Home games have provided a luxurious safe-haven for the New Mexico softball team after a horrific start to the season.
UNM (7-14) completed its first sweep of the season and has won six of their last seven games at Lobo Field. Head coach Erica Beach said that coming home has done wonders to get the team back into the mentality that they need.
“We just got a chance to get comfortable for a few weeks at home,” Beach said. “Get a chance to kind of settle in and gain our confidence, gain our swagger and come out and play like we know we can.”
Beach said that she scheduled fearsome games to start the season in order to get her squad ready to play at a high level.
“I threw the team right into the fire with our scheduling, and they didn’t even get a chance to catch their breath,” Beach said.
The bats for UNM were dominant in the three-game sweep of the Detroit Titans, highlighted by a team average of .429, 29 runs and 25 extra base hits.
Freshman Jasmine Casados has remained on an absolute tear batting out of the five spot for UNM. Not even one week after winning her first Mountain West Player of the Week award, Casados went 6-7 at the plate, belting two doubles, a triple, a homer and seven RBI.
“It was a big surprise and I was really excited,” Casados said of the award. “Just to be relaxed and to be within myself and to play how I know how to play.”
Beach said that the expectations of Casados have always been high; it was just a matter of time until she found her stride.
“She’s an outright stud. She just wasn’t playing up to her potential the first three weeks,” Beach said. “She’s the best, if not one of the best players to come out of New Mexico.”
Game two of the doubleheader on Saturday did not need to go five complete innings before UNM 8 run-ruled the Titans.
UNM redshirt freshman Tess McPherson has struggled from the circle thus far this season. She threw 55 pitches in 2 innings allotting three runs on five hits and three walks.
“We’re really working on her movement, her speed and getting ahead of hitters,” Beach said. “She just wasn’t hitting her spots. And honestly, they were hitting the ball.”
Pitcher Lisa Rodrigues then came into the ball game with two runners on base and no outs. Rodrigues proceeded to toss a gem in a 4-3 ball game and didn’t allow a single hit during her three innings of work.
Beach said she called on Rodrigues early in order to protect what was a slim lead in the top of the third inning.
“We wanted to try to stop it before it got any worse or that they tied the ball game,” Beach said. “We wanted to make a change while we still had the lead.”