NM State will square off against I-25 rival, New Mexico on March 19 at 5:30 p.m. at the NM State Softball Complex. The Lobos have an overall record of 8-18 on the season while the Aggies are 17-14. In three meetings last year, the Aggies came away victorious twice, holding the Lobos to zero runs in the two wins combined.
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The Aggies finish up with the non-conference schedule and settle into WAC play in the same week. NM State welcomes cross-border rival UTEP for the final of a three-game series on Tuesday, March 25 at 6 p.m. at the NM State Softball Complex. The Aggies then open conference play against Seattle U on Friday, March 28 with a single game at 6 p.m. The league series concludes with a doubleheader on Saturday with the first pitch set for 4 p.m.
About the Aggies
NM State is 17-14 on the season and trying to break a three-game slump while getting back to the NM State Softball Complex for the first time in 21 games. Junior Staci Rodriguez leads the team with a .423 batting average and 30 RBI. While smashing nine home runs, including two grand slams, it is sophomore Fiana Fianu that leads the Aggies with 10 homers this year. The first-year Aggie player had settled into the designated player position with a .341 batting average and 25 RBI of her own.
In the circle, the NM State pitching staff holds a 4.23 ERA, while sophomore Makayla McAdams leads things with a 3.87 ERA. She has pitched 59.2 innings with one shutout, good for a 6-2 record. Hurling the most complete game for NM State is redshirt sophomore Karysta Donisthorpe, who has tossed 65.2 innings and worked five complete games for the Aggies. The right-hand pitcher holds a 4.26 ERA and leads the staff with 58 strikeouts.
Aggies in the WAC
Leading all WAC team with a 17-14 overall record, the Aggies are backing up there league leading offense with some impressive work in the circle.
With a team batting average of .294, the Aggies sit atop the WAC in almost all offensive categories, scoring 153 runs with 233 hits and 34 home runs. Leading the league with 34 homers, NM State is averaging 1.10 home runs a game, with the next closest opponent (Seattle U) only averaging 0.67 homers a game.
With 4.29 RBIs a game, the Aggies offense has been explosive this year lead by the bats of Staci Rodriguez and Fiana Finau. With Finau averaging a WAC best .33 home runs a game and Rodriguez right on her heels averaging .31 home runs a game, the two also lead the WAC in RBIs, with Rodriguez hitting 30 and Finau hitting 25 this season.
NM State’s defense has come up big this season, with sophomore Makayla McAdams holding the opponents to just a .260 batting average, which is third in the conference. The team has fielded 14 double plays this year and the pitching staff has struck out 121 batters, which leads the league.
With a 17-14 record this season, the Aggies wrapped a 21-game road stretch with a 2-3 record at the Fresno State Classic last weekend. The team opened the weekend with wins over Saint Mary’s and Pacific on Friday before falling in the final three games of the weekend. Sophomore Brennalyn Nakamura led the team with eight hits and four runs of her own to hit .444 on the weekend. She also had two RBI. Redshirt sophomore Karysta Donisthorpe led the team in the circle with a 1.68 ERA while going 1-2. She pitched 16 strikeouts in her 16.2 innings over the weekend and allowed just four runs.
About the Lobos
New Mexico is 8-18 this season and 0-4 on the road. The Lobos are led at the plate by Shelby Franc with a .345 batting average, but Chelsea Anaya leads the team with 27 hits and 15 runs. The team is hitting .279 this season, while allowing opponents to hit .358.
Defensively, the Lobos have a 6.79 ERA between the four pitchers as Lauren Soles leads things with a 4.08 ERA. Although she has the lowest earned run average on the team, Carrie Sheehan has pitched a majority of the innings (65.0) and has a 3-7 record this year while throwing 36 strikeouts.
UNM vs. NM State
The Aggies and the Lobos have met 138 times in program history. With a 59-79 record going into the mid-week game, NM State went 2-1 against New Mexico in 2103. The aggies have won five of the last seven meetings, including an 8-6 win over the Lobos when they were ranked No. 23 in 2012.
Rodolph’s Road to 300
In the midst of her 11th season as head coach for the New Mexico State softball team, Kathy Rodolph clinched her 300th career victory as the Aggies head coach in an 11-2 win over Incarnate Word on Saturday, Feb. 22. She entered the 2014 season with a record of 291-281 all-time at NM State.
Mission 500: Complete
Rodolph secured her 500th career win as a collegiate head coach. She reached 300 wins as the Aggies head coach just one week before reaching the milestone of 500. The win came in a 5-4 come-from-behind victory over UNLV at the Eller Media Stadium Classic on March 1.
WAC Hitter/Pitcher of the Week
The Aggies have claimed the four WAC Hitter of the Week honors this season in as many weeks along with one Pitcher of the week nod. Fiana Finau, and Lacey Rother have each earned the hitting accolade and staci Rodriguez claimed it twice, while Celisha Walker picked up the pitching honor.
(Feb. 24-March 2) Rodriguez hit .700 with five home runs, 10 RBI, nine runs scored and a stolen base at the Eller Media Stadium Classic last week. She posted an impressive 2.200 slugging percentage with two home runs, including her second grand slam of the season.
(Feb. 17-23) Finau hit .545 with six RBI, four runs scored, two doubles and two home runs as the Aggies went 5-0 at the UTEP Invitational last week. She had a hit in each of her four games and posted a 1.273 slugging percentage and helped NM State defeat HBU with two home runs. She closed out the weekend with a pair of doubles in a six-inning win over Incarnate Word on Sunday.
(Feb. 17-23) Walker went 1-0 in two appearances, allowing just two hits and no runs while throwing three strikeouts in nine innings of work. She threw three hitless innings in relief for an 8-3 win over Houston Baptist on Friday. On Sunday, she earned a complete-game win, allowing just two hits over six innings while striking out two in the 8-0 run-rule win over Incarnate Word. She ended the week with a 0.00 ERA and held opponents to a .074 batting average.
(Feb. 10-16) Junior Staci Rodriguez .claimed the hitting honor for the week of Feb. 10-16 by hitting .333 with five RBI, three runs scored and two home runs at the Troy Cox Classic. In a game against Northern Colorado, the Aggies trailed 3-0 in the bottom of the seventh when she hit a walk-off grand slam to give New Mexico State a 4-3 victory. Rodriguez added another solo home run in a 5-4 win over Iowa State.
(Feb. 3-9) Junior Lacey Rother was named Hitter of the Week after opening week (Feb. 3-9) with two home runs on the weekend, including a game-winning grand slam against cross-border rival UTEP, helping the Aggies to an 8-6 win. She finished the weekend hitting .385 with three runs and five RBI while slugging .846.
NM State has hit three 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. Junior centerfielder Staci Rodriguez hit a walk-off grand slam to pull off a 4-3 win over Northern Colorado on Feb. 15 and then came up with another in the 13-3 win over Binghamton on March 1.
The Aggies have had three walk-off wins this season. The most recent was in the 4-3 win over UT Arlington (3/9) when Rodriguez hit a two-run bomb to immediately end the game in the bottom of the seventh. The first two of the season were in back-to-back games during the second week of the 2014 season. Rodriguez hit her first grand slam of the season to end the game with a 4-3 win over Northern Colorado. The other was in the 5-4 win over Iowa State with an RBI single to stop play.
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.