RUSON, La. – The New Mexico State softball team picked up a 3-0 win over the No. 3 seed Lady Techsters of Louisiana Tech on Thursday afternoon to advance to semifinals of the 2013 Western Athletic Conference Tournament. The No. 2 seeded Aggies are set to face the No. 1 seed San Jose State Spartans on Friday, May 10, at 1 p.m.
The Aggies finished the day with 10 hits and three runs. Three of those hits came off the bat of senior Amber Olive, who went 3-for-4 on the day with one RBI. Sophomore Kelsey Dodd went 3-for-3 on the win with a walk.
Senior hurler Alex Newman pitched her 16th complete game of the season for shutout No. 6 this year. She recorded two strikeouts and allowed just three hits.
“I thought Alex (Newman) did a great job at being herself and staying composed in the circle for us,” head coach Kathy Rodolph said. “I am proud of the way everyone played and Amber (Olive) broke things open for us early in the game. Our defense also did a great job keeping runners off base and the two double plays were key for us.”
La Tech got the first hit of the day from the lead-off hitter, but a double play by senior Tehani Kaaihue and Dodd got the first two outs. Newman threw her first strikeout of the day to end the inning.
NM State came up in their half of the inning with a lead-off single by Olive and a sacrifice bunt moved her into scoring position. A single by sophomore and WAC Player of the Year Staci Rodriguez was enough to move Olive over to third and herself to second on the play. Kelsey Dodd walked the bases full of Aggies, but a fly out and a ground out to first left all three Aggies stranded.
NM State was able to get on the board in the bottom of the second after sending Tech away in order. Alyssa Ruiz walked her way on base and a stand-up double by freshman Emma Adams moved both runners into scoring position.
Going back to the top of the order, Olive put the ball in play on the infield and took the out at first in order to drive in the run from third.
The Aggies sent Tech away in order once again in the top of the third and came up with a single to left center by Dodd and an infield single by Teresa Conrad. The Next two Aggies walked, but not before Conrad was picked off at second on a steal attempt.
That did not halt the Aggies as a single up the middle by Ruiz plated the second run of the game for NM State.
Newman and the Aggie defense put La Tech away in order in the fourth as well and then the NM State offense came up to quickly load the bases for the third inning. A single by Olive and the second sacrifice bunt by Kristi Covarrubia moved the runner to second. Rodriguez walked her way on base and Dodd loaded the bases on a single to the right side.
The Aggies plated the third run of the day after Malena Padilla was hit by a pitch and claimed the RBI. With the bases still loaded, a shallow fly out to right field was taken by the La Tech right fielder with a diving catch to end the inning.
The Lady Techsters were able to get a double in the top half of the fifth, but NM State left the runner stranded as the next three batters were retired in order.
Olive hit her third single of the day with a bunt up the left side, but then NM State went down in order just as the Techsters did in the top of the inning.
NM State held La Tech off the bases in the sixth and NM State came up with a standing double by Dodd. She was advanced over to third by a fly out to right by Conrad. She was stranded out there on a grounder to shortstop by Padilla to end the inning.
In the top half of the seventh, the Lady Techsters got a one-out single with a chop hit in between third base and the pitcher, but the Aggies turned the second double play of the game to gets outs at second and first to end the game and take the win.
NM State advances to the semifinal round of the tournament to face San Jose State on Friday, May 10, at 2 p.m., at the Lady Techsters Softball Complex. During the regular season, SJSU swept the Aggies to claim the regular season title. NM State will be the home team during the semifinals game.