LAS CRUCES, N.M. – The New Mexico State softball team swept Seattle U in dominating fashion on Saturday to take the series and begin Western Athletic Conference play 3-0. The Aggies took game one 9-3 and then came back for a walk-off 10-2 win in the series finale on Saturday, March 29. NM State improves to 21-15 this season with the three wins.
Sophomore Fiana Finau finished the day going 3-for-4 with a home run and two RBI, while junior Lacey Rother smashed four doubles to finish the game with five hits and four RBI. The Aggies hit three home runs, including a solo shot from sophomore Brennalyn Nakamura to mark her first as an Aggie.
The Aggie pitching staff teamed up to hold the Redhawks to a .159 batting average through the two games with sophomores Makayla McAdams and Karysta Donisthorpe each picking up a win. Donisthorpe tossed five complete innings with seven strikeouts and just hit in game two, while McAdams worked five complete to start game one and gave up just three hits.
“I thought we played solid all around,” head coach Kathy Rodolph said. “Our hitting was on and we were really doing what needed to be done defensively. It is nice to start conference play with three wins, but we still have four more WAC series in front of us.”
The Aggies opened the first game with four runs in the second inning. NM State saw a base hit early in the inning, but a bad throw by the Seattle U pitcher and an error in left field were responsible for turning the first two Aggie runs. A ball hit in the gap between the plate and the circle plated another before a single by Nakamura scored the fourth run of the inning.
The next two Aggie runs came off solo shots over the fence. The first came in the bottom of the third when Finau knocked one over center field. Nakamura came up in the bottom of the fourth for her first career home run just over the left side.
The Aggies worked off that momentum in the fourth as Rother smacked a double to centerfield. She was brought around after a pair of walks loaded the bases to bring up junior Malena Padilla and sophomore Tatum Reedy, who each singled to left field to bring in a run the next two runs and make it an 8-1 game.
McAdams gave up just three hits in the game including the Redhawks solo home run in the top half of the fourth before senior right-hander Celisha Walker came in in relief to pitch NM State to the win.
NM State’s final run of the game came in the bottom of the sixth when Finau singled on base and rounded the bags off a single by Adams and a double by Reedy.
The Aggies tallied 11 hits in the game with four coming in the fourth and three in the sixth. McAdams picked up the win to improve her pitching record to 7-3 this season. NM State matched that 11 hits in the next game and the win went to Donisthorpe, who is now 8-7 on the year.
NM State scored first in the second game as a sacrifice fly out to right field by Finau was deep enough to score Nakamura from third. Seattle U came back in the top of the fourth for a two-run home run by catcher Bubba Morrow.
The Aggies kept things going with a two-run double by Rother in the bottom half of the fourth to regain the lead, 4-2. NM State continued the trend of two runs an inning as Adams doubled up through left center and was brought around when senior Alyssa Ruiz stepped to the plate for a homer over the left side.
NM State kept the hits coming in the fifth with a two-run double by Nakamura followed by a walk-off two-run double by Rother to end the game 10-2.
The Aggies head out for the first road conference series of the season against Kansas City, April 4-5. The doubleheader is slated to begin at 1 p.m. on Friday with the series finale set for 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 5.