After a sluggish start to the season, the New Mexico softball team won three straight games at the Lobo Invitational. The only game they lost in the tournament ended at the top of the sixth inning due to time constraints.
Head coach Erica Beach said she was pleased with her team’s ability to turn things around after going 1-13 on the road to begin the season.
“This was our first time playing at home; it’s always nice to sleep in our own beds and play on our own field,” Beach said. “I think our team really stepped it up this weekend.”
The game was called early on Sunday, ending the Lobos’ chances of completing a sweep of the entire tournament in a 12-9 loss against Idaho State (9-7). UNM (4-14) had beaten Idaho State earlier in the invitational in a comeback effort after trailing 9-3.
On Sunday, the game had a similar feel as the Lobos trailed early on against the Bengals. The Lobos’ starting pitcher, Tess McPherson, was chased out of the ball game after failing to reach the third inning.
In two and two-thirds innings, McPherson gave up eight runs on nine hits, throwing 76 pitches before teammate Carrie Sheehan came in for relief.
The Lobos (4-14) found themselves in a 7-1 hole early in the second inning after Idaho State catcher Vicky Galasso hit a grand slam to left center field.
ISU continued to add to its lead and had an 11-1 advantage heading into the bottom of the fifth.
UNM’s rally started when infielder Jasmine Casados hit a three-run shot over the right center field wall. Casados’ homer accounted for three of the eight runs in the inning, bringing the Lobos within striking distance.
However, despite the Lobos’ appearing as though they were not done driving in runs, a judgment call ended the inning. It seemed that the Bengals’ Dara Kolar removed her foot from first base during an attempt to scoop a low throw.
“It was a rush the entire time,” Casados said. “We were all relaxed and we all just wanted to keep the rally going.”
In the top of the sixth inning, ISU added one more run to increase its lead to 12-9. The game was called after that inning because the Bengals had to catch their plane back to Pocatello, Idaho.
Beach did not want the fifth inning to end in the manner it did, being aware of the time constraints.
“I think if we did play a full seven (innings) … we would have come out with a win,” said Beach. “I was really pleased with our offense and how they fought.”
The Lobos swept the Buffalo Bulls (9-7) in the Lobo Invitational.
The Lobos were scheduled to play North Dakota St. (10-6) on Saturday, but an illness overcame the majority of the team, who were unable to participate in the final two days of the tournament.