One of the two teams holding the basement position in the Mountain West Conference softball standings will be able to climb out on Saturday when New Mexico hosts CSU.
Both teams have a 1-3 MWC record, both have lost two to San Diego State, and both have split a series with UNLV, but who will prevail now?
“We are two very similar teams,” head coach Mary Yori said. “We both have solid pitching and good hitting.”
The Lobos lead the series with an all-time record of 41-25 and took two out of three regular season games from the Rams last year. The Rams won when it mattered, beating UNM in the MWC finals 5-3. One of CSU’s advantages is its better overall record of 20-9 this year, compared to New Mexico’s 16-24 record.
Taking the mound for the Lobos will be ace Amy Dumas who holds a 10-10 record with a 1.68 ERA, 11 complete games and 133 strikeouts. CSU’s ace, Megan Masser, will be hurling for the Rams with a 10-4 record, 1.40 ERA, nine complete games and 86 strikeouts.
The other pitcher expected in the second game of the doubleheader will be UNM’s pitcher/designated hitter, Iriana Ogas. Ogas carries a 5-9 record, has a 4.12 ERA, has four complete games and has fanned 60 batters. At the plate, Ogas’ batting average is .310 with four homeruns, and 23 RBI.
New Mexico will also look to freshman-shortstop Ashley Vanboxmeer, who his hitting .361 with eight homeruns and 21 runs knocked in.
“They have a couple of people who can hit the long ball, which we have not seen a lot of this season,” Yori said.
CSU has only allowed two homers this season, while New Mexico has given up 22. The Rams have only managed to hit four balls out of the park all season. First baseman, Ricki Walker, leads the team with two homeruns and swings with a .319 average and has a team-leading 18 RBIs.
The Rams pitching staff is leading the MWC with an average ERA of 1.61, while other team’s pitchers have only posted a 2.63 ERA against them. CSU also leads the MWC in lowest batting average against at .206, but manages to hit .265 against its opponents.
Other conference action to take place this week is first-place San Diego State (4-0) taking on third-place BYU (1-1) and fourth-place Utah (1-1). No. 2 UNLV (2-2) will also be testing its skills against Utah and BYU.
After the New Mexico trip, CSU will return to Fort Collins for its home-opener, doubleheader against Utah on April 11. The team will then turn around to host BYU in another doubleheader on April 12.