During both ends of Sunday’s doubleheader, the New Mexico softball team needed to overcome deficits to defeat Siena College. It won both games by different methods.
Left-handed Lobo freshman pitcher Lauren Soles dealt 14 strikeouts to limit the Saints to two fourth-inning runs in UNM’s second victory, which ended 5-2. That effort followed Game 1, in which the Lobos used an eight-run second inning to surge past Siena 13-5.
The two-game sweep Sunday salvaged a two-win, two-loss weekend for UNM. The Lobos lost a pair to Oklahoma State on Friday by scores of 11-0 and 6-1.
“I was just excited to come play today,” Soles said after UNM improved to 16-20 on the season. “We start conference next weekend, and I think a good performance these past two days needed to show San Diego State we’re ready to play.”
Soles pitched a no-hitter through three innings of Game 2 as the Lobos held a 1-0 lead. Left fielder Courtney Geith scored the first run off freshman catcher Naomi Tellez’s two-out first-inning single.
In the fourth, Siena (5-11) took the lead with two runs scored by second baseman Stephanie Viggiano and shortstop Shannon Jones. Viggiano’s single was Siena’s first hit on Soles. After the runs, Soles and the Lobos settled down and stranded three base runners at the inning’s end.
UNM regained the lead with two sixth-inning runs. Second baseman Mia Hignojos doubled, which brought designated player Karissa Haleman home. Hignojos crossed home plate on the next at-bat with shortstop Jordyn Bledsoe’s single to right field.
The Lobos added two more insurance runs by Geith and first baseman Kaity Ingram in the seventh inning.
Soles went a complete seven innings. She had no earned runs off four hits and two walks. Geith led UNM at the plate with a 2-for-2 effort and two runs scored. Hignojos was 2-for-3 with a run scored and an RBI, while right fielder Cassandra Kalapsa provided two RBIs.
Siena starter Antonia Edwards also pitched a complete game in the losing effort. She earned all five UNM runs off nine hits and three walks, striking out five Lobos. Designated player Jessika-Jo Sandrini was 2-for-3 offensively and Viggiano was 2-for-4 with an RBI.
“It was a well-pitched game,” Siena coach Bill Lajeunesse said. “When you’re getting a well-pitched game on both sides of the ball, I think teams play better defense and everything runs much smoother.”
In Game 1 Siena built an early 5-0 lead over two innings before UNM took control in the bottom half of the second. The Lobos blasted eight runs in that inning on seven hits. Tellez scored twice as UNM hit around the order and seven Lobos crossed the plate for an 8-5 advantage.
UNM added two more runs in the third, one in the fourth and two more in the fifth to end the game in five innings via the eight-run mercy rule.
“It was up and down,” UNM coach Erica Beach said. “We started off a little rough offensively, a little rough with our pitching, but it was nice to pick it up and get it together (Sunday). It was a lot more fun to put it all together.”
UNM’s Kaela DeBroeck (4-6) picked up the pitching win in relief. In 3 and 2/3 innings, DeBroek surrendered just one hit and one walk, throwing four strikeouts. Starting pitcher Lisa Rodrigues threw 1 and 1/3 innings, giving up five runs, four earned, on three hits and two walks. She had one strikeout.
First baseman Jordan Sjostrand went 4-for-4 from the plate with three runs scored and two RBIs for UNM. Tellez was 3-for-4 with two runs scored and four RBIs, while right fielder Cassandra Kalapsa hit 2-for-2 with two runs and two RBIs. Seven Lobos had at least one hit.
“After they got five in the first, we didn’t know what we would do,” Sjostrand said. “We were hoping to come back, and we just came back better than I expected. It was so nice to string everything together, and everyone contributed.”
Shortstop Shannon Jones was Siena’s only player with multiple base hits, going 2-for-3 with two runs and two RBIs.
Siena starter Sandrini (2-3) took the loss in three innings of work, giving up 10 runs, all earned, on 10 hits. She had five strikeouts and three walks. In 1 and 1/3 innings of relief, Alyssa Lancaster had three runs, all earned, on four hits and three walks.