ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The University of New Mexico softball team put together a comeback effort to take its first series win of the season with a 6-4 win against Utah State on Senior Day at Lobo Softball field.
“We had great pitching today,” said Beach. “We had that big inning. They threw their ace and she kept us off balance for a good portion of the game. Our team is confident offensively so I had no doubt that we were going to push runs across. It was a matter of just holding them and keeping them with four runs.”
Lisa Rodrigues got the start in the circle for the Lobos and held the Aggies scoreless in the first two innings. The Aggies ace pitcher kept New Mexico’s offense off balance as well as UNM was scoreless through the first two.
“Lisa started well and Lauren came in and did a really good job and threw some really good shutout innings and that’s what we needed. We needed those shutout innings so our offense can put up those four runs for us.”
Utah State was on the board in the third inning with four runs. The Lobos responded with a run in the bottom half of the inning when senior Ally Hakeem singled to left center, her first hit of the season, and Michala Erickson doubled to left field to score Hakeem.
Coach Beach made a pitching change in the fourth when Rodrigues allowed two base runners to get on. Lauren Soles came in to the circle and shut down the Aggies for the rest of the game, claiming the win in the circle with four strikeouts.
The Lobos cut the Aggie lead to 4-2 in the fourth. Mariah Rimmer singled through the left side to lead off the inning. Jasmine Casados reached on the next play off an error by the Aggie shortstop, moving Rimmer to second. The two moved up a base on a wild pitch and then senior Jordan Sjostrand brought her in on a squeeze play.
After going scoreless in the fifth, New Mexico had a crazy fourth inning, tallying four runs and the win. Casados led off the inning with a single down the left field line. She advanced to second on Sjostrand’s ground out to the third baseman. Mia Hignojos drew a walk. With two outs, Hignojos and Casados scored on Erickson’s ball to tie the game at 4-4. She put a high fly ball to left but with the wind in Albuquerque, the ball floated back and the Aggie shortstop couldn’t handle it.
Heimburg led the Lobos at the plate, going 2-for-4 with the game-winning RBI. Kalinen, Naomi Tellez, Rimmer, Casados, Hakeem and Erickson all one hit.
The Lobos improve to 16-32 on the season and are 7-14 in the Mountain West. Utah State drops to 18-29 overall and 6-12 in the conference. The Lobos will finish up their home schedule on Tuesday, April 29 with a single game against New Mexico State. The first pitch is set for 5 p.m.
SENIOR NOTES…Chelsea Anaya, Ally Hakeem and Jordan Sjostrand were all honored today and were joined by many friends and family members. All three started the game. Hakeem recorded her first hit of the season and Sjostrand tallied one RBI. Anaya has been out due to a season ending injury but coach Beach started her at second base. Rodrigues threw a pitch out on the first pitch and Anaya came out of the game with a standing ovation and hugs from her teammates and coaches waiting for her.
“It’s always a special day on Senior Day. It is a day when you want to show them off and you want to win for them. You want them to leave this field feeling good. We wanted to do something special for them. These kids wanted to win for the seniors.”
“Chelsea has absolutely changed this program since she has been here and I wanted to do something special for her. I wanted her to be able to get that applause and appreciation for what she has done for us. It breaks my heart that she couldn’t be out there for a whole game. I care a lot about these kids on our team and I will do anything for them.”