LAS CRUCES, N.M. – Notching its third straight sweep in Western Athletic Conference play, the New Mexico State softball team worked for a 7-1 win over UTSA on Saturday afternoon, April 13, and came back in game two for a late-inning home run by sophomore Staci Rodriguez to beat the Roadrunners 3-2. NM State improves to 30-14 this season and 11-1 in WAC play with the wins.
Freshman catcher Tatum Reedy finished the day going 2-for-3 with one run of her own and two RBI. She hit her first home run as an Aggie in game one, helping the Aggies to the 7-1 win. While going 3-for-6 on the day, Rodriguez lifted NM State to the win in game two with two RBI and seven total bases.
“I have to tip my hat to UTSA, they came out fighting and really made us battle,” head coach Kathy Rodolph said. “I think we had some good contributions at key moments in the game and I thought Alex (Newman) and Celisha (Walker) both pitched well for us. I knew coming into today that it was going to be a challenge and I think that those are the games that are making us better.”
Newman worked seven complete innings between the two games and allowed just one run. Walker went 6.2 innings in the circle with two earned runs and two strikeouts. Neither pitcher allowed a walk through the two games.
UTSA finished the day with six hits in game one and 10 in game two. The Aggies were able to hold the Roadrunners to just three runs on the day and leave 11 runners stranded.
Scoreless through the first two innings, The Aggies had three hits in the bottom half of the second inning as senior Tehani Kaaihue, Reedy and redshirt freshman Ayssa Vargas each singled, but left the bases loaded.
Vargas came up with the big hit in the bottom of the third with a two-run single through the middle after Kelsey Dodd and Malena Padilla each got a base hit and Kaaihue was hit by a pitch to load the bases. A walk by Reedy loaded the bases once again, but a two-out pop up by Adams left the bases loaded for the second inning by NM State.
The Roadrunners answered back with their lead-off hitter of the inning hitting a first-pitch rocket over the center field wall to get on the board in the top half of the fourth.
That did not stop NM State as a double to left center by Rodriguez plated two more Aggie runs. Seniors Amber Olive and Teresa Conrad singled their way on base. Rodriguez eventually was brought around the bases and brought across the plate on a wild pitch by UTSA’s Alyssa Vordenbaum.
In the bottom half of the fifth, Kaaihue singled her way on base and worked her way to third on a passed ball by the Roadrunners’ catcher and advanced to third on a strikeout. Reedy came up with her first collegiate home run with a shot over the left side for two more Aggie runs.
NM State sealed the win in the bottom of the sixth with a sacrifice fly that plated pinch runner Chelsea Dohrwardt. The sophomore stepped on base after Conrad was hit by a pitch and picked up her ninth stolen base of the say to move her way to second.
UTSA got the first couple of hits of game two with one in each of the first two innings. NM State was sent away in order in the bottom half of the first and picked up just one hit in the second.
The Roadrunners plated the first two runs of the game in the top of the third off a single up the middle with runners and second and third and a play at first base.
With a 2-0 lead on the WAC-leading Aggies, Reedy and Adams reached base on a walk and fielder’s choice bunt. Olive walked to load the bases and Padilla came up with her first sacrifice fly of the season, second of the day for NM State, to score Dohrwardt, who was pinch running for Reedy.
With Runners at the corners, Olive and Adams attempted a double steal and Adams moved safely across the plate for the tying run.
The teams were scoreless in the fourth, and UTSA came up in the top of the fifth with two shallow singles. A double play by NM State held the Roadrunners from scoring as the outs came at first and home from the work of the Aggie defense.
In the home half of the inning, the Roadrunners got two straight outs on the Aggies to bring up power hitter Rodriguez. She knocked her 16th home run out of the park to give NM State the 3-2 lead and the win. Her late-inning bomb moves the sophomore closer to the top of the single-season record books as she sits tied with Hoku Nohara’s 2010 total for third in program history.
NM State heads back out on the road to meet the Texas State Bobcats on April 19-20, in San Marcos, Texas. The teams open the series with a doubleheader on Friday at 3 p.m., and close out the weekend with a single game on Saturday at 12 p.m.