Lobos Travel to Colorado State for Regular-Season Finale
May 9, 2012
New Mexico Lobos Softball -- Final Regular-Season Series
Thursday: Lobos at Colorado State, 4 p.m. (MT)
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- The University of New Mexico Lobos softball team travels to Fort Collins, Colo., to face Mountain West foe Colorado State for its final three-game series of the regular season May 10-11. The Lobos and the Rams will play at 4 p.m. (MT) on Thursday, and a doubleheader on Friday beginning at 11 a.m. (MT), and return to Albuquerque in time for New Mexico's seniors to walk in Saturday's commencement ceremonies.
UNM (27-22, 2-7) is coming off a 1-2 weekend series at home against conference opponent UNLV. The Rebels won Friday's contest, 8-4, but New Mexico used 20 hits to claim Saturday's game, 13-7. Sunday's game went an extra inning and the Rebels took the win, coming back from a 6-0 deficit to take the game, 7-6.
New Mexico is currently in fourth place in the league (2-7). San Diego State leads with a 7-2 mark, Boise State follows at 8-4, the Rams are third with a 5-4 MW record and UNLV rounds out the standings in fifth with a 2-7 conference record.
CSU (26-22, 5-4) is riding a four-game win streak after sweeping UNLV April 27-29, and defeating in-state rival Northern Colorado, 6-5, on May 2. The Rams lost all three of their games against SDSU, April 13-15, and took two from Boise State April 20-22. The Rams' 26-22 mark is its first winning season since 2010.
The Lobos and the Rams have met 100 times with the all-time series record at 50 apiece. Last year UNM got the season sweep over CSU and the Rams finished 8-43 overall and 1-14 in league play.
"CSU has been playing really good ball, especially in conference," Lobo head coach Erica Beach said. "Their coaching staff has done a really nice job with the team and I'm looking for a good series. They have historically been an offensively-driven team. I'm expecting very high-scoring games and it will be interesting to see how it plays out."
With a 27-22 mark and only three games left in the regular season, UNM is guaranteed to finish the year with a winning record--its first since 2001 when the Lobos finished 39-24-1 under the direction of Susan Craig. This year's Lobo squad set a new record for best start with a 17-2 record which topped the previous 13-2 record set by the 1984 squad. UNM also had its first 20-plus win season since 2008.
The Lobos continue to dominate on offense and still rank No. 1 in the nation for home runs per game. UNM has 91 so far for a 1.88 per-contest average. New Mexico has also claimed the No. 1 spot in MW history books for most home runs in a season, erasing BYU's record of 87 set in 2007.
"It's definitely steps in the right direction for what we want to do with the program," Beach said of the accomplishment. "We did make some major strides this year. It was a goal for us and for this season to finish above .500, however, it's hard not to be disappointed in how we finished the season because of the start we had and the momentum we had built."
In preparing for the final series, Beach and her Lobos are taking a simple approach.
"We need to play in the moment and have a good time out on the field and see if we can get three wins," she said. "We want to finish the season with a bang and do this for the seniors. We want them to go out knowing they left it all on the field."
The Rams' offense is led by sophomore Ashlie Ortega who has 59 hits in 174 at-bats which yields a .339 batting average. Freshman Shae Rodriguez boasts a .316 average, having recorded 48 hits in 152 at-bats. Rodriguez and Chelsea Biglow lead the Rams with 39 RBIs apiece. Kacie McCarthy is CSU's go-to pitcher. The junior has logged 138 innings and has a 13-8 mark with a 3.09 ERA. McCarthy ranks first in the MW for batters struck out looking (45), second in the league in wins (15) and fifth in the leage for opposing batting average (.257). Kailey Snyder has thrown 77 innings and is 9-0 with a 4.09 ERA.
After being swept by San Diego State to open conference play on April 14-15 and going 1-2 against Boise State the following weekend, the Rams picked up three more MW wins by sweeping UNLV April 27-29.
The sweep marked the first time the Rams have taken all three games in a conference series since 2010, when they won all three matchups with New Mexico.
The Rams were back in action on May 2 to wrap up the four-game season series with in-state rival Northern Colorado. CSU took the final contest of the series, 6-5.
UNM Individual Broken Records and accomplishments...
-Broke the UNM single-season record for runs with 59 (previous record was 47 set by Jackie Van Hooydonk in 1997).
-Has had seven games in which she hit 1.000 (vs. Idaho State on Feb. 11, 4-for-4; vs. Texas Tech on Mar. 12, 3-for-3; vs. Weber State on Mar. 25, 2-for-2; vs. New Mexico State on Apr. 10, 2-for-2; vs. Boise State on Apr. 29, 4-for-4; vs. UTEP on May 1, 3-for-3; and vs. UNLV on May 4, 3-for-3.
-Is third on the team for home runs with 15, which also ranks her second in UNM history for single-season home runs.
-Currently ranks 7th in UNM history for putouts in a single-season. Teammate Dani Castro had 351 last season which ranks her 6th in the category.