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March 24, 2013

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New Mexico Softball Invitational - March 22-24 - Lobo Field

Friday, March 22: Game 1: Oklahoma St. def. Lobos, 11-0 (5 inn.); Game 2: Oklahoma St. def. Lobos, 6-1
Saturday, March 23: Moved to Sunday
Sunday, March 24: Game 1: Lobos def. Siena, 13-5 (5 inn.); Game 2: Lobos def. Siena, 5-2
Up Next: Lobos open Mountain West play at San Diego State, March 28-30 Box scores, recaps and season stats

Game 35 - New Mexico 13, Siena 5 (5 inn.)Get Acrobat Reader | Game 36 - New Mexico 5, Siena 2Get Acrobat Reader

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- The University of New Mexico softball team wrapped up a weekend at home with sweep of Siena College, 13-5 (5 inn.) and 5-2, on Sunday at Lobo Field. The Lobos improve to 16-20 overall while Siena drops to 5-11.

The Lobos got production from all parts of their lineup and were able to get timely hits -- something they'd been missing the last few weeks and hoping to find soon as they open Mountain West play next weekend at preseason league favorite San Diego State.

Equally as efficient as the Lobo offense was the Lobo pitching, with perhaps the most storied part of the day being the performance of Lauren Soles.

The lefty freshman threw the entire second game and struck out a career-high 14 batters. Lobo softball records from 2006-present show the previous single-game high for strikeouts was nine, recorded first by senior Kaela DeBroeck on Feb. 26, 2011 against Northern Colorado, and matched by Soles in five innings pitched on March 8 of this season against Seattle.

Soles struck out at least one batter each inning and earned all three outs in the first and fifth innings. Four of the 14 batters fanned went down looking. Through three innings, she held the Saints hitless before allowing two in the fourth and two in the fifth. Soles walked just two and none of the runs scored were earned.

"I was excited to come and play today," Soles said of the game. "This is good momentum for us as we start conference next weekend and I think that a good performance was needed in order to show San Diego State that we're ready to play."

Head coach Erica Beach was pleased with Soles' performance and quick to note that it's progress -- all part of the learning and growing process for the rookier hurler.

"She threw strong, but she'll be the first to tell you that there are a lot of improvements she wishes she had done in the game and it wasn't perfect," Beach said. "She threw strong, though and she got some key strikeouts in stressful situations. She's still got a ways to go and has some room to grow and she'll be the first to tell you that. But it was a definite step in the right direction for her. She needed a confident win and I think that's what she got today."

Junior first baseman Jordan Sjostrand says having Soles in the circle eases things up a bit for the rest of the Lobos.

"It relaxes us just knowing that she's going to take care of things on the field and then all we have to do is back her up with hits," Sjostrand said.

Overall, the pair of doubleheaders for UNM in the final weekend was 50-50 as the Lobos dropped two games to Oklahoma State on Friday night, 11-0 (5 inn.) and 6-1, before earning two wins over Siena today. There were some not-so-good moments and some excellent moments.

"It was an up and down weekend," Beach said. "We started out a little rough offensively and a little rough with our pitching. It was nice to be able to pick it up and get it together today and it was a lot more fun to put it all together. We had much better pitching in the circle today and we fought back a couple of's nice to get those wins, especially the ones we have to fight harder for.

"The first game we fell behind early and then we were able to rally back and I think that led into some momentum for game two," Beach said. "Really what helped us was just moving runners station-to-station which was important for us as far as executing and moving runners into scoring position and then getting timely hitting. That's the key to the game -- getting the hits when you need them and getting runners in scoring position. We were fortunate enough to be able to do that today and do it a lot and I was very proud of how the team performed together."

In the first game with the Saints, New Mexico found itself down 5-0 after 1 1/2 innings as the Saints capitalized on two errors in the first to put up two runs and used three hits in the top of the second to add three runs.

New Mexico answered big in the bottom of the second pounding out seven hits to tack on eight runs and take over the lead. The Lobos added two runs on three hits in the third, one run on one hit in the fourth and two runs on three hits in the fifth to run-rule Siena.

Sjostrand went a perfect 4-for-4 at the plate in the game and drove in two runs, including the game winner.

"At the beginning of the season I had kind of been struggling and today I just decided to challenge the pitcher instead of challenging myself and I found it," Sjostrand said. "It was kind of weird because we didn't go in (to the second inning) saying, 'Okay, guys. Let's dial in, let's focus,' we just said, 'Let's get 'em back,' and we did. In past seasons and in past games we haven't been able to do that, but today we were successful."

UNM outhit Siena in the first game, 14-4.

Freshman Lisa Rodrigues got the start and threw 1 1/3 innings before senior Kaela DeBroeck entered in relief. DeBroeck gave up just one hit while walking one and striking out four batters.

In game two, the Lobos were a little quieter on offense, recording nine hits to Siena's four. New Mexico took a 1-0 lead in the first as freshman Courtney Geith led off with a walk, advanced to second on a passed ball, moved to third on a single by Rimmer and reached home off a single to right field by Naomi Tellez.

UNM held the 1-0 advantage until the fourth when the Saint's used a two hits, a walk and two errors to put up two runs and take the lead, 2-1.

New Mexico didn't panic, however, and instead struck twice in the sixth and twice in the seventh.

With two outs away in the sixth inning, Mia Hignojos doubled to left field to bring in Karissa Haleman, who had drawn a walk. Jordyn Bledsoe followed Hignojos with a deep single to right center and Hignojos reached home.

Back-to-back bunts by Geith and Ingram in the seventh helped the Lobos put pressure on Siena's defense. A fly out to right field by Rimmer advanced Geith to third and after the second out of the inning, Ingram stole second. A single down the right field line by Kalapsa brough both runners around and gave the game its final tally of 5-2.

"I think Siena battled both games. They put the ball in play really well which put pressure on our defense and every time a different pitcher comes, you're going to hit them differently. It took us a while to settle in on the pitcher in the second game before we started to produce offensively."

Notes: In the month of March, UNM is 7-11 and Sunday's sweep was just the second time this month the Lobos have won consecutive games...the Lobos had a season-high 13 RBIs in the first game...Naomi Tellez was 3-for-4 in the first game and drove in a career-high four RBIs...Mia Hignojos was 2-for-4 in game one with three RBIs...Courtney Geith was 2-for-2 in the second game...over the two games, every Lobo in the lineup recorded a hit.


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