The Aggies (21-15) dig into conference play and head out to meet Kansas City April 4-5. NM State looks to extend on the four-game winning streak meet and the Roos meet for a doubleheader on Friday, April 4 beginning at 1 p.m. The series closes out at 11 a.m. on Saturday.
Live Stats: www.NMStateSports.com (click on Audio/Video link)
NM State gets back to Las Cruces to conclude the home portion of the 2014 schedule with a three-game WAC series against Bakersfield. The Aggies host the Roadrunners for a single game at 6 p.m. on Friday, April 11. NM State concludes the home weekend with a doubleheader on Saturday, April 12 beginning at 4 p.m. The three Aggie seniors, Alyssa Ruiz, Celisha Walker and Kristi Covarrubia, will be honored after the conclusion of the weekend’s final game on Saturday.
NM State went 4-0 over the past week with a three-game sweep to open WAC play against Seattle U. To start off the week, the Aggies run-ruled cross-border rival UTEP 14-3 in five innings. The team then opened league play with three wins over the WAC’s preseason No. 2 selection Seattle U. NM State won the first game 6-1 then came back to sweep the doubleheader and close out the weekend 9-3 and 10-2.
About the Aggies
NM State moved to 21-15 on the season after going 3-0 on the weekend against Seattle U to open WAC play. The Aggies finished the weekend after a 10-2 run-rule, which was the second time they forced a run-rule in the week the first being against I-10 rival UTEP. The team is led at the plate by junior Staci Rodriguez with a .432 batting average and 11 homeruns. She is tied in the top 10 for home runs this season with fellow hard hitter Fiana Finau who moved to 11 home runs during the second game against Seattle U. The duo combines for 65 RBI this year. Rodriguez is ninth in the nation with a .863 slugging percentage and Finau is slugging .733 so far this year. Rodriguez had reach base in her last 33 at-bats and has seen eight games with multiple RBI just under Finau who has seen 10.
In the circle, senior Celisha Walker leads the Aggies with a 3.67 ERA this season. The team is hurling 3.99 combined with redshirt Karysta Donisthorpe pitching 80.0 of the teams innings. She is leading the Aggies with 71 K’s this season and is holding her opponents to a .260 batting average. Walker has become the closer for the team, pitching 74.1 innings and striking out 47. She has tallied two saves and one shutout this year.
Aggies in the WAC
Leading the conference the highest record percentage at .583 this season, NM State is leading in a large majority of the hitting categories this season including batting average as the Aggies are hitting .311. The team has 462 total bases and is slugging .501 as a whole, which leads the league. The Aggies also have the best team ERA (3.99) but are just behind GCU in fielding percentage (.952). The Aggies surpassed the Lopes in hits however with 287 on the year.
Individually, the Aggies are seeing Staci Rodriguez lead in a slew of categories, including batting average (.432), on-base percentage (.549) and RBI (33). Rodriguez is tied with fellow hitter Fiana Finau at 11 homeruns. Finau is second on several of the hitting lists that Rodriguez leads. Senior Celisha Walker is fourth in the WAC with her 3.67 ERA followed by sophomore Makayla McAdams at a 3.72 ERA.
NM State in the Nation (as of 3/30/14)
Hitting duo Fiana Finau and Staci Rodriguez have made their way onto the nation’s leaderboard in four different categories this season. The pair is top 20 in homeruns both ranked at 15th in the nation. Rodriguez is top 50 for batting average (40th), runs per game (28th) and slugging percentage (9th).
As a team, the Aggies are sitting in the top 50 in more than three categories. They are currently ranked 19th nationally in home runs per game out of 289 ranked teams. NM State is also 20th in the nation with its .502 slugging percentage. The Aggies .312 batting average places them as 33rd in the ranks.
About Kansas City
The Kansas City Roos are currently sitting at 11-25 with a 3-5 home record. Junior Cinda Ramos leads the team with a .364 batting average and 16 RBI. She records a .509 slugging percentage with 56 total bases and 110 at bats. Ramos also contributes a 3.91 ERA after pitching 87.2 innings for Kansas City, just under sophomore Katie Kelley who puts up a 3.57 ERA. Kelley has pitch 102 innings for the Roos on the season, recording 69 strikeouts putting her opponents at a .275 batting average.
Kansas City in the WAC
Kansas City is currently 1-2 in Western Athletic Conference play. The Roos beat Grand Canyon in the last game of the three game series 4-2 on Saturday, March 28, to give them their first win in their conference season.
The team is led by junior Cinda Ramos with a .538 batting average with seven hits and one RBI so far. Katie Kelley leads with a 1.14 ERA pitching 12.1 innings for the Roos. In WAC play, Kelley has allowed two earned runs in 14 hits giving her opponents a .259 batting average.
NM State has met with Kansas City five times before beginning the 2014 season. With a 5-0 record, the last time the two teams met was in 2013 as the Aggies defeated the Roos 10-1 after forcing a run rule in the fifth inning on Feb. 15, 2013.
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.
NM State Sweeps WAC Hitter/Pitcher Awards
NM State’s Alyssa Ruiz and Karysta Donisthorpe have been named the Western Athletic Conference Hitter and Pitcher of the Week, respectively, for March 24-30. This is the first-ever honor for both.
Ruiz, a senior catcher from Temecula, Calif., finished the week with a .667 batting average, an astounding 1.667 slugging percentage and a .667 on-base percentage as the Aggies went 4-0 on the week. Five of her six hits on the week were extra base hits, as she posted three doubles, two home runs and six RBI, with two hits in each of her three games on the week.
Donisthorpe, a redshirt sophomore from Farmington, N.M., went 3-0 in her three appearances last week. She combined for 11 strikeouts in 11.1 innings of work and tossed a one-hitter in a 10-2 win over Seattle U to sweep the league-opening series. Donisthorpe had seven strikeouts in that game, one shy of her season best. She allowed just six runs on the week while facing 49 batters and holding her opposition to a .190 batting average.
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 four walk-off wins this season. The most recent was in the final game of the WAC-opening weekend against Seattle U (3/29) when Brennalyn Nakamura hit a double to bring up Lacey Rother who hit a double to score Nakamura and end the game in a 10-2 win in six innings.
Another Aggie walk-off came 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.
Home Run Record Falls
In its 14-5 five-inning win over Seton Hall on Feb. 28, NM State hit a school record seven home runs. Fiana Finau and Staci Rodriguez hit a pair of home runs apiece, while Lacey Rother, Kelsey Dodd and Tatum Reedy added one homer each. It was the fourth time this season the Aggies had 10 or more RBI in a game.
WAC Hitter/Pitcher of the Week
The Aggies have claimed the five WAC Hitter of the Week honors this season along with two 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. Most recently (3/31) senior Alyssa Ruiz was the hitter of mention and Karysta Donisthorpe took the pitching honors.
(March 24-30) Ruiz finished the week with a .667 batting average, an astounding 1.667 slugging percentage and a .667 on-base percentage as the Aggies went 4-0 on the week. Five of her six hits on the week were extra base hits, as she posted three doubles, two home runs and six RBI, with two hits in each of her three games on the week.
(March 24-30) Donisthorpe went 3-0 in her three appearances last week. She combined for 11 strikeouts in 11.1 innings of work and tossed a one-hitter in a 10-2 win over Seattle U to sweep the league-opening series. Donisthorpe had seven strikeouts in that game, one shy of her season best. She allowed just six runs on the week while facing 49 batters and holding her opposition to a .190 batting average.
(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.
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.