Freshman Hurlers Lead Lobos to Two Shutouts on Sunday
Feb. 17, 2013
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- The third and final day of the 2013 Lobo Classic was a thrilling one for the University of New Mexico softball squad as freshman hurlers Lisa Rodrigues and Lauren Soles led the way in earning shutout victories over IPFW (1-0 in 8 inn.) and Central Michigan (4-0 in 5 1/3 inn.), respectively. It was the first collegiate win for Rordrigues while Soles earned her second collegiate win in memorable fashion, tossing a a no-hitter against CMU this afternoon. It's the first no-hitter in head coach Erica Beach's era (since 2011), and the first in recent history.
With Sunday's wins, the Lobos went 5-1 in the Classic and improved to 5-8 overall.
"This weekend was fantastic," Beach said. "It was good to play at home and in front of our fans, get some wins and be able to settle in. Our first weekend was so ambitious and I think we learned a lot in this tournament and each day we played, we got better. I feel confident that this is going to give us some momentum into our future games."
New Mexico looked sharp on Sunday, especially on the mound.
In the Lobos' first game of the day, Rodrigues threw 8.0 innings, striking out four, walking three and giving up seven hits. In 5.0 innings pitched against the Chippewas, Soles faced 16 batters, walked none and struck out six.
"Our pitching definitely stepped up this weekend," Beach said. "A lot of the mistakes that we were making in the first weekend we fixed. Getting ahead of batters, not letting as many leadoff hitters on -- a lot of little things were corrected and all of our pitchers really stepped up and it was nice to see them do that.
"Lauren absolutely stepped up for us. She's a high-level pitcher and she's a lefty so it's a nice, different look than our other pitchers. She's got a really great off-speed pitch, which throws people off balance, and then she throws the ball hard and is very consistent. There was only one batter that she didn't throw a first strike to today. She is a dominant pitcher and continuing to grow every weekend and every game out."
The rookie, who got her first collegiate win and her first collegiate no-hitter in the same weekend was quick to give credit to her teammates.
"What works for me is having my team behind me," Soles said. "It's not one specific pitch or player, it's knowing that your team always has your back. That's what works for any pitcher."
Also picking up wins over the weekend were Kaela DeBroeck and Carrie Sheehan. All five of UNM's pitchers saw action and as a crew, had an ERA of 1.40, earned two shut outs, allowed 12 runs -- eight of which were earned, walked 16 and struck out 29. No homers were allowed at Lobo Field by the New Mexico pitching staff this weekend.
Offensively, the Lobos looked good too.
"One of the things we were missing last weekend was timely hitting and getting RBIs in important situations," Beach said. "It was huge for us to start getting that this weekend it was a key to us getting five wins this weekend. We got hitting from all areas of our lineup this weekend."
New Mexico had 45 hits and scored 25 runs in the Lobo Classic, a drastic improvement from just a week before.
And talk about timing. A couple of this weekend's highlights included Nykilah Torres' three-run, walk-off homer (the first long ball of the season for UNM) down the left field line in the bottom of the fifth inning in UNM's home opener with Hampton on Friday, and today's walk-off single to left center by Kaity Ingram in UNM's 1-0 defeat of IPFW in extra innings.
"Kaity is one of our best hitters," Beach said of the senior's game-winner. "She's one of the most competitive kids we have on this team and I had no doubt that she would come through with that hit, just because she's that competitive and she's that good."
Said Ingram of the game-winning hit: "I was focusing on her throwing something out and she came in on me so I turned on it and I was just trying to hit something through the infield to score our runner. Being a senior and a leader, I just want to come out for my team. Lisa pitched a great, great game and I wanted to help her out and get that hit."
Freshman Mariah Rimmer led all Lobos with eight hits, including her first collegiate homer, in 21 at-bats (also a team high) over the five games. She stole seven bases in eight attempts. The center fielder was solid on defense, making some clutch catches and halting runners with her impressive arm and throwing accuracy.
"She's got speed, power, range in the outfield -- she's an all-out athlete," Beach said. "She brings so much versatility in this lineup. She can beat balls out in the infield, she can pop the ball over the fence and she's only going to get better. You haven't even really seen everything that she can do yet. I'm really excited to see where she grows from here because she has so many tools to use in the game and she's a fireball. She's competitive and she wants to win and she just drives herself so hard. You're going to see some really exciting things out of her in the future."
The Lobos travel to Las Cruces, N.M., on Tuesday, Feb. 19 to face Rio Grande Rival New Mexico State. It'll be the second meeting between the Lobos and Aggies this season, as NMSU defeated UNM, 3-0, last weekend in its Hotel Encanto Invitational. The game begins at 5 p.m. MT.
New Mexico will then travel to Corpus Christi, Texas for the 2013 Best Western Marina Grand Islander Classic hosted by Texas A&M Corpus Christi, Feb. 22-24. The Lobos will face Southern, Auburn, Texas A&M Corpus Christi and Kansas.
New Mexico 1, IPFW 0 (8 inn.)
The Lobos and Mastodons went scoreless through seven innings as UNM's pitching and defense were the key to the game. IPFW had batters reach in every single frame, but New Mexico thwarted all scoring attempts and the Mastodons ended the contest with 14 runners left on base.
New Mexico had runners in scoring positing in the first and third inning, but were unable to bring them home.
After the teams played scoreless through regulation, the tiebreaker rule came into play, meaning at each half inning, the offensive team begins its turn at bat with its last out placed on second base.
In the top of the eighth, the Lobo defense threw out IPFW's token runner at third base and didn't allow any other batters to reach.
Then the Lobos went to work on offense.
Sheryl Guillermo was the designated runner for UNM and advanced to third off a sacrifice bunt down the third baseline by Jordan Sjostrand. IPFW intentionally walked Mariah Rimmer and then the freshman stole second base to give New Mexico runners on second and third with just one out. Senior Kaity Ingram stepped up to the plate after Rimmer and drove in the winning run with a single to right center.
New Mexico 4, Central Michigan 0
It was determined prior to the start of the UNM-CMU contest that the game would be called at 3:15 p.m. MT in order to allow Central Michigan time to catch its flight.
Knowing their time was limited, the Lobos jumped to a 3-0 lead in the first inning. Rimmer and Ingram had back-to-back singles and each recorded a stolen base before being driven in off a double to left center by Chelsea Anaya. Cassandra Kalapsa scored the other Lobo run in the top of the frame as she drew a walk and was eventually driven in off a ground out by Jordyn Bledsoe.
The Lobos' fourth run was Rimmer's homer in the top of the fourth inning.
Soles and UNM's defense kept the bases clear with the exception of Lauren Smith reaching on a hit-by-pitch in the bottom of the third inning.
It was the top of the sixth (UNM was designated visitors) with two outs away when the game was called and the Cherry and Silver claimed the win, 4-0.