LAS CRUCES, N.M. -- After starting the season with 10 home games, NM State sets out on the road for 22 straight, beginning with the UTEP Invitational Feb. 21-13. The Aggies play five games on the weekend starting with Incarnate Word at 10 a.m. and Houston Baptist at 12:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 21. On Saturday, the Aggies meet HBU at 10 a.m. and end the weekend with two more games versus Incarnate Word at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 23.
The Aggies continue at the Helen of Troy Softball Complex at the UTEP Invitational on Feb. 21-22. Making their way to El Paso, Texas for the tournament is Houston Baptist and Incarnate Word.
Feb. 21 Incarnate Word El Paso, Texas 10 a.m.
Feb. 21 Houston Baptist El Paso, Texas 12:30 p.m.
Feb. 22 Houston Baptist El Paso, Texas 10 a.m.
Feb. 22 Incarnate Word El Paso, Texas 12:30 p.m.
Feb. 23 Incarnate Word El Paso, Texas 11 a.m.
The Aggies continue on the road to the Eller Media Stadium Classic in Las Vegas, Nev. on Feb. 28-Mar. 2. NM State plays five games on the weekend starting with Weber State at 10 a.m. and Seton Hall at 12:15 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 28. On Saturday, the Aggies meet Binghampton at 4:45 p.m. and UNLV at 9:15 p.m. They finish off the weekend against DePaul University on Sunday Mar. 2 at 11:15 a.m. The Aggies travel back to face UTEP in El Paso, Texas on Mar. 4 at 6:00 p.m.
Feb. 28 Weber State Las Vegas, Nev. 10 a.m.
Feb. 28 Seton Hall Las Vegas, Nev. 12:15 a.m.
Mar. 1 Binghamton Las Vegas, Nev. 4:45 p.m.
Mar. 1 UNLV Las Vegas, Nev. 9:15 p.m.
Mar. 2 DePaul Las Vegas, Nev. 11:15 a.m.
Mar. 4 UTEP El Paso, Texas 6 p.m.
About the Aggies
NM State opened the season with a 5-5 record, defeating Northern Colorado and Iowa State on the weekend. Devon Thomey leads the team with a .600 batting average and is followed by Emma Adams and Alyssa Ruiz both with a .500 average. Thomey has two RBI and went 6-for-10 and plated one run of her own.
Senior Celisha Walker led in the circle with a 2.92 ERA after 12.0 innings. She made three appearances with six strikeouts and holds her opponent to a .296 batting average.
Incarnate Word is currently 6-1 on the season and is on a three game winning streak. Kellen Robles leads the Cardinals with 10 runs, 11 hits on the season and has started six of the seven games played. Alex Alonzo leads the team with seven RBI and has a batting average of .381. Mikaela Flores leads the Cardinals with an era of 1.20, 18 strikeouts and has allowed only five hits since the season began. Flores is 3-0 on the season.
The Houston Baptist Huskies are currently at 3-6 for the season. The team dropped five in a row during the second weekend in the season. Shay Orsak leads the team with a .469 batting average going 15-32 overall. Kirsten Schwirtlich leads the team with 12 RBI on the season going 13-for-33. In the circle, Emily Mueller leads with a 1.70 ERA allowing a .239 average from the opponent.
WAC Hitter of the Week
Junior outfielder Staci Rodriguez was named WAC Hitter of the Week for the week of Feb. 14-16. The Paramount, Calif. native hit a grand slam during NM State’s game during the Troy Cox Classic on Feb. 15 giving the Aggies a 4-3 win over Northern Colorado. She had two home runs on the weekend and went 5-for-15. She finished the weekend hitting .333 with three runs and five RBI while slugging .800. This is the second week in a row that the Aggies have earned the WAC Hitter of the Week award.
NM State has hit two game-winning grand slams in as many weeks during the 2014 season. Junior catcher Lacey Rother hit the first of the season against I-10 rival UTEP on Feb. 9, lifting NM State to an 8-6 win over the Miners. Just a week later, junior centerfielder Staci Rodriguez hit a walk-off grand slam to pull off a 4-3 win over Northern Colorado on Feb. 15.
Junior outfielder Staci Rodriguez was named to the All-American second team by CollegeSportsMadness.com. This comes just days after she was named Preseason Player of the Year for the Western Athletic Conference by the website. She was the only WAC player named on the four teams.
NM State was selected to finish first in the WAC, while junior Staci Rodriguez and sophomore Emma Adams named to the preseason All-WAC team.
NM State earned 25 points and five first-place votes with Seattle U receiving one vote and 19 points. Utah Valley received 14 points and was picked to finish third in the league, while Bakersfield had 13 points was picked one place behind the Wolverines. Rounding out the league was Kansas City with 10 points and Grand Canyon with nine.
Rodriguez and Adams were selected as part of the preseason All-WAC team, along with 10 other student-athletes from around the conference. Rodriguez was named first team All-WAC and WAC Player of the Year after a successful 2013 season where she finished with 20 home runs and 63 RBI. Adams, a second team All-WAC selection in 2013, was impressive in her freshman season, starting 48 games at third base and leading the team with 129 assists, while hitting .286 with nine doubles and 15 RBI.
Rodriguez earns the accolade after finishing the 2013 season with a WAC-leading 20 home runs and a .357 batting average. She was named WAC Player of the Year, first team all-conference and was an All-Pacific Region selection at the conclusion of her sophomore season. Rodriguez led the Aggies and the league high with 63 RBI and a .780 slugging percentage. She goes into her junior campaign as the WAC’s leading returner for on-base percentage (.437), runs (36), and hits (60) along with batting average, RBI and slugging percentage.
Top Returning Pitcher
The Aggies have a solid returning pitching staff in senior Celisha Walker, redshirt sophomore Karysta Donisthorpe and sophomore Makayla McAdams. Walker pitched to a 4-2 record with two saves in her 83.2 innings at work. McAdams saw 64.1 innings in the circle and collected 23 strikeouts with just two home runs allowed. Donisthorpe pitched 39 innings before an ankle injury ended her season. She managed 47 K’s in her 11 appearances and had 12 (career high) against San Diego (2/24).
NM State in 2013
NM State had an overall 37-20 record last season with an 18-7 league record. The Aggies finished second in the regular season behind San Jose State. NM State’s season was highlighted by 11-straight wins, which was a best in program history. The 11th win came against No. 17 Arizona in a midweek game when the Aggies prevailed with a walk-off home run by freshman Emma Adams.
The Season also saw NM State come back from a 7-3 deficit in the bottom of the seventh against Seattle U with a walk-off home run for three RBI by senior Teresa Conrad.
Senior Amber Olive started 144 career games for the Aggies and led the conference in 2013 in hits (79) and runs (41). Her .393 batting average was second in the conference for 2013, and she recorded 47 RBI, 322 stolen bases and 186 hits in her career. She was a 2013 first team All-WAC selection, NFCA All-Pacific Region selection and was named the National Strength and Conditioning Association All-American Strength and Conditioning Athlete of the Year.
NM State had three first team All-WAC selections (Amber Olive, Alex Newman, Staci Rodriguez) and three second team nods (Emma Adams, Kristi Covarrubia, Malena Padilla). Rodriguez was named WAC Player of the Year and she and Olive were All-Pacific Region selections.