New Mexico Softball Releases 2013 Schedule
Nov. 7, 2012
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- The University of New Mexico softball team has released its spring schedule for the 2013 season and it looks like the Lobos have their work cut out for them. This year's slate features 52 contests, including a dozen games against teams that finished 2012 with an RPI of 60 or better, and matchups with three teams that competed in last year's College World Series. A number of the game times a few dates have yet to be decided and will be updated in the coming weeks.
Third-year head coach Erica Beach and her staff have secured a pre-conference agenda that they believe will challenge their Lobos as well as help them build their confidence for Mountain West play.
"I think the schedule is balanced," she said. "We have some teams we should beat, teams that we will be evenly matched with and teams that we're going to have to step up to beat. That is the kind of schedule I want as a coach, a well-rounded schedule."
The Lobos have five consecutive weekends with tournaments, opening Feb. 7-10 at the Kajikawa Classic hosted by Arizona State. While in Tempe, UNM will face Arizona State and Oklahoma -- two World Series teams in 2012.
The other three contests for New Mexico in its opening weekend will be against Creighton, Cal Poly and San Jose State.
"The Kajikawa will be a really good starting point and measuring stick for us," Beach said. "A really important part of the equation to making it to post season includes playing some of the best competition in the country. If those teams aren't in your conference then you have to make an effort to play them in tournaments and in preseason games. I like to find the best tournaments we can play in and then ask to be challenged with a good schedule."
UNM returns to Albuquerque for the second weekend of the season to host its Lobo Classic, which features Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, Central Michigan, Hampton University and Bradley.
The Lobos will have a one-game reprieve of tournament play on Feb. 19 when they travel to Las Cruces, N.M., to face in-state rival New Mexico State. The Aggies will come to Albuquerque exactly one month after, on March 19.
The weekend of Feb. 22-24, the Lobos travel south to participate in the Best Western Marina Grand Islander Classic hosted by Texas A&M Corpus Christi. Tough competition awaits in Auburn and Kansas, which finished No. 33 and No. 50, respectively in RPI rankings last season.
New Mexico heads west the first weekend in March for the San Diego Classic I, hosted by San Diego State and San Diego. The Lobos open that tourney with Utah State and the Toreros, before facing former conference rival BYU (No. 32 final RPI in 2012), Long Beach State and UCLA (No. 16 final RPI in 2012).
Perhaps the toughest stretch for Beach's Lobos will come mid-March as they spend spring break in the Northwest, playing at the University of Washington Tournament (March 8-10) before making stops for doubleheaders at Oregon on March 13 and Oregon State on March 14.
That week will be anything but a break for UNM.
The Lobos face respectable opponents in Bradley, Seattle, Ohio, Washington and Yale at the UW tourney. Washington made it to the Super Regionals in 2012 before being eliminated by California. The Huskies finished 18th in the RPI rankings.
Oregon competed in the College World Series, and Oregon State finished with an RPI of 24.
The Lobos got W's over both the Ducks and the Beavers last year. New Mexico topped preseason No. 11 Oregon, 7-6, in their season opener at the Kajikawa Classic and defeated Oregon State two weeks later, 10-6, on the opening night of the Cathedral City Classic in Palm Springs, Calif.
Following that nine-game road trip, the Lobos will have a full week of no competition following Spring Break and then host Oklahoma State for a three-game series March 22-23.
Mountain West conference play begins the end of March with New Mexico alternating weekends on the road and at home. UNM has a midweek doubleheader with UTEP on April 24, granting them a short breather from conference play.
New Mexico opens at San Diego State March 28-20 before hosting Boise State April 5-7. The weekend of April 12-14, the Lobos will be at UNLV. The Nevada Wolfpack will make its first Mountain West trip to Albuquerque April 19-21, and then the Lobos will make their first MW trip to Fresno State the first weekend in May.
UNM closes the regular season at home against Colorado State, May 9-11.
"Conference is always tough because the teams know each other so well," Beach said of the Mountain West. "It will be interesting this year with the new faces. They are typically strong programs and they've both had history of some success. Fresno State has won a National Championship (1998). Luckily we don't play them until later on so we have a chance to see how they are shaping up this year. They're two good softball schools and I think we benefited by adding them to our conference."
The Lobos return 13 players from last season's team that went 27-25 overall and spent four weeks in the USAToday/NFCA Top 25 poll. New Mexico welcomes six new members.