-3 loss to Wisconsin (3-7) and scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh in a 7-5 loss to Drake (6-1) in the nightcap. The Lobos plated three runs and had a runner on third before the making the first out of the inning against the Bulldogs, but wer unable to complete the comeback.
It was a tale of two halves today as New Mexico was outscored 9-1 through the first 3 1/2 innings of both games, but had a 7-2 advantage in the final 3 1/2 frames.
In game three of the tournament, New Mexico outscored Wisconsin, 3-1, over the final six innings, but the Badgers' three quick runs to open the game proved to be the difference.
The Lobos had the tying run aboard in the sixth, but Badgers starter Letty Olivarez eliminated the threat with a pair of groundouts, including a double play to end the inning.
UNM pitcher Analise Rubalcava - a converted third baseman - got into trouble early as the first four UW batters all reached on singles in a five-hit, three-run opening frame. Rubalcava (2-4), however, settled down and pitched her way out of trouble the rest of the way. The senior allowed just a single run, while striking out three over the next six innings to keep the Lobos within striking distance.
Things looked bleak for New Mexico entering the fourth as the Lobos trailed 4-0 and had yet to get their first hit.
Junior first baseman Katie Gilmore changed things around quickly, however, ripping a double to right-center to lead off the inning. Gilmore came around to score two batters later on freshman outfielder Jessica Lujan-Dresslar's bloop single to left.
Rookie catcher Jessica Garcia, who reached on a fielder's choice, added another run for the Lobos when her Wisconsin counterpart, Nichole Abney, threw the ball away on a double steal.
New Mexico struck again in the fifth when Gilmore reached on a fielder's choice and Rubalcava drilled a two-out double into right-center to cut the Badger lead to one.
Olivarez allowed four hits, walked five and struck out five in seven innings to get her first win of the year.
Wisconsin evened its New Mexico Invitational record to 1-1 after falling to Texas Tech, 5-4, earlier in the day.
Drake's Mandy Osborn, however, came in and shut the door, getting Gilmore, Rubalcava and Shenise Cox to ground out in order to end the game.
Osborn picked up her first save of the year, while Bulldog starter Jenna DeLong (2-1) allowed three earned runs and struck out five in six innings to get the win.
Freshman Danielle Castro was credited with the loss (1-3), though fellow freshman Kerry Hodgins got most of the work. Hodgins allowed five runs and struck out one over the final six innings in her collegiate pitching debut.
Drake improved to 2-0 in this weekend's tournament after downing Texas Tech 5-2 earlier in the day.
New Mexico looks to get back in the win column tomorrow when it faces Texas Tech at 1 p.m. and squares off against Drake again at 4 p.m.