LAS VEGAS (March 2) - For the first time under head coach Kathy Rodolph, the New Mexico State softball team beat the UNLV Rebels 8-0 in five innings in the nightcap of the Eller Media Stadium Classic on Saturday, March 2. NM State moves to 12-7 on the season and 2-2 in the tournament.
The Aggies picked up their second win of the tournament with eight runs off 12 hits for eight RBI. Sophomore Kelsey Dodd went 2-for-2 with two RBI on the day while Karysta Donisthorpe went the distance in the circle with six strikeouts and just three hits. She picked up her fourth win of the season. It was the work of sophomore Lacey Rother as a pinch hitter that drove in the game-winning win with a single RBI to left in the bottom half of the fifth inning.
"Karysta was determined in the circle and she set the tempo," Rodolph said. "We played great defense behind her and when we do that and our pitchers keep us in it, we get to focus on our offense and good things happen."
The Aggies started with their third double-play of the day for two quick Rebel outs in the top of the first. Senior Amber Olive had a lead-off single to short and freshman Emma Adams reached on a catcher's interference. The pair advanced on a wild pitch before a single to center by Staci Rodriguez plated the first run by Olive for NM State.
A sacrifice fly by Kelsey Dodd scored Adams to give the Aggies a 2-0 lead over the Rebels after one complete inning. That is Dodd's second sacrifice fly of the season.
In the second, NM State sent the Rebels away in order before senior Tehani Kaaihue reached base on a walk to start the inning. With two outs on the board, Olive came back to the plate for an RBI triple that scored Kaaihue. Olive now has four extra base hits on the season and 10 RBI.
NM State continued on the power hitting track in the bottom of the fourth with a standing double by senior Teresa Conrad. Rodriguez and Dodd picked up RBI doubles of their own with Rodriguez' out to center and Dodd hit hers up the right field line.
The Aggies grounded out for two outs, but Alyssa Ruiz hit a single up the left side to score Dodd and pick up her fifth RBI of the 2013 season.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Aggies drove in two runs off five hits with the highlight coming from Rother as she came in as a pinch hitter for a walk-off single to left field that plated the game-winning run.
"We are committed, for the next two weeks, to get where we need to be for conference, and when we play like we did today with a young team like this, it shows that we are getting better every day," Rodolph said.
The Aggies continue with the final day of the Eller Media Stadium Classic on Sunday, March 3. NM State meets Weber State and UNLV one last time on the day.