ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (March 19) - In the final game of the Rio Grande Rivalry Series, the New Mexico State softball team worked for a 2-0 win over the New Mexico Lobos on Tuesday, March 19. The Aggies take the rivalry series 2-1 and move to 16-12 on the season.
The Aggies picked up two runs off five hits and held the Lobos to just three hits on the day. In the circle, junior Celisha Walker went 2.2 innings without allowing a hit. She had just one walk before senior Alex Newman came in to close out the game and pick up her eighth win of the season. She worked 4.1 innings and allowed three hits with one strikeout.
"It is really nice to get a rivalry game on the road," head coach Kathy Rodolph said. "The win is a great way to kick off conference play for us. I thought we did a great job of putting the ball in play with runners in scoring position. We played well on defense and I think this is great for our momentum going into the weekend."
Senior Amber Olive led things off with a double through the left side. The Lobos then walked the next three Aggies to plate Olive's run and give NM State a 1-0 lead in the top of the first. A double play at third by the Lobos put NM State out on defense for three straight outs in the bottom of the first.
Both teams went down in order in the next inning and the Aggies were without a hit in the top of the third. In the top of the third, Newman came into the circle for Walker after she walked her first batter of the day.
In the top of the fourth, Staci Rodriguez singled to left, but was left on base as the next two Aggies went down on groundouts to second. Newman and the Aggie defense came up for three straight outs in the bottom half of the inning to bring Alyssa Ruiz to the plate in the top of the fifth.
As Ruiz singled up the middle, Chelsea Dohrwardt came in as a pinch runner and moved into scoring position on a passed ball by the Lobo catcher. A sacrifice bunt by Emma Adams moved Dorhwardt to third before a single up the left side by Kristi Covarrubia plated the second run of the game for NM State.
It took until the bottom of the fifth for the Lobos to get a hit on the Aggies. A double through the middle by shortstop Jordyn Bledsoe gave the Lobos a scoring chance as an Aggie error put a runner at first as well. Newman was able to get the third out off a strikeout to end the inning and leave runners at first and third.
With one out in the home half of the sixth, UNM picked up a single that sank into shallow center, but the next two outs came before the runner could advance.
Malena Padilla led off the top of the seventh for the Aggies with a double to right center than rolled back to the wall before the Lobo defense could get hold of it. She was left stranded as the next three Aggies went down with a strikeout, fly out and a groundout hit to the pitcher.
The Lobos made an attempt with a single through the middle in the bottom of the seventh, but three fly outs to center and left field closed the game with the Aggies taking the 2-0 win and claiming the series over the Lobos.
The Aggies now look to open conference play against Louisiana Tech March 23-24. The conference opener is set for Friday, March 23 at 6 p.m., with a doubleheader set for March 24 beginning at 4 p.m.