LAS VEGAS, Nev.—The New Mexico State softball team split its two games on the first day of the Eller Media Stadium Classic on Friday, Feb. 28. The Aggies fell to Weber State 5-3, but defeated Seton Hall 14-5. The games brought NM State’s record to 11-6.
The Aggies had trouble with the bats in the first game, but found their rhythm in the second game, ending with 16 hits, 14 of those coming in the second game. The team also set the new school record for homeruns in a game when they hit seven against Seton Hall. The previous record was at four, which was matched in 2013.
Junior Staci Rodriguez ended the day going 2-for-5 with her two hits being homeruns against Seton Hall. She also walked three times and was hit by a pitch.
Redshirt sophomore Karysta Donisthorpe had a strong performance against Seton Hall as she pitched the complete five innings and struck out six batters while only allowing two earned runs, improving her record to 4-2.
Errors plagued the Aggies through both games as they committed nine errors on the day. Five Aggie errors riddled the Weber State game and four against Seton Hall.
“I really liked the way we bounced back in the second game,” head coach Kathy Rodolph said. “We attacked more offensively but in order to get where we’re trying to go we need to tighten up the defensive side. Whenever you have nine errors in a day, it’s bad news.”
The Aggies started out the game against Weber State well as sophomore Fiana Finau hit a two-run homerun in the bottom of the first to open up the scoring.
Senior Celisha Walker went the distance for the Aggies in game one. She struck out three batters and allowed only two earned runs.
A two-run homerun by Weber State in the third tied the game up early on. Neither team was able to score any runs in the fourth but Weber State was able to score two runs on an error by the Aggies in the top of the fifth inning.
Heading into the bottom of the sixth the Aggies had only one hit but had drawn seven walks. They had, however, four errors on the day.
The Aggies continued the fight until the end of the game as Malena Padilla came in to pinch hit for the Aggies in the bottom of the seventh inning and was able to crush a homerun over the scoreboard. It was not enough though as Nm State fell in the first game of the tournament 5-3 to Weber State.
The Aggies took on Seton Hall in the second game of the day. From the beginning NM State made sure that this game would go differently as Rodriguez started the game off with a bang for the Aggies as she launched a solo homerun in the top of the first to give NM State the early lead.
Junior Kelsey Dodd continued the strong hitting effort with her own homerun in the second inning. The Aggies had racked up four hits by the end of the second inning.
Rodriguez was able to duplicate her efforts from the first inning and hit another homerun over the right-center wall to give the Aggies a 3-0 lead in the third inning.
Sophomore Tatum Reedy joined in on the hitting when she hit a two-run homerun to centerfield that brought the Aggies’ lead to 7-0 in the third inning.
In the fourth inning Finau was able to put the game even further out of reach when she hit a three-run homerun. She was followed by junior Lacey Rother, who hit a bomb right after Finau to extend the lead to 11-0 in the fourth inning.
Heading into the fifth, NM State had a 14-0 lead, but some timely hitting along with several errors allowed Seton Hall to bring five runners across the plate. The Aggies regrouped and got the final out of the game, earning the 14-5 win in five innings.
NM State will be back in action on Saturday, March 1, when they take on Binghamton and UNLV. The first game is set to start at 4:45 p.m.