Aggies (26-16; 8-1) head out on the road this week to meet Grand Canyon for a doubleheader Friday, April 18, beginning at 6 p.m. and a single game at 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 19. NM State is sitting on a five-game winning streak and could clinch the regular-season WAC title by sweeping the series against the Lopes.
Live Stats: www.NMStateSports.com (click on Audio/Video link)
NM State will take on Arizona midweek on Wednesday, April 23 and will continue to Orem, Utah to face the Utah Valley Wolverines on April 25 and 26. The Aggies pause WAC play for their series against the Arizona Wildcats, which can be heard on KSNM 570 AM beginning at 4:45 p.m. The Aggies then travel to take on third place Utah Valley who is currently sitting at 4-5 in WAC play.
The Aggies went 3-0 in their last home game series against CSU Bakersfield with the biggest scoring margin of 17-2 to finish off the weekend. The Aggies began with a double header on Friday, April 11, beating the Runners 7-5 the first game and 8-1 in the second. Lacey Rother went 3-for-3 and had two RBI to begin the series. In the second game, Rother brought in three RBI and was intentionally walked being the first time an Aggie has been intentionally walked since 2011. During the final game of the series, the Aggies scored 17 runs in the first inning going through the lineup almost three full times before handing the inning off to the Runners. The forced run-rule in the third game on the weekend marks the fourth consecutive weekend that the Aggies have closed a game due to a run-rule.
About the Aggies
NM State moved to 26-16 on the season after going 3-0 on the weekend against CSU Baskersfield at the NM State Softball Complex to end the at home games. The Aggies finished the weekend with a 17-3 victory in the final game on Saturday, April 12. The team is led at the plate by junior Staci Rodriguez with a .422 batting average and 12 homeruns. She is tied in the top 10 for home runs this season with fellow hard hitter Fiana Finau. The duo combines for 69 RBI this year. Rodriguez is 18th in the nation with a .810 slugging percentage and Finau is slugging .740 so far this year, which keeps her in the top 40. Right fielder Lacey Rother, has reach base in her last 18 at-bats and has seen eight games with multiple hits just under Finau who has seen 15.
In the circle, senior Celisha Walker leads the Aggies with a 3.30 ERA this season. The team is hurling 3.62 combined with redshirt Karysta Donisthorpe pitching 91.1 of the teams innings. She is leading the Aggies with 79 K’s this season and is holding her opponents to a .263 batting average. Walker has become the closer for the team, pitching 87.0 innings and striking out 51. She has tallied three saves and one shutout this year.
Aggies in the WAC
Leading the conference the highest record percentage at .619 this season, NM State is leading in a large majority of the hitting categories this season including batting average as the Aggies are hitting .326. The team has 569 total bases and is slugging .522 as a whole, which leads the league. The Aggies also have the best team ERA (3.62) but are just behind GCU in fielding percentage (.946). The Aggies surpassed the Lopes in hits however with 355 on the year.
Individually, the Aggies are seeing Staci Rodriguez lead in a slew of categories, including batting average (.422) and runs scored (45). Rodriguez is tied with fellow hitter Fiana Finau at 12 homeruns and just trails Finau in RBI (37). Finau is second on several of the hitting lists that Rodriguez leads. Right fielder Lacey Rother is now set at first with her .549 on base percentage after her performance in the series against CSU Bakersfield. Senior Celisha Walker is second in the WAC with her 3.30 ERA followed by sophomore Makayla McAdams ranked third at a 3.38 ERA.
Around the WAC
With a conference record of (8-1), the New Mexico State Aggies are the leaders of the WAC. NM State holds the best overall record in the conference with 26 wins and 16 losses on the season. After crushing Bakersfield by a score of 17-2 on April 12, the Aggies now hold the longest active win streak in the conference at five games.
Grand Canyon is also having a stellar season with an overall record of 22-17 and a conference record of 7-2. The Antelopes are second place in the WAC. GCU and the Aggies are the only two teams in the league with overall records above .500.
Utah Valley and Seattle are tied for third place in the conference with each squad having a record of 4-5 in the WAC. Utah Valley has struggled to find their footing in front of their home crowd as they have won only once this season while suffering seven losses at home. Seattle has done the opposite, with only three wins on the road and 10 losses. Kansas City has had a tough season along with Bakersfield. Kansas City is fifth in the conference with an overall record of 13-30 and a conference record of 3-6. Bakersfield is dead last in the WAC with an overall record of 11-34 and a 1-8 record in conference play. The Runners are also on a five-game losing streak.
NM State in the Nation (as of 4/15/14)
Hitting duo Fiana Finau and Staci Rodriguez have made their way onto the nation’s leaderboard in five different categories this season. The pair is top 25 in homeruns both ranked at 24th in the nation. Rodriguez is top 75 for batting average (61st), runs per game (14th) and slugging percentage (18th). Lacey Rother has also moved into national ranks with her .419 batting average (54th) and .545 on base percentage (11th).
As a team, the Aggies are sitting in the top 50 in more than three categories. They are currently ranked 14th nationally in home runs per game out of 289 ranked teams. NM State is also 13th in the nation with its .522 slugging percentage. The Aggies .326 batting average places them as 14th in the ranks.
About Grand Canyon
22-17 overall, Grand Canyon is 7-2 in WAC play with their only two loses coming against UM Kansas City (Mar. 29, 4-2) and Bakersfield (Apr. 5, 5-4). Grand canyon has outscored opponents 206-168 this season, relying on their ability to generate runs through single base hits despite their lack of homerun power.
Grand Canyon is led from the circle by Stephani Pesqueira who has a 2.86 ERA in 127.1 innings pitched, with an 11-7 record. Recording 65 strikeouts, Pesqueira has given up 128 hits, 38 walks and 52 earned runs.
From the plate Kayla Henry leads the team with a .341 average, recording a team high 43 hits. Kelsey Barak leads the team in RBIs with 33 and homeruns with six. Batting a .326 average on the season, Barak has recorded 43 hits in her 132 appearances at the plate.
In the field, the Wildcats have only recorded five errors in WAC play, compared to their opponents’ 17. Grand Canyon also holds a near perfect fielding percentage of .981.
NM State and GCU have never met in the 39-year program history.
Rother Picks Up WAC Hitter of the Week Nod
Rother, a junior from Long Beach, Calif., went a perfect 5-for-5 at the plate with two home runs, six walks and six RBI. She reached base in each of her 11 plate appearances and drew her first career intentional walk in the 17-2 win over Bakersfield on Saturday. She had a home run in each of Friday’s doubleheader games. In Saturday’s series finale, Rother tied the NM State and WAC record for walks in a single game with four. She posted a 2.200 slugging percentage and a 1.000 on-base percentage in her three games while making the start at right field.
College Sports Madness Recognizes Rother’s Plate Appearances
Announced Tuesday, April 15, College Sports Madness named New Mexico State softball’s Lacey Rother the Madness WAC Softball Player of the Week for her performance during the past week. She reached base in each of her 11 plate appearances with two home runs, six walks and six RBI, while going 5-for-5 at the plate.
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.
NM State has hit four 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. She then came back in the second game against Kansas City (4/4) to smash a four-RBI homer in the second inning, helping NM State to a 13-4 win in five innings. 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 four walk-off wins this season. The most recent was in the final game of the WAC-opening weekend against Seattle U (3/29) when Brennalyn Nakamura hit a double to bring up Lacey Rother who hit a double to score Nakamura and end the game in a 10-2 win in six innings.
Another Aggie walk-off came 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.
Home Run Record Falls
In its 14-5 five-inning win over Seton Hall on Feb. 28, NM State hit a school record seven home runs. Fiana Finau and Staci Rodriguez hit a pair of home runs apiece, while Lacey Rother, Kelsey Dodd and Tatum Reedy added one homer each. It was the fourth time this season the Aggies had 10 or more RBI in a game.
Rother Ties Walks Record
In the Aggies 17-2 win over Bakersfield on April 12, junior Lacey Rother was walked four times in the game. She was walked three times in the first inning and once in the third to match former Aggie sluggers Hoku Nohara and Tiare Jennings’ four-walk games in 2011. Rother’s name is now stamped in the NM State and WAC record books.
Single Inning Record Goes Down
NM State broke the record of most runs in a single inning in the series finale against Bakersfield on April 12. The WAC and school record was broken in the last game of the series as the Aggies ran in 17 runs during the first inning. The 17 runs broke the previous 2010 record where 12 runs were scored against UT San Antonio. During the game, NM State only gave up two runs, while hitting a double, 10 singles and six walks.
WAC Hitter/Pitcher of the Week
The Aggies have claimed the six WAC Hitter of the Week honors this season along with two Pitcher of the week nod. Fiana Finau earned the hitting accolade, while Lacey Rother and Staci Rodriguez have each claimed the honor twice, while Celisha Walker picked up the pitching honor. Most recently (3/31) senior Alyssa Ruiz was the hitter of mention and Karysta Donisthorpe took the pitching honors.
(April 7-13) Rother went a perfect 5-for-5 at the plate with two home runs, six walks and six RBI. She reached base in each of her 11 plate appearances and drew her first career intentional walk in the 17-2 win over Bakersfield on Saturday. She had a home run in each of Friday’s doubleheader games. In Saturday’s series finale, Rother tied the NM State and WAC record for walks in a single game with four. She posted a 2.200 slugging percentage and a 1.000 on-base percentage in her three games while making the start at right field.
(March 24-30) Ruiz finished the week with a .667 batting average, an astounding 1.667 slugging percentage and a .667 on-base percentage as the Aggies went 4-0 on the week. Five of her six hits on the week were extra base hits, as she posted three doubles, two home runs and six RBI, with two hits in each of her three games on the week.
(March 24-30) Donisthorpe went 3-0 in her three appearances last week. She combined for 11 strikeouts in 11.1 innings of work and tossed a one-hitter in a 10-2 win over Seattle U to sweep the league-opening series. Donisthorpe had seven strikeouts in that game, one shy of her season best. She allowed just six runs on the week while facing 49 batters and holding her opposition to a .190 batting average.
(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.
Rodriguez Named Preseason All-American
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.