Kalapsa's Walk-off Gives Lobos First Mountain West Win
April 5, 2013
New Mexico Lobos Softball - Mountain West home opener - vs. Boise State, April 5-7Friday: Lobos def. Boise State, 7-6
Saturday: Lobos vs. Boise State, 6 p.m. MT -- Lettermen Alumni Game
Sunday: Lobo vs. Boise State, 12 p.m. MT
GoLobos.com: GameTracker, Live Stream, LoboTV highlights, box scores and game recaps
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- The University of New Mexico softball team won its first Mountain West game of the season in memorable fashion on Friday night as a home run by Cassandra Kalapsa with one out away in the bottom of the seventh gave the Lobos a 7-6 win over Boise State.
UNM improves to 17-23 overall and 1-3 in the MW while the Broncos drop to 16-18-1 overall and 0-1 in league play. The teams will play the second game of the three-game series tomorrow at 6 p.m. MT. Saturday evening's contest is also the Lettermen Alumni game and a number of former Lobos will be recognized prior to the first pitch.
Kalapsa says her mind wasn't set on a long ball in the final at-bat of the game.
"I wasn't trying to do too much -- I wasn't trying to take this big massive swing -- I was just trying to get a hit so we could start a rally and then go from there and hit-by-hit win the game," Kalapsa said of the play of the game. "But she threw me an outside pitch and I swung and that's just what happened. It felt really good."
The senior right fielder went 2-for-2 on the day and drew two walks. She also scored two runs and drove in two runs.
"That was just huge," head coach Erica Beach said. "She hit barrel of the bat right on the middle of that ball. She just really came through for us, especially since Naomi Tellez got picked off [at first] and it felt like some of the momentum could have really been going in the other direction. For Cassie to end the game like that was really exciting and very timely. The team needed that."
The Lobos struggled at the plate in the first four frames, getting just two hits -- one from Courtney Geith and the other from Kalapsa. UNM trailed 3-0 after four innings as Boise State put up three runs on three hits and two errors in the top of the fourth.
New Mexico came alive in the bottom of the fifth, recording five runs on five hits while batting through its lineup.
Kalapsa led off the inning by drawing a walk and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by redshirt freshman Karissa Haleman. A double to left field by sophomore Mia Hignojos brought Kalapsa in and put the Lobos on the board.
Junior Jordyn Bledsoe followed with a triple to right field, bringing Hignojos around, and a double to left by Jordan Sjostrand sent Bledsoe home and tied the game at 3-3 with just one away in the inning.
The Broncos made a pitching change, putting in Kenzie Cole for Rebecca Patton, but the Lobos didn't skip a beat.
Freshman Courtney Geith hit a single, moving Sjostrand to third base and then Geith stole second. Senior Kaity Ingram drew a walk to load the bases before a single through the right side by freshman Mariah Rimmer drove in Sjostrand and gave the Lobos the go ahead, 4-3. The next UNM batter struck out swinging and then Kalapsa drew her second walk of the inning, which forced in Geith and moved the score to 5-3 in favor of the home team. The Lobos' rally ended with the next batter, but UNM was in a much better spot.
New Mexico added a run in the bottom of the sixth as Hignojos led off with her second double of the game and advanced to third on a single up the middle by Bledsoe. A sacrifice fly to center by Sjostrand brought Hignojos home and increased the Lobos' lead, 6-3.
The Broncos' leadoff, Tara Glover, hit a single up the middle to start the seventh and then she stole second base. After a strikeout, BSU's Holly Bourke drew a walk, which was followed by a single to left center by Makenna Weir that allowed Glover to score, moving the mark to 6-4.
Then things got interesting.
Mackenzie Whyte got a hold of the ball and hit it over the right-center field fence. However, in the excitement of the dinger, Whyte passed Weir (who had tagged up at first) while running the bases and was ruled out at first, cutting a potential three-run home run to a two-run single.
A ground out to third ended the Broncos' at-bat and left the game tied at 6-6 heading into the bottom of the seventh.
Lobo Tellez led off with a single, recorded off the Broncos' Patton, who re-entered the circle. The Lobo catcher was picked off, however, and UNM's momentum seemed as though it was stifled.
But Kalapsa stepped up to the plate and watched two balls go by before sending the third pitch over the right-field fence. The senior's fourth homer of the year ended the game and gave UNM its first conference win.
Kalapsa says the team started to play to its ability in the fifth.
"I think those consecutive hits, starting with Mia's double, really sparked us. Hitting is contagious," Kalapsa said. "In the fifth, sixth and seventh we played like the Lobos we know we are, so we're going to use those three innings to carry momentum into tomorrow's games."
Beach was pleased with the production she got from the bottom of her lineup.
"The bottom of our lineup started that rally and really just helped set the tone today," Beach said.
Hignojos and Bledsoe each had two hits and one RBI in the game while Sjostrand had one hit and drove in two runs.
"I couldn't be more proud of them," she said. "It's something we've been looking for and waiting for and we're happy they finally stepped up and did it."
Freshman Lauren Soles earned her eighth victory of the season as she was in the circle all seven innings for UNM. The lefty allowed nine hits and six runs (four earned) while walking two and striking out seven.
"She struggled today," Beach said of Soles. "She has that competitive drive that, even when she's not sharp, keeps us in ball games. She wasn't sharp, but she fought and that's all I ask."