No. 23 New Mexico Travels to Texas Tech for Two-Game Series

March 8, 2012

No. 23 New Mexico at Texas Tech - Rocky Johnson Field, Lubbock, Texas

Friday: Lobos vs. TTU, 5 p.m. MT
Saturday: Lobos vs. TTU, 10 a.m. MT GameTracker, Stats, Recaps

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - No. 23 New Mexico heads to Lubbock, Texas to face Texas Tech for its first true away contest this weekend, March 9-10. For the first month of the season, the Lobo played five games each weekend at tournaments, and will welcome a two-game series with the Raiders.

New Mexico is 17-3, coming off a 4-1 weekend at its home UNM Invitational, a performance that moved UNM up one spot in the national ranking. Erica Beach and her Lobos topped the Fighting Sioux and CSU Bakersfield twice each before falling to Utah on Sunday, March 4 for only their third loss of the season.

"We're taking a lot of positives from the weekend," Beach said. "We battled in all of the games and really, Sunday's game was the only game I felt we didn't play the way we play. Other than that, I'm really happy with the 4-1 finish and I think that we'll take a lot of that into this coming weekend against Texas Tech."

Beach acknowledged the Lobos' Sunday slump.

"I guess we have a Sunday curse," she said. "We're having a hard time closing out those tournaments."

It's true--all three of UNM's losses have been on a Sunday, and the Lobos are just 1-3 on the final day of tournaments.

Thankfully the Lobos and TTU play Friday and Saturday.

Texas Tech is 17-7, coming off two tough losses against No. 6 Texas on March 6 and 7. The Red Raiders managed only five hits over the two-game series in Austin. Prior to opening Big 12 play this week, TTU had won 16 of its last 17 contests, including a perfect 6-0 showing last weekend during its home-opening Jeannine McHaney Memorial Classic.

The Red Raiders' only blemish during that 17-game stretch was 3-1 to Texas State Feb. 26 in the championship game of the Texas Shootout in Waco. Since the start of the season, TTU has played eight schools that advanced to an NCAA Regional in 2011, posting a 5-3 record in those games with two of those losses coming to schools ranked in the top 10 nationally.

The Red Raiders and New Mexico have four common opponents this season in Northwestern, Cal Poly, Idaho State and Texas State. TTU faced the Wildcats at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, Ariz. on Feb. 10 and lost 14-6. The Lobos faced the Wildcats the next day and won, 13-5 (6). Texas Tech also lost to Cal Poly in Tempe by a score of 3-0, while the Mustangs defeated the Lobos 4-2 at the Cathedral City Classic in Palm Springs, Calif. on Feb. 26.

Like New Mexico, the Raiders beat Idaho State -- 8-4, while the Lobos decision was 9-8. Texas Tech split with Texas State, taking the first game 6-0 and dropping the second, 3-1. UNM beat Texas State, 5-3 on Feb. 12.

This will be encounters no. 48 and 49 for New Mexico and Texas Tech, with the Lobos owning the advantage 27-20. The two teams met last year in Lubbock for a doubleheader on March 9 with the then-No.19 Red Raiders making a sweep of UNM, 9-6 and 5-3.

"We played really good games against them last year," Beach said. "They're a competitive team and they play in a tough conference. They're well coached and in the top echelon of teams. We're expecting a good battle in Lubbock."

Even though Tech had two tough games midweek, Beach and the Lobos are going into the series expecting a full fight.

"With us being ranked and having a target on our back, every team is going to come out and show up to play," she said. "Whether they are tired, whether they are injured, they are going to play their best games against us."

Texas Tech is led in the circle by Cara Custer. The freshman hurler is 10-5 with an ERA 2.05. Lefthander Brittany Talley also throws and is 5-2 with a 1.91 ERA.

The Red Raiders hit .272 as a team--compared to a Lobo lineup that owns a .347 batting average.

Leading Tech offensively are Adriana Perez, Sandy James and Mikey Kenney with averages of .357, .333 and .294. Perez has 25 hits, including five home runs and two doubles. James also has five home runs and two doubles in 24 hits, while Kenney has seven homers and one double and 20 hits.

New Mexico has six players hitting .309 or better with Jessica Garcia, Shenise Cox and Stefanie Carramusa leading the way with averages of .479, .417 and .414, respectively. Eight different Lobos have hit a home run, while the team has a total of 38 long balls.

Garcia has 12 extra-base hits--four doubles, one triple and seven home runs--and 34 hits total. The senior boasts a .494 on-base percentage and a .859 slugging percentage, and has driven in a team-high 30 runs.

Cox leads the Lobos in homers with 10, and also has five doubles and one triple with 25 hits total. The senior has an on-base percentage of .557 and a 1.033 slugging percentage. Cox is second to Garcia in RBIs with 27.

Carramusa is the queen of doubles, boasting a team-high of eight. She is second on the team in home runs with nine and has 29 hits. The junior has 25 RBIs and an on-base percentage of .506, as well as a slugging percentage of .914.

Fans can follow the action in Lubbock via GameTracker, box scores and recaps on