March 19, 2013
New Mexico Lobos Softball - At Lobo Field
Tuesday: New Mexico State 2, New Mexico Lobos 0
Friday: 4 p.m.-6 p.m. -- Lobos vs. Oklahoma State - doubleheader
Saturday: 2 p.m., Lobos vs. Siena
Sunday: 11 a.m., Lobos vs. Siena
By Richard Stevens - Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
When it came to putting the bat on the ball with authority, the New Mexico Lobos definitely had their bats making the right sounds Tuesday at Lobo Field.
"I think we hit the ball really well today," said Lobo Coach Erica Beach.
However, the New Mexico State Aggies found a way to drive in the eventual game-winner without their bats making any noise.
The Aggies from Las Cruces got a leadoff double to center field from Amber Olive and then used three walks (wedged around a strikeout) to push Olive across the plate.
UNM starter, Lauren Soles, then pitched six innings without giving up a free base. The Lobos also played error-free ball. It was a frustrating way to drop a game to the Aggies.
The Aggies scored a lone run in the fifth, aided by a passed ball, to finalize their 2-0 win over New Mexico.
"Lauren got tougher as the game went on," said Beach of her lefty freshman. "She is growing as a pitcher. She's maturing still and is learning a lot from these types of games."
Soles had a solid pitching line. She gave up five hits, three walks and struck out seven Aggies. NMSU's pitching combo of Celisha Walker (2.2 innings) and Alex Newman (4.1) held UNM to three hits and seven innings of goose eggs on the scoreboard.
That Aggie duo registered one strikeout as the Lobos did get metal on the ball. The Aggies issued two walks and had two errors to help UNM strand seven runners. NMSU stranded five runners.
"Most of our outs were hard hit," said Beach, who saw her Lobos drop to 14-18 on the year. "They made some great plays and a lot of our balls went right at them. Sometimes they fall and sometimes they don't and unfortunately today wasn't our day.
"It was a hard-fought game from start to finish. I never felt that we were out of it. I felt that it was competitive. They capitalized when we put free runners on. Good job on their part."
That first inning could have been worse for UNM. The bases were loaded when Soles got Staci Rodriguez to line out to third base where Kaity Ingram doubled up the Aggie at third. Olive had the only NMSU hit in the inning.
UNM had a good chance to score in the fifth when Bledsoe doubled deep to left center with one out. Bledsoe went to third when Hignojos reached first on an error at second base. The next two Lobos made outs without advancing the base runners.
The game with NMSU was a Rio Grande Rivalry Cup game and it was a tie-breaker game as the teams split the two previous meetings this season. NMSU won the first meeting, 3-0, on Feb. 10 in Las Cruces. The Lobos topped the Aggies, 10-9, on Feb. 19, also in Las Cruces.
The Lobos will be back on Lobo Field this weekend playing Oklahoma State in a doubleheader on Friday (4 p.m.-6 p.m.), battling Siena at 2 p.m., on Saturday, and finishing with Siena at 11 a.m., on Sunday. Oklahoma State and Siena meet Saturday at noon. The Lobo open Mountain West play next week on the road at San Diego State.
"We just got back from a long road trip against really hard competition," said Beach. "We have been on the road so much the last month and a half. It's refreshing to be home and playing on our field in front of our fans.
"We are a little up and down right now. I think our performances have been inconsistent, but I've seen some really great moments. The kids have stayed positive. They've stayed driven."