Stevens: Lobos Scare No. 6 Texas But Fall 2-1 in Austin
March 30, 2012
New Mexico Lobos Softball - In Austin, Texas
Friday: Texas 2, New Mexico 1
Saturday: 2:30 p.m. (MT), Lobos at Texas; 5 p.m. (MT), Lobos vs. Tulsa
Sunday: Noon (MT) Lobos at Texas
GoLobos.com: Game Recap, Statistics, GameTracker
By Richard Stevens - Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
The New Mexico/Texas softball battle Friday in Austin, Texas sounds a little bit like that old joke about how a guy went to see a fight and a hockey game broke out.
The 585 fans who poured into Texas' McCombs Field to watch the hard-hitting No. 6 Longhorns battle the hard-hitting No. 25 ranked New Mexico Lobos probably were expecting to see a slugfest.
Instead, a pitching duel broke out.
The Lobos' combined the arms of Carrie Sheehan and Kari Gutierrez to hold the Longhorns to eight hits and two runs. However, that was one more run than the Lobos could muster off the five hits they got off Texas' Rachel Fox.
The Longhorns probably were reeling a bit when they fell behind 1-0 in the third inning off Stefanie Carramusa's 13th home run of the season. The now 28-2 Longhorns had to go to the bottom of the ninth inning to produce the 2-1 win over Erica Beach's gutsy Lobos.
The Longhorns got the win when Kim Bruins slashed a walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth to snap the 1-1 tie.
It took a hot Texas pitcher - Rachel Fox - to slow down the UNM bats that came to Austin riding a five-game win streak. Fox tied her personal best with 13 strikeouts and avoided creating her own trouble by allowing only a single walk - to UNM's Carramusa.
The Longhorns' edge in this three-game series with UNM (22-7) appeared to be pitching, but that wasn't the case in Game One on Friday. Sheehan handcuffed the powerful Longhorn bats by giving up only two hits through the first five innings.
Texas finally got to Sheehan in the sixth. Texas' Taylor Hoagland led off the inning with a walk and when Brejae Washington tried to sacrifice her teammate down to second, Washington beat out the bunt for an infield single.
Lexy Bennett then fell behind on the count 0-2 before knocking a single up the middle to drive in Hoagland. The Longhorns were looking at a good opportunity to take the lead with two runners on and no outs. The Lobos got out of the jam using Gutierrez in relief. The Longhorns stranded two runners.
The Lobos had a lot of trouble with Fox throughout the game and UNM failed to get more than one hit in any inning. Fox retired the final seven Lobo batters she faced.
The Longhorns got their winning run in the bottom of the ninth after two one-out singles by Karina Scott and Mandy Ogle. The Longhorns moved runners to second and third on a wild pitch by Gutierrez.
With the winning run on third, the Lobos scooted in their infield and Texas' Bruin pounded a hard grounder at second base that skidded off Chelsea Anaya's glove. The Longhorns escaped with the win.
The Lobos' five hits were scattered over five innings which made it difficult to plate runs. The Lobos had a good chance in the top of the second with Jessica Garcia, Danielle Castro and Sheryl Guillermo loading the bases with one out. Fox got out of the jam by striking out Jordyn Bledsoe and Jordan Sjostrand.
The Lobos' five hits came from Carramusa, Garcia, Jessica Lujan-Dresslar, Guillermo and Sjostrand.
Texas' doubleheader Saturday with UNM and Tulsa has a Hawaiian theme and the Longhorns will pass out Hawaiian leis and sunglasses.
The Lobos also play a solid Tulsa team on Saturday. The Golden Hurricanes bat .335 and have two outstanding arms in Lacey Middlebrooks (1.46 ERA) and Aimee Creger (2.56).
Texas has four pitchers with an ERA under 1.70: Kim Bruins (1.26), Rachel Fox (1.30), Blaire Luna (1.54) and Gabby Smith (1.62). Luna is 10-1 with 111 strikeouts.