LAS CRUCES, N.M. (March 30) - The New Mexico State softball team fell 9-1 to No. 18/16 Hawai'i in five innings Friday at the NM State Softball Complex.
No. 18/16 Hawai'i (27-3, 3-1 WAC) scored four early runs to build its lead but a five-run fourth inning broke open the contest and yield a 9-0 advantage. NM State (18-17, 0-4) answered with a run on two hits in the bottom of the fourth.
Freshman Karysta Donisthorpe started for the Aggies while senior Stephanie Ricketts pitched for the Rainbow Wahine. NM State had trouble solving Ricketts as the visiting hurler struck out nine of the 19 Aggie batters she faced.
A game-opening UH walk led to the game's first score. After a wild pitch and a two-out single, the Rainbow Wahine had runners on the corners. A stolen base attempt led to an errant throw by the Aggies to allow the first run of the game to score. Donisthorpe dealt a strikeout to get out of the inning, down 1-0.
The Rainbow Wahine extended their lead to 4-0 in the top of the second. After a batter was hit by pitch, a one-out double drove in a run to make it 2-0. A two-out, two-run home run increased the UH lead to four runs after two innings.
UH broke open the game with a five runs in the top of the fourth. After a leadoff infield single and a one-out walk, NM State made a pitching change to bring in junior Alex Newman.
In the next at-bat Hawai'i knocked in a run on an RBI single to move ahead 5-0. A throw to home during the play put two runners in scoring position. The Aggies recorded the second out of the inning in the next at-bat. But an Aggie error allowed a run to score to put UH up 6-0. Another UH two-out homer brought in three unearned runs for a 9-0 Rainbow Wahine lead.
NM State picked up its first hit and run of the game in the bottom of the inning. Sophomore Valerie Swedberg connected on a single to right field with one out on the board. Senior Brittany Clifton batted in Swedberg with a two-out double to left center field to give the Aggies their first run of the game at 9-1.
Both teams went out in order in the fifth inning as UH claimed the victory.
Donisthorpe took the loss to drop to 5-5 this season while Ricketts improved to 17-2 on the year.
The Aggies and Rainbow Wahine will conclude the three-game series with a doubleheader on Saturday, March 31 slated to begin at 4 p.m.
For all of the latest Aggie softball news, click NMStateSports.com.