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Lobos Run-Rule Thunderbirds Behind One-Hit Gem by Guindon, Home Runs

TUCSON, Ariz.— The Lobo softball team put together a nearly perfect game with Emma Guindon recording a career-high 11 strikeouts and allowing just one hit and the Lobo bats coming alive for two home runs, seven hits and eight runs in an 8-0 six-inning, run-rule victory over Southern Utah on Saturday.

Designated as the home team, Guindon and the Lobo defense was solid from the start with two strikeouts and a foul out to Emma Bramson at third for the 1-2-3 inning. At the plate, New Mexico needed just three at-bats to take the early lead, with Andrea Howard hitting a solo home run over the wall in center for her first home run of the season and UNM’s first of the season.

The Lobo defense again stepped up in the third inning, as after the Thunderbirds had their leadoff hitter reach base on a fielding error and reached second on a stolen base, Taryn Young erased the threat on a throw home to Janae Cameron, who easily made the tag to preserve the 1-0 lead. The hit to right proved to be the only hit SUU had all game.

In the bottom half of the inning, the top of the lineup for New Mexico expanded the lead on a two-out, two-run home run to left by Cameron, the catcher’s first hit as a Lobo.

With a 3-0 lead, Guindon was efficient in the circle, retiring the side on three strikeouts (two looking). UNM plated another run in the fourth, capitalizing on a Reyan Tuck double, a walk by Young, a Leslie Romero single that loaded the bases and a four-pitch walk to Ashley Archuleta to bring in a run.

Much like the fourth inning, Guindon sat down the SUU hitters in order on three strikeouts, giving the right-hander 10 strikeouts in the game.

While Guindon kept Southern Utah off the board, the Lobos kept adding to the lead in their half of the inning, adding three more runs in the fifth, all with two outs. Bramson was the first Lobo to reach base, on a full-count walk, and back-to-back fielding errors by SUU again loaded the bases. Romero brought the first run across on a single up the middle to turn the lineup over, and Archuleta singled to right field to score two more to make it 7-0.

After Guindon recorded another strikeout to lead off the sixth inning, New Mexico brought in Brianna Sanchez in the circle, but faced just one batter. With Guindon back in the circle and two runners on, the Lobos got out of the inning on an infield fly to Briana Martinez at shortstop and a pop-out to Archuleta at second.

UNM put the finishing touches on the game in the bottom of the sixth, with Howard drawing a walk on a full count to start the home half. Freshman Aysiah Gonzalez, pinch hitting for Cameron, hit a ball to third, with the Thunderbird infielder trying to get Howard at second but overthrew the ball to right field, allowing Howard to score from second to end the game.

In the first two games of the season, the Lobo pitchers have struck out 21 batters while walking just two, and the Lobos have outscored their opponents 11-2. Further, against SUU, of Guindon’s 83 pitches, 58 went for strikes, and of Amber Linton’s 137 pitches on Friday, 89 went for strikes with 10 strikeouts.

While it is the fourth time in the last nine years that a Lobo pitcher has recorded 10 or more strikeouts in a game, the previous two instances came in separate years, making it the first time in at least the last nine years that the Lobos have had multiple games with a pitcher with double-digit strikeouts, a feat they achieved in the first two games of the season.

The Lobos (2-0) return to the field for two games on Sunday, taking on two-ranked opponents in No. 2 Alabama at 11:30 a.m. followed by No. 9 Arizona at 2 p.m. to close the Candrea Classic. The Alabama game will be streamed on FloSoftball with the Arizona game on Pac-12 Network.