New Mexico Softball – Mountain West Series – At Rams Field, Fort Collins, Colo.
WHO: New Mexico (13-29, 4-11 MW) at Colorado State (27-10, 8-4 MW)
WHEN: Doubleheader, Tuesday, April 22;, 2 p.m. MT/4 p.m. MT, single game Wednesday, April 23;, 1 p.m.
GoLobos.com: Live stats, game recaps, box scores
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The University of New Mexico softball team will have a busy week, starting with an unusual midweek conference series at Colorado State before they take on Utah State at home this weekend.
This is the only midweek series the Lobos will play this season. Due to the addition of teams this year, the conference and coaches agree on a midweek series rather than adding an extra weekend in the season. The Lobos will play a doubleheader on Tuesday starting at 2 p.m. and a single game on Wednesday at 1 p.m.
New Mexico is coming off of a 1-2 weekend, its third weekend in a row where the team has started the series off strong with a win. The Lobos won the first game against UNLV 11-10 off a walk-off hit from Brandi Heimburg. The Lobos were ousted in the second game 10-2 in five innings. The two teams fought hard for the series win on Saturday, blasting out five home runs for the game and a total of 31 hits, 16 coming from the Lobos. UNM ended up dropping the final game 12-9.
The Lobos are looking for their first series win against Colorado State. Over the Easter weekend, the Rams recorded a sweep over Nevada, bringing their overall record to 27-10 and conference record to 8-4 for a three-way-tie for first with San Diego State and Fresno State. The Rams hit .355 for the weekend, collecting 19 runs off 27 hits, including six doubles, two triple and a home run.
CSU is one of the top hitting teams in the conference with a .313 average. They have scored 242 runs off 315 hits with 64 doubles, nine triples and 32 home runs. Junior Danielle Wikre is leading the team with a .390 average. She owns seven doubles, two triples and leads the team with eight home runs. Senior Chelsea O’Connor is also a big threat at the plate, hitting .339 and leads the team with eight home runs and 53 RBIs.
In the circle, sophomore Holly Reinke is the Ranns’ ace with a 15-5 record and a 1.95 ERA. In 118.2 Innings, she has collected 87 strikeouts and has allowed 45 runs, 33 earned, off 100 hits. The Lobos might see freshman Larisa Petakoff and junior Molly Randle. Petakoff is 7-4 with a 2.99 ERA and Randle is 5-1 with a 5.98 ERA.
THE LOBO OFFENSE….In the series with UNLV, the Lobos collected 41 hits with Brandi Heimburg leading the way with eight of those, hitting .727 for the weekend. New Mexico pounded out 12 extra-base hits, including four home runs, one triple and seven doubles.
STARTING STRONG…For the third weekend in a row, the Lobos started the series with a win. Last Thursday, the Lobos defeated UNLV 11-10 and the game came down to New Mexico’s last at-bats. The Lobos gave up four runs in the top of the seventh and was trailing 10-7, going into their final at-bats. The Lobos bats came alive as Jasmine Casados led off a solo home run to right center. Jordan Sjostrand followed with a walk and then advanced to third on Michala Erickson’s double to right center. Sjostrand and Erickson both scored on Willow Kalinen’s triple to left center. Brandi Heimburg had the game winning hit, a poke into left field that scored Kalinen. All of the Lobos’ conference wins have been against a top-five team in the conference. The Lobos beat San Diego State back on March 23 and Fresno State on April 4, who are both tied for first in conference, along with Colorado State, with a 8-4 record. New Mexico took a game from San Jose State on April 11 and the Spartans sit in fifth place.
A GAME OF HOMERS…In the final game of the UNLV series, the Lobos and the Rebels battled, at what seemed like a challenge on who could hit the most home runs in a game. In the second inning, UNLV blasted the first one of the game, a solo shot to centerfield. In the bottom of the inning, Jordan Sjostrand put a solo shot over the left field fence. The Rebels came back with one in the third but this time it was a three-RBI homer to left. Once again, the Lobos matched it, with a Mariah Rimmer three-run blast in the bottom of the inning. The Rebels took the home run advantage with one in the sixth, the fifth home run of the game and the last. Sjostrand’s home run was her first of the season and her ninth career. Rimmer’s was her fourth in 2014 and her seventh in her two years as a Lobo.
SHOWING IMPROVEMENT…The Lobo pitching staff has showed improvement in the number of walks allowed in the UNLV series. Over the three games they allowed just eight walks and only one of those came across home plate for a run. The Lobos have been working on eliminating those free passes for opponents. In the first conference series against San Diego State, the Lobos gave up 34 walks. The following series, they brought their number down to 15 but the next two series their numbers were at 21 and 22.