Lobos Head To North Texas For Betlin Mean Green Classic
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  02/23/2005
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Feb. 23, 2005

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The Lobos (2-8) return to the road as they head to Denton, Texas for the Betlin/Mean Green Classic hosted by North Texas. New Mexico is scheduled to open the tournament on Friday, Feb. 25 with North Texas at 11 a.m. followed by Wichita State at 5 p.m. On Saturday, the Lobos will play Southwest Missouri State and Western Michigan at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., respectively.

Sunday will be in tournament format with each team getting a seed. With six teams in the tournament, the Lobos may get a chance to face Texas A&M Corpus Christi, who are receiving votes in the USA TODAY/NFCA Top 25 poll. At 9 a.m., the fourth seed will take on the sixth seed while No. 3 will play No. 5. At 11 a.m., No. 1 will face the winner of No. 4-No. 6 and No. 2 will square off with the winner of No. 3-No. 5. The winner of those games will play in the championship game at 2 p.m.

The Lobos are coming off a 2-3 stint at the Troy Cox Classic hosted by New Mexico State last weekend. UNM got both wins from the arm of junior transfer Katie Gregg. Gregg led the Lobos to a 5-1 win over Loyola and 4-3 victory over Texas-San Antonio. New Mexico's three losses came at the hands of No. 17 Nebraska (3-0), New Mexico State (3-1) and Colorado State (6-5). UNM held a 5-0 lead over the Rams going into the fifth inning before CSU exploded with a late rally.

New Mexico is hitting .230 as a team that is led by sophomore Ryanne Hodgins and Amy Ray. Hodgins holds the team's high in batting avg. (.406), at bats (32), runs scored (4), hits (13) and has the lone triple. Ray is second with her .333 avg. and leads the team with her six doubles. Ray is tied with Hodgins in runs scored (4), is second in RBIs (6) and tied for second in hits (9) with junior Kristina Schmallen. Junior Cassie Chavez is hitting .276 and leads the team in RBIs with seven. Freshman Ashley Allen has also made a huge contribution to the offense, drawing a team-high six walks so far.

Gregg, besides having both wins, holds a team-low 2.93 ERA. Senior Ashley Perkins has also impacted the pitching staff, striking out 35 batters in 34.1 innings of work. Overall, UNM's pitching holds a 4.12 ERA.

Based on previous results, New Mexico has a great chance of beating North Texas. The Mean Green, in just its second year of competition, are 2-10 with one of their losses being a 9-0 shutout against Texas-San Antonio. Their two wins came against Texas State (2-1) and Stephen F. Austin (8-5). Last year, the Lobos faced the Mean Green three times, winning the first meeting 3-1 but losing the next two by scores of 7-1 and 7-6.

North Texas is hitting just .198 and holds a team ERA of 3.53. Heather Bostic and Stephanie Cranmer lead the Mean Green at the plate. Bostic holds a .345 avg. and leads the team with 10 hits, four runs scored and is second with her three RBIs. Cranmer maintains the second best avg. (.321) and hits (9) but leads the team in RBIs with four. In the circle, North Texas' team-low ERA is held by Mandy Hacker (2.58) but is 0-2 on the season. The two wins came from Kristina Fowler (1-3, .281) and Katy Maxey (1-4, 4.94).

New Mexico should make up pretty evenly with Wichita State. The Shockers are 4-4 after wins over Texas State, Texas-Arlington and Utah. One of their losses was a 2-1 decision in favor of UC-Santa Barbara, a team that the Lobos faced twice to start the season and held tough with before falling in both contests.

Wichita State is hitting just .192 so far. They are led by Lisa Jones (.400) and Stephanie De La Riva (.333). They are tied for the team-high in hits with four while Jones leads the team in RBIs with three and De La Riva has scored the most runs at three.

While the Shockers struggle offensively, their pitching thrives. The team has a 1.50 ERA and have struck out 21 batters while allowing just seven runners to cross the plate. Cynthia Verhulst is 1-0 and has not allowed a single run this season. Verhulst's stat line is filled with donuts except for the one hit she has allowed while striking out three. Margo Pruis has the team's highest ERA at 2.00 and is 1-1 this season. Pruis rarely misses the plate however, allowing 12 hits while accumulating 13 of the team's 21 strikeouts.

Last year these two teams squared off in this same tournament with New Mexico getting the 2-0 win. Perkins threw a three-hit complete game, striking out five. UNM compiled six hits, three of which came from sophomore Stephanie Kennedy. The Lobos are 6-7 all-time against Wichita State.

New Mexico also took on Southwest Missouri State in the tournament last year. The Lobos also won that game 2-0 behind Perkins' three-hit complete game where she struck out 11. UNM had three hits in that game with one from then-junior Ashley Shartzer and Hodgins. Hodgins also scored one of the two unearned runs. The Bears hold a 4-2 series advantage.

This year, Southwest Missouri State is 0-1, falling to UC Santa Barbara 3-0. In that game, the Bears had five hits including a double from Charity Head. Taking the loss was Shannon Buslepp, throwing a complete game for seven hits, three earned runs, one walks and three strikeouts. Overall, SMS is hitting .208 and have an ERA of 4.50.

Western Michigan has a disadvantage coming into this weekend's tournament. The Broncos have not started their season and have not even practiced outside. Their first outdoor practice will be Thursday when they arrive in Denton.

The Broncos return three starters and nine letterwinners from 2004 which includes this year's lone senior, Amy Fleming. Fleming started all 58 games and led the team in home runs with four. Other key returnees are Kristi Strange, the 2004 MAC Freshman of the Year, Katie Neimi and Tricia VanDerSlik. Strange hit .357 to lead WMU, Neimi started all but three contests at shortstop, and VanDerSlik spent the majority of the season at first but did throw 40 innings for a 4.17 ERA and will play a much larger roll for the pitching staff this year.

The Lobos are 4-4 all-time against Western Michigan after their 8-0 win over the Broncos at the Arizona State Fiesta Bowl last year. Then-senior Amy Dumas threw a three-hit complete game against the Broncos, sitting down five. Kennedy, then sophomore Iraina Ogas and then-freshman Robyn Hutson led the team at the plate, compiling five of the team's nine hits and driving in five runs.

The only team New Mexico is not scheduled to play but could face in Sunday's tournament play is Texas A&M Corpus Christi. The Islanders are 12-1 with their only loss being a 5-0 loss to Texas-San Antonio. They have a team batting avg. of .282 and an ERA of 0.16.

Sarah Pauly is 10-1 for TAMCC with a 0.20 ERA. She has sat down 114 batters and allowed just two earned runs in just 68.2 innings of work. Jennifer Cummings is 2-0, struck out 12 and not allowed an earned run after 16.2 innings of work. At the plate, Michelle Petree holds the team's best avg. (.360) while Megan Hansen has the second best avg. (.341) and leads the team in at bats (44), hits (15) and RBIs (14).

The Lobos, who will face the Islanders again in the Texas Tech tournament March 4-6, are a perfect 4-0 when facing them. The last time the met, Mar. 1, 2003, resulted in a 7-0 win for Dumas, who threw a three-hit complete game.