The Aggies continue at home but open Western Athletic Conference play against Seattle U on Friday, March 28 at 6 p.m. The Redhawks and the Aggies then finish the three-game series on Saturday with a doubleheader beginning at 4 p.m.
Live Stats: www.NMStateSports.com (click on Audio/Video link)
Live Video: ESPN3.com (Saturday, game one only)
The Aggies dig into conference play and head out to meet Kansas City April 4-5. NM State and the Roos meet for a doubleheader on Friday, April 4 beginning at 1 p.m. and close out the three-game series at 11 a.m. on Saturday.
NM State shook off the four-game losing streak with a 14-3 win over cross-border rival UTEP on Tuesday, March 25, to improve the season record to 18-15. The run-rule game won the series against the Miners and included the 11th home run of the season for junior and reigning WAC Player of the Year Staci Rodriguez. NM State had 10 hits on the game and saw junior Fiana Finau hit two doubles for three RBI.
About the Aggies
NM State (18-15) opens WAC play after a 14-3 run-rule victory over the I-10 rival UTEP Miners earlier in the week. The Aggies had an eight-game winning streak earlier in the season but are most recently off a four-game losing skid. The team is led at the plate by junior Staci Rodriguez with a .435 batting average and 11 home runs. She is tied in the top 10 for home runs this season with fellow hard hitter Fiana Finau close behind with 10 home runs. The duo combines for 61 RBI this year. Rodriguez is eight in the nation with a .918 slugging percentage and Finau is slugging .713 so far this year. Rodriguez has reached base in her last 30 at-bats and has seen five games with multiple RBI.
In the circle, sophomore Makayla McAdams leads the Aggies with a 3.80 ERA this season. The team is hurling 4.19 combined with redshirt sophomore Karysta Donisthorpe pitching 71.2 of the teams innings. She is leading the Aggies with 62 K’s this season and is holding her opponents to a .276 batting average. Senior Celisha Walker has become the closer for the team, pitching 68.2 innings and striking out 42. She had five strikeouts in the loss to New Mexico on March 19 and has tallied two saves and one shutout this year.
Aggies in the WAC
Leading the conference with the only record above .500 this season, NM State is leading in a large majority of the hitting categories this season including batting average as the Aggies are hitting .300. The team has 405 total bases and is slugging .481 as a whole, which leads the league. The Aggies also have the best team ERA (4.19) but are just behind GCU in fielding percentage (.951) while tying for first with the Lopes with 253 hits on the year.
Individually, the Aggies are seeing Staci Rodriguez lead in a slew of categories, including home runs (11), batting average (.435), on-base percentage (555.) and RBI (33). Sophomore Makayla McAdams is fourth in the WAC with her 3.80 ERA and sophomore Fiana Finau is second on several of the hitting lists that Rodriguez leads.
NM State in the Nation (as of 3/23/14)
Hitting duo Fiana Finau and Staci Rodriguez have made their way onto the nation’s leaderboard in six different categories this season. The pair is in the top 25 for home runs and home runs her game. Rodriguez is in the top 50 for on-base percentage, RBI per game and is 57th with her batting average. She is ranked eighth in the country with a .890 slugging percentage also.
About Seattle U
Starting their first 30 games on the road, the Redhawks have played just one home game, a 7-0 win over Northwest University, before trekking back out on the road to open league play. SU (11-20) was on a nine-game losing streak before its home win on Monday,
The Redhawks were selected to finish second in the WAC preseason poll and is currently sitting third behind GCU. This season, Isabella Geronimo leads the team with a .396 batting average and 38 hits. It’s Bubba Morrow that is best with the big hits, tallying seven home runs and 62 total bases with 28 RBI. Morrow is slugging .596 this season and has helped out with 37 assists from behind the plate.
Seattle U vs. NM State
The Aggies and the Redhawks have met just three times in program history which dates back just to SU’s first season in the WAC in 2013. NM State took each of those three meetings with a run-rule 8-0 win in the first game of the series. The Aggies then came back to sweep the doubleheader, which included a walk-off home run by departed senior Teresa Conrad in the final game of the weekend.
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.