March 9, 2004
OKLAHOMA WORTH INVITE: New Mexico (16-9) descends upon Norman, Okla. for the Oklahoma Worth Invitational hosted by the University of Oklahoma, March 12-14. The Lobos will play a doubleheader each day of competition. On Friday, New Mexico will face No. 5 Oklahoma at 2:30 p.m.,Centenary on Saturday at 10 a.m. and McNeese State at 10 a.m. on Sunday.
For the first time under head coach Kim Newbern, the Lobos and the Sooners will meet. The Sooners have had much success over the Lobos, holding the 11-5 series lead. The last time the two met was in 2000 with Oklahoma defeating New Mexico 10-2. The Lobos haven't beat OU since a 1-0 decision on March 10, 1984.
UNM has only played Centenary once in its previous 26 years of competition. On March 24, 2001 the Lobos shut out the Ladies, 3-0. This is the first time in Newbern's coaching career facing Centenary.
New Mexico holds a perfect 2-0 record against McNeese State. The last time these two teams met, Feb. 25, 2000, the Lobos won 7-2. The first meeting was a 2-0 win on March 1, 1991.
WEEKEND RECAP: The Lobos finished the Mutual of Omaha Lady Raider Classic 3-2. As a team, they hit .257 with 14 runs scored, 11 doubles, one triple and just 15 strikeouts in 136 at bats.
On the mound, junior Ashley Perkins and sophomore Iraina Ogas continued their domination of opponents. Perkins had a team low 0.78 ERA going 1-0 in two games started. She had a complete game shutout against Texas Tech, the Lobos only win against the Raiders in three tries this past weekend. Ogas went 2-0 with a 0.89 ERA over 15.2 innings pitched with 19 strike outs.
LAST LAUGH: It is still really early, but if the season ended today, the Lobos would have the last laugh. In the Mountain West Conference preseason poll, the Lobos were picked to finish last. For the week of March 1, New Mexico was the conference leader with 13 wins. Currently, they are second to Colorado State but still have the most wins in the conference.
The Lobos, at 16-9 overall, are one game ahead of where they were in 2000, 16-10. Last year after 25 games, New Mexico was 9-16 and in 2001, the Lobos were 13-12.
If the season continues to replicate that of the 2000 season, New Mexico is definitely not going to finish last. The 2000 team went 38-18 overall and 14-6 in the conference, finishing second in the regular season just one game behind Utah. The 2000 Lobos also made it all the way to the conference tournament championships before losing to Utah, 4-3.
SCOUTING THE SOONERS: Oklahoma most likely will be the biggest challenge of the tournament for the Lobos. The Sooners enter the tournament ranked fifth in the nation at 18-5-1 and 7-2 at home. They have two key wins over ranked opponents, beating No. 14 Louisiana State and No. 7 Michigan.
OU has eight women hitting at least .300 and two at .400. Norrelle Dickson and Heather Scaglione are both .400 hitters. Scaglione leads the team in RBIs (23) and home runs (7) while Dickson has the most hits (32). Kristin Vesely and Nicki Holt are the Sooner's next top hitters, tied with a .375 average.
On the mound the Sooners are nearly flawless, with a team ERA of 1.41. Nicole Denes leads the way with a 13-5 record, hurling 106.1 innings with 97 strike outs and a 1.51 ERA. Jessica Johnson and April Valdez have also started games for OU. Johnson is 3-0 with a 1.24 ERA while Valdez is 2-0 with a 1.47 ERA. Pitching in relief, Kami Keiter has made three appearances for two saves. Keiter is 0-0 with a 0.00 ERA.
LOOKING AT THE LADIES: Centenary comes to the tournament just under .500 at 9-10. The Ladies have played four ranked opponents (LSU, OU twice and Nebraska) after competing in the LSU Tiger Classic, Crowne Plaza Classic and Holiday Inn Select Tulsa Festival.
At the plate, Micah Rhodes is Centenary's most consistent hitter with her .431 average. Rhodes leads the team in hits (22) and doubles (5) and has one of the team's two triples. Also leading the Ladies is Janis Kelley, hitting .358 with a team him 19 RBI and six home runs. Jordan Lasndale and Ursula Maroski are also hitting over .300 for Centenary with a .315 and .303 average, respectively.
In the circle, Cheyenne Daries is carrying most of the load for the Ladies. Daries is 6-5 with a 2.32 ERA and 51 strike outs over 63.1 innings pitched. Daries has thrown seven complete games in 11 starts, including two shut outs. Other pitchers for Centenary include Kelley, Casi Hendricks and Cathy Byrne. Kelley has a 3.89 ERA and a 1-0 record behind seven appearances. Hendricks is 1-0 with a 4.10 ERA while Byrne is 1-5 with a 5.86 ERA.
COWGIRL ROUND-UP: McNeese State rides into the tournament at 10-16 overall. The Cowgirls have taken on some of the same opponents New Mexico has faced in Syracuse, Ole Miss and Nevada. They lost two games to the Orangewomen, 2-0 and 3-2, and to Nevada 3-1. The Cowgirls did beat Ole Miss 2-1 and Nevada, 1-0.
Sluggers Jana Jones and Nicole Edlund lead the Cowgirls with .312 and .307 averages, respectively. Edlund leads the team in every category except avg. and RBI. She has 13 runs scores, 23 hits, five doubles, and the team's only triple.
Tossing for McNeese State, Jessics Denham paves the way with a 5-6 record and 1.30 ERA. Denam has thrown six complete games and three shut outs in eight games started and 14 appearances. She leads the team in innings pitched (64.2) and hits allowed (42). Leading the team in strike outs with 70, Corrie Hale is 2-5 with a 3.38 ERA. She has hurled five complete games and one shut out over 10 games started and 13 appearances. Also pitching for the Cowgirls, Jana Jones is 1-2 with a 1.58 ERA and Meghan Novak is 2-3 with a 2.16 ERA.