No. 24 New Mexico Earns Two Shutout Wins over North Dakota and CSU Bakersfield on Friday
March 2, 2012
New Mexico Lobo Softball Invitational -- Lobo Field
Friday: Lobos 8, North Dakota 0 (6); Lobos 8, CSU Bakersfield 0 (6)
Saturday: Lobos vs. North Dakota at 3 p.m. vs. CSU Bakersfield at 5 p.m.
Sunday: Lobos vs. Utah at 11 a.m.
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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - It was a windy and frigid first day of the University of New Mexico Invitational at Lobo Field, but the No. 24 softball team in the nation stayed hot, earning two shutout victories Friday evening against North Dakota and CSU Bakersfield.
UNM topped the Fighting Sioux, 8-0 in six innings in its first game, and then defeated the Roadrunners in six innings, also with an 8-0 mark.
With Friday's wins, Erica Beach's 2012 Lobo squad improved to 15-2 to set the New Mexico softball record for best start to a season, surpassing Susan Craig's 1984 team which began 13-2 before falling to 13-4.
"These were really tough conditions to play in," Beach said. "The girls still played their game and still responded on both offense and defense."
New Mexico led 6-0 going into the bottom of the sixth inning against UND and capitalized on a fielding and throwing error by the Sioux to score the game-ending runs.
Against CSU Bakersfield, first baseman Jordan Sjostrand hit a three-run walk off homer to put an end to the evening.
Kaela DeBroeck got the win over North Dakota, pitching all six innings of the run-rule victory. The junior faced 23 batters, striking out four, walking just one batter, and only allowing five hits. DeBroeck is now 9-0.
Freshman Carrie Sheehan picked up the win against the Roadrunners to improve to 6-1. Sheehan faced 24 batters, scattering four hits and walking just two.
"This was the best outing for both of our pitchers, throwing two shutouts," Beach said.
She also credited the Lobo defense for holding its ground and backing up DeBroeck and Sheehan.
The solid work in the field allowed UNM's offense to play a bit more relaxed.
"The offense got to kind of settle in a little bit more today, producing when the situation arose," said Beach. "The pressure wasn't on our offense because our pitching and our defense came to play."
Beach specifically cited second baseman Chelsea Anaya who made a number of exceptional plays, including her run down of a high pop fly hit over her head by CSU Bakersfield's Emily Bliss in the top of the fifth inning. With two outs and runners on third and first, Anya sprinted to no man's land in shallow right field to snag the ball that had RBI-blooper written all over it.
"Chelsea stepped it up on defense for us in both games, making some spectacular plays," Beach said.
New Mexico faces the same two teams again on Saturday - North Dakota at 3 p.m. and CSU Bakersfield at 5 p.m. in the second day of the UNM Invitational.
Beach and her Lobos know they need to stay sharp tomorrow.
"Like any coach knows, any day is a different day," she said. "A team can play completely different one day to the next. We need to come out focused, ready to attack early, and make sure we don't take anybody lightly."
Utah and North Dakota begin play at 10 a.m. on Saturday, and CSU Bakersfield gets a chance at the Utes at 12 p.m.
Lobos 8, North Dakota 0 (6)
New Mexico scored one run in both the second and the third innings, and two runs in each the fourth, fifth and sixth.
The Lobos pounded out 13 hits compared to five by the Sioux, and had no errors to two by UND.
Chelsea Anaya led the Lobos at the plate, going a perfect 3-for-3, and scoring two runs.
Jordan Sjostrand was also 2-for-2, scoring one run and driving in one.
Jordyn Bledsoe was 2-for-3 and recorded two RBIs.
Third baseman Stefanie Carramusa hit a two-run homer in the fourth inning--her ninth home run of the season.
Lobos 8, CSU Bakersfield 0 (6)
New Mexico put up three runs in the first inning, thanks to an error by the `Runners and a two-run homer by Jessica Lujan-Dresslar.
The Lobos added one run in the third and fifth, and then tallied three in the bottom of the sixth off Sjostrand's long ball to call it a night.
Sjostrand finished the game 2-for-3, while Lujan-Dresslar was 2-for-3 against CSU Bakersfield with three RBIs.