New Mexico Steals Walk-Off Win In Opener
May 1, 2015
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - New Mexico scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh, with Shelbie Franc scoring the winner on Chelsea Johnson's sacrifice fly to center, giving the Lobos a 7-6 win over Boise State Friday at Lobo Softball Field.
It was the seventh walk-off loss for the Broncos this season, as they fell to 12-37 overall and 4-15 in Mountain West play. What stung just as much Friday was the fact that the Broncos had scored thrice in the top of the sixth to overcome own deficit to take a 6-4 lead.
New Mexico opened the bottom half of the seventh with Michala Erickson getting hit by a pitch, which ended the night for Bronco starter Nicole Wilson. Wilson, who was charged with five runs (four earned) on seven hits with two strikeouts over six-plus innings, was replaced in the circle by freshman Rachel Rodriguez, who gave up singles to Brandi Heimburg and Franc to load the bases with none out.
Jasmine Casados hit a grounder into the hole between third and short that was stopped by shortstop Sara Ketelsleger, who, with no chance at Casados at first, misfired to third in an attempt to force Heimburg with the errant throw allowing the Lobo baserunner to score the tying run.
Rodriguez struck out Karissa Haleman after walking Mariah Rimmer to load the bases, but Johnson lifted a deep fly to Ariel Frantz in center, too deep for Frantz to make a play as Franc tagged up for the win.
Rodriguez took the loss, falling to 5-19 on the season as she gave up two runs on three hits over two-thirds of an inning.
The Lobos were led by three-hit games from Heimburg and Casados, with Casados adding an RBI. Johnson went 1-for-3 and drove in a game-high three runs.
The loss spoiled what would have been a momentum-building comeback win for the Broncos, who overcame a pair of late deficits. Trailing 3-1 in the fifth, Boise State got a two-out, two-run triple from Lindsey Nicholson, her second of the season, to pull even.
After New Mexico scored on an error by Ketelsleger in the bottom half of the fifth, the Broncos responded in its half of the sixth by capitalizing on a two-out error by New Mexico first baseman Karissa Haleman to post three runs.
Hailey Torrez opened that Bronco sixth with a walk off of Krissy Fortner, who relieved Lobo starter Carrie Sheehan at the top of the frame.
Kayla Clausen singled to center, but Fortner got Teauna Hughes and Jordan Kreiger each to foul out, bringing up Ketelsleger. The Bronco freshman grounded to first, where Haleman couldn't come up with the ball, which squirted into shallow right field, allowing pinch-runner Kaelie Doyle to score the tying run as Clausen and Ketelsleger each moved up a bag.
Devon Bridges then wasted little time going after a Fortner offering, bouncing one up the middle to plate Clausen and Ketelsleger to make it 6-4.
Bridges and Nicholson each drove in a pair of runs to lead Boise State Friday, with Nicholson pacing the Broncos with two hits.
Fortner, however, would finish the sixth and pitch a scoreless seventh to pick up the win and improve to 9-5 on the season. All three runs she gave up were unearned while she also allowed three hits.
Sheehan gave up three runs (two earned) on five hits with five strikeouts over five innings. She gave up the first run of the game in the second, issuing a bases-loaded walk to Hughes that brought in Nicholson.
New Mexico would score the next three runs of the game, tying it up in the third on a wild play. With Erickson on second and Heimburg on first and one out, Franc grounded to Kreiger at second, who made the play at first. Hughes, following the putout, chased down Heimburg, who had hung back towards first to avoid a tag from Kreiger, starting a rundown that put her out. But the rundown lasted long enough to allow Erickson to score from second.
Johnson would drive in Rimmer and Casados with a one-out hit into center in the fourth to put the Lobos up 3-1.
Boise State will try and even the series Saturday as the teams meet at 1 p.m.
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