Jan. 7, 2010
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.--The University of New Mexico softball team will begin spring workouts tomorrow morning at 10 a.m. in preparation for the 2010 season. Head coach Ty Singleton enters his fourth year with a renewed sense of excitement, as the 2010 roster is loaded with talented newcomers who are expected to make an immediate impact. New Mexico's five seniors and a solid crop of returning sophomores will lead the way, while six accomplished freshmen will push for starting positions alongside the veterans.
New Mexico kicks off the season at the Texas State Tournament Feb. 12-14 where they will match up against UT-Arlington, Texas State, Oklahoma State, and Northern Illinois. The first homestand of the season will be Feb. 20-21 as New Mexico welcomes Seattle to Lobo Field for four games.
The Lobos aim to be very aggressive in 2010. The team will employ an attacking style of play on defense, gunning for leadoff hitters and double plays. Offense will be a team effort that will utilize the four B's of getting on base, bunting, base stealing, and bat control. A solid lineup, from the leadoff to the nine hole, will attempt to advance baserunners consistently and manufacture runs through base hits.
In addition to an offensive and defensive overhaul, UNM has also revamped its coaching staff. Singleton is joined by first-year assistants Jennifer Ogee and Kim Martin. Jimmy Hernandez enters his second year as an assistant coach.
The coaching staff will conduct evaluations during the first few workouts to determine which players have come back in the best shape. This will greatly influence preliminary roles, as there are several positions in which the starting spot is up for grabs.
A brand new Lobo pitching staff highlights the 2010 changes. Newcomers Kaela DeBroeck, Samantha Gatson, and Kari Gutierrez will contend for starting roles, but the coaching staff predicts all three will see considerable time on the mound. As a pitching coach, Martin is an excellent teacher and the pitchers have already made huge strides under her guidance.
Sophomore Jessica Garcia and senior Erin Brandow will battle for time behind the plate. Singleton said both will log time early on with doubleheaders, but one will emerge as the starting catcher down the stretch.
Underclassmen are going up against seniors for the starting spots at first base and third base as well. Sophomore Shenise Cox and senior Katie Gilmore are working out at first base, while freshman Jordyn Bledsoe and senior Shaunte Duarte are taking balls in the hot corner. Singleton said Gilmore and Duarte are also the team's two best candidates for the designated hitter spot.
Duarte leads all returning players in batting average coming into the season, having posted a .315 average in 2009. Gilmore trailed closely at .286. The Lobos hit .287 as a team last year with 23 home runs and 189 RBI's.
Highly touted freshman shortstop Stefanie Carramusa is coming off injury in the fall, but is projected to return in top form for the spring. Expect returning senior Cristin Anderson to complete the infield at second base. Anderson started every game for the Lobos at second base last season and posted a .303 batting average.
Several capable players will battle for time in the Lobo outfield and the starting jobs will be largely determined by early spring workouts. Sophomores Danielle Castro, Jessica Lujan-Dresslar, and Kerry Hodgins are all leading candidates, but they've received intense competition from freshmen Cassandra Kalapsa and Sheryl Guillermo.
Singleton continues rebuilding efforts by pushing his team to be a national contender. The team's early season strength of schedule reflects that philosophy, featuring some of the biggest names in college softball.
The Lobos will face up against 2009 National Champion and Pac-10 runner-up Washington, College World Series participants Missouri and Arizona, Super Regional Qualifier Baylor, and Mountain West Conference regular season champion BYU. Conference opponents San Diego State and UNLV received at-large bids in 2009, joining BYU in the NCAA Tournament ranks.
The Lobos are currently scheduled to play 50 games and host 22 games at Lobo Field in 2010. Please visit Golobos.com for updates and more information.