Kansas City, Mo.—The New Mexico State softball team ended its first day of competition against University of Missouri-Kansas City by splitting the double-header on Friday, April 4, in Kansas City, Mo. This brings the Aggies’ overall record to 22-16, and 4-1 in Western Athletic Conference play.
The Aggies battled the UMKC Kangaroos as well as the weather as the team played the doubleheader in 40-degree weather. NM State was slow out of the gate, dropping game one by a score of 9-5 before regrouping in the second game and winning it in five innings 13-4.
“I was very proud of our response in game two,” head coach Kathy Rodolph said. “I felt like we were not ourselves in the first game with the cold but I would expect that it’s a learning lesson. I feel that no matter what we’re faced with I think we have the depth and the talent to come through and do what we need to. We had way too many errors in game one but in game two we established the momentum and stayed with it.”
NM State totaled 16 hits on the day, including four home runs. The team scored 18 runs on the day but had some trouble on defense as they had six errors on the day, though four of those came in the first game. Junior Lacey Rother led the team with four RBI on the day, all from her grand slam in the second game.
The Aggies sent redshirt sophomore Karysta Donisthorpe to the pitcher’s circle to star the first game. She struggled to find a rhythm throughout the 3.1 innings that she pitched where she struck out three batters but allowed seven runs. Senior Celisha Walker was brought in as a relief pitcher and was able to work through the next 2.2 innings allowing just one earned run.
NM State started slowly in the first game, putting up one run in the second and third, including a solo home run by junior Staci Rodriguez. The Aggies were unable to score much more throughout the first game as they ended up with five total runs.
UMKC had similar troubles on offense when starting the first game as they were scoreless in the first two innings before getting three on the board in the third inning and taking the early 3-2 lead. The Roos would score five more runs in the fourth to extend the lead to 8-2.
The Aggies’ offensive struggles continued until the sixth when sophomore Fiana Finau led off the inning with a solo home run. Unfortunately it was the only run NM State was able to get in the inning. The Roos would answer the homerun in the bottom of the inning as well. The Aggies would scrape two more runs across the plate in the top of the seventh but it would not be enough as they dropped game one by a score of 9-5.
In the second game, the Aggies appeared to be headed for the same type of trouble as the first as they were able to get people on the bases but unable to bring them home. Rother made sure that wasn’t the case though as she hit a grand slam over the left-center wall in the second inning to give the Aggies a 4-0 lead early on.
UMKC did answer back in the third inning as they were able to score four runs off sophomore Makayla McAdams to trim the lead down to 5-4. The Aggies weren’t done scoring in the game though and put six more runs on the board in the top of the fourth. Junior Kelsey Dodd was brought in as a pinch-hitter with the bases loaded and responded by hitting a bases-clearing double.
Sophomore Tatum Reedy also got in on the hitting in the fifth when she hit a two-out double to score two runs in the inning to give the Aggies a 13-4 lead heading to the bottom of the fifth.
McAdams got the start for the Aggies in game two and pitched through all five innings striking out three batters and surrendering just two earned runs.
The Aggies will finish their series with UMKC on Saturday, April 5, at 11 a.m. mountain time.