April 10, 2012
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- It was a disappointing Tuesday afternoon for New Mexico softball as the Lobos dropped a 9-1, five-inning decision to Rio Grande Rival, New Mexico State at Lobo Field. The Lobos are now 24-11, while NMSU snaps a 10-game losing streak and improves to 19-22.
The Aggies got the season sweep over UNM, having also won the first time the two teams met, 8-6, on March 14 in Las Cruces.
"It's all a learning experience," head coach Erica Beach said. "It's disappointing--absolutely. We were not happy with the way things went, but the game is over. We have to take what we can from it and get better."
Senior Jessica Garcia echoed Beach's thoughts.
"We need to take what we can from it and learn and go from there," Garcia said. "We had a lot of mental mistakes, but this is why we play these games--to learn and grow from them. These games will prepare us for conference play."
The Aggies took a 1-0 lead after the first half inning of play. Amber Olive led off the game with a bunt down the first base line. She was advanced off a sacrifice bunt by Malena Padilla and then was driven in by Valeri Swedberg who hit a single to left field.
The Lobos matched the Aggie run in the bottom of the second inning, thanks to a Jessica Garcia homer to left center--her 15th of the season. It was the first and only run of the game for New Mexico.
The top of the third was where UNM ran into trouble. The Aggie bats got hot and the Lobo pitching and defense turned frigid. NMSU batted through its lineup and prompted UNM to change pitchers--twice--with all three Lobo hurlers spending time in the circle in the inning.
The Aggies belted out seven of their 11 hits in the third frame. UNM's pitchers walked three--one of which walked in a run-- and a passed ball plus a bobbled grounder allowed for three unearned runs.
"That's kind of been killing us this season--giving up a big inning each game," Beach said. "A lot of times when the momentum gets going in one direction, it's hard to stop. Kaela (DeBroeck) finally came in and was able to close the door on that."
The Lobo offense had a big deficit to overcome, trailing 8-1 after two and a half innings of play. New Mexico got a two-out single to left center from Stefanie Carramusa in the bottom of the third, but on the next play she was thrown out at second on a fielder's choice to end the inning.
In the bottom of the fourth with one out already accounted for, Garcia reached off a single through the left side. She was advanced to second when Jessica Lujan-Dresslar walked. Cassandra Kalapsa came in to run for Garcia, but with Kalapsa and Lujan-Dresslar on bags two and one the Aggies made a double play--cleanly fielding a grounder to third, touching the base and making the throw to first in time to put Danielle Castro out and end the chance of any fourth-inning Lobo runs.
Sheryl Guillermo led off the fifth inning with a slapped single up the middle and advanced to second off a sacrifice bunt by Jodryn Bledsoe. However, the next two UNM batters popped out and grounded out and that was the end of the game-- 9-1 in favor of the Aggies in five innings.
"I think our offense started to press a little when we fell behind," Beach said, noting that her players tried to do too much at the plate which in turn, caused them to lose their confidence.
"In the last couple of weeks we haven't completely clicked on all of our fronts--pitching, defense and offense," Beach explained. "We need to refocus on those things. We can't let losses set you back. It's a long season and you have to have a short memory."
The Lobos managed just four hits compared to the Aggies' 11. UNM got two from Garcia and one apiece from Carramusa and Guillermo.
Kari Gutierrez got the start and took the loss. The junior pitched 2.1 innings, allowing seven hits, five earned runs and walking two. She was relieved after one out in the top of the third by Carrie Sheehan who faced six batters--striking out one, walking one and allowing three hits. Kaela DeBroeck entered with two outs accounted for and finished the last 2.1 innings of the game. The junior walked one and allowed one hit and no runs.
The Lobos will have a break this weekend before heading to Tucson, Ariz. on Wednesday, April 18 for their last non-conference doubleheader at Arizona. New Mexico opens Mountain West conference play at home with a three-game series against San Diego State April 20-22. The April 21 game with the Aztecs will be televised on TheMtn.