The Lobos of New Mexico will play CSU on Sunday for the teams’ last match-up before the Mountain West Conference Tournament in May. The Rams swept New Mexico in the last meeting in early April, but know they still have to play hard.
“We took a couple days off and we will still get a good four days of practice in before the game,” head coach Mary Yori said. “Everybody is healthy and we are feeling good about things. We are very excited to play UNM.”
CSU (25-10) holds the No. 3 spot in conference with a 6-4 MWC record, while New Mexico (6-17) is in the basement with a 2-8 league record. San Diego State remains in first with a perfect 6-0 record, followed by the 5-3 Cougars of BYU.
“UNM lost two to Utah, but split a doubleheader with BYU, so they will have some momentum coming in,” Yori said. “They are going to come in ready to play.”
New Mexico will have its hands full trying to control the hot bats the Rams have been swinging at home. In the team’s only two doubleheaders at Ram Field this year, there are three players hitting above .450 – Steph Roberts (.500), Katie Dean (.500) and Ricki Walker at (.462). Roberts is also currently riding a six-game hitting streak.
CSU pitching has also looked good at home, with junior Megan Masser picking up 17 strikeouts, two wins and one save against BYU and Utah last week. Overall, Masser is in the top five in four categories in the MWC. She leads the conference with seven saves, is second with a 1.44 ERA, has the third lowest opponent batting average at .181, and is fourth in strikeouts with 104.
The Rams’ defense will also be an obstacle for the Lobos to overcome, as CSU’s fielding percentage of .975 is not only best in the conference, it is the best in CSU history.
The pitching staff has given the players a lot to work with by only allowing a conference-best three homeruns.
Trying to quiet the Rams’ bats will be Lobo ace Amy Dumas. She carries an 11-13 record, with a 1.95 ERA and 153 fanned. When she last faced the Rams, she took the loss, but pitched a complete game, giving up four hits, one run and struck out seven.
“Dumas has the ability to shut you down if you don’t get in there and get aggressive,” Yori said.
Freshman shortstop Ashley Vanboxmeer gives power to the UNM lineup with a .358 batting average, 30 RBIs and nine long balls. Senior Kelly Glass leads the conference with 51 hits and is also a running threat with 13 stolen bases.
“They have got good hitting,” Yori said. “They have got a couple girls that can hit the ball out of the park.”
In a preemptive strike against the snow-filled weather forecast on Saturday, the game has been moved to Sunday, with the first game scheduled to start at 1 p.m.