Feb. 22, 2009
Sunday: Lobos 11, Texas Tech 8
Up Next: Lobos at Okla St, Friday, Saturday, Sunday
By Richard Stevens -- Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
In a way, the New Mexico Lobos' dramatic 11-8 win Sunday at Lobo field was a microcosm of what Ty Singleton's Lobos might have to do all season: hang in there, fight to the end, never say never.
Singleton says the fight in the Lobo is a key element for this year's team and he saw fight, determination and focus Sunday after his Lobos fell behind Texas Tech 6-0 after a half inning of play.
It was the Lobos fifth game in the weekend. They were a bit tired. They were down 6-0. So, what do you do, Lobos? Roll over or fight?
"I thought they did a fantastic job of not getting discouraged by that deficit," said Singleton. "I think we're going to have to do this several times this season where we fight back and win games.
"I think one of our team's qualities is that we are going to fight and scrap. That has to be a part of our character."
The Lobos didn't waste any time fighting back against Tech. Senior Samantha Hughes singled and stole second to quickly establish there was some fight in these Lobos. Jessica Lujan-Dresslar doubled in Hughes. Shenise Cox singled in Lujan-Dresslar. Shaunte Duarte doubled in Cox and Analise Rubalcava. Erin Brandow singled in Duarte. The Lobos came out of the inning down 6-5. Game on.
"That's not the way you want to start out," Singleton said of the early 6-0 hole. "I was really proud of the girls' composure and how they battled back."
UNM's first seven batters of the third inning reached base and the Lobos scored six runs in that frame to take command of the game 11-6. The win bumped UNM to 6-7 on the year and Tech fell to 3-10. UNM went 3-2 in the Lobo Invitational after a 0-2 start.
Against Tech on Sunday, the Lobos had multi-hit games from Lujan-Dresslar, who went 2-for-4 with three RBIs; Cox, who went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored; and Duarte, who went 2-for-3 with four RBIs and two runs scored. That trio of Lobos combined for nine RBIs and seven runs.
UNM also got hits from Hughes, Brandow and Cristin Anderson. UNM totaled 10 hits and the Red Raiders pounded out 11 hits. Elizabeth Eimen was the big stick for Tech going 2-of-4 with three RBIs.
Singleton said Sunday's win and rally was a big turnaround from the Lobo team he saw drop two close games in Friday's action in the Lobo Invitational: 4-3 to Wisconsin and 7-5 to Drake.
"I was disappointed the first day," he said. "Our fight and our enthusiasm was very discouraging for me. We're going to have to fight for every game and we didn't come out with an element that is going to be key for us all season. Then, we were just the opposite on Saturday and today (Sunday) and it was exhilarating to watch."
The turnaround in the Lobos' play came about in kind of an odd way. Oh, there was the usually coach-speak thrown at the Lobos in a stern voice.
"There were quite a few things said," Singleton said. "The essence of the talk was that you (Lobos) are softball players and you have special gifts, but if you don't play hard, you are shortchanging those gifts."
There also was a physics lesson from assistant coach Jimmy Hernandez. "Jimmy told them that water at 211 degrees is just hot water," said Singleton. "But water at 212 degrees boils and creates steam and steam is very powerful. We needed to go out there and turn it up a degree."
It isn't certain which talk made the most impression on the Lobos - Singleton steaming a bit, or Hernandez's physics lesson on steam - but the end result has the Lobos cooking with gas and riding a three-game win streak. Toward a very tough Oklahoma State team.
"Oklahoma State is a very good team with a lot of home-run power," said Singleton. "It will be a great experience for this team to play in that type of environment against a very solid team."
So far in the young 2009 season, the Lobos have looked solid at the plate, solid in the field and competitive on the pitching rubber. The pitching is a huge key for the Lobos as Singleton lost three young members of his pitching staff for a variety of reasons including shoulder injury and homesickness.
He has recruited two of his position players to join freshman Danielle Castro in the circle and the results have been promising. Freshman Kerry Hodgins, recruited as an outfielder, picked up the win Sunday against Texas Tech and is 2-0 on the season. Rubalcava, primarily an infielder, also is doing good work in the circle.
"Kerry is a kid who pitched some in high school and we just recently gave her the ball and she has two wins," said Singleton. "Kerry threw a little bit this fall, but for the most part she hasn't pitched since high school and that's not her primary position. We had her start throwing again last week.
"She did a good job of keeping the ball low and hitting corners and changing speeds. Analise (3-4) is making progress and hitting spots. I'm pleased with her composure out there. Our pitching is not going to overpower anyone. We just have to keep the ball low, keep it moving, hit spots and let our defense make plays."
The Lobos return to Lobo Field March 7-8 for two doubleheaders against Iowa State.