LAS CRUCES, N.M. – New Mexico State softball rattled the nationally-ranked Wildcats of Arizona in game one of the doubleheader with a come from behind 3-2 win on Tuesday afternoon, April 9. The Aggies then dropped game two 8-1 to split the series for the second straight year.
NM State set a new school record with its 11th straight victory for the longest winning streak in program history after defeating the 17th-ranked Wildcats.
“I thought we played well overall today and we did some great things,” head coach Kathy Rodolph said. “Alex (Newman) pitched well for us in game one and then came back and helped out in game two. Emma Adams really stepped up and got the key hit for us when we needed it.”
The Aggies were led in game one by Adams, who smashed her third home run of the season in the sixth inning to lift NM State to the 3-2 win.
Game two was notched by sophomore Staci Rodriguez, who went 3-for-3 at the plate with three singles in each of her at bats.
Senior hurler Alex Newman worked 7.2 total innings on the day with the complete game in the early battle. She allowed just three walks on the day, while junior right-hander Celisha Walker pitched the majority of game two for just her second loss this season.
NM State was walked in the first inning until the bases were loaded, but did not light up the board until the bottom half of the third inning. UA was first to plate a run with an RBI single up the right side to score the runner that was put on by a walk and stole second.
NM State’s Amber Olive worked the Aggies into scoring position with a two-base hit to left center. She was brought in off the bat of sophomore Kelsey Dodd to tie the game at 1-1.
NM State allowed three hits in the top of the third to the Wildcats, but stranded the runners off a liner drive out to third for the final out.
UA took the lead in the fourth with an RBI single after the runner walked on base and was moved by a single to short at the bottom of the lineup.
NM State kept the Wildcats off the board in the fifth as two hits put runners at second and third with just one out. The Aggie defense came up with two big reaching plays for the next two outs to leave Arizona stranded.
Kristi Covarrubia came up with a shot out to left field for two bases and was moved over on a groundout to shortstop by senior Teresa Conrad. Sophomore Kelsey Dodd came to the plate and is moved on base with her 19th walk of the year. The final out came off the bat of Staci Rodriguez, leaving the runners sitting.
The Wildcats were scoreless in the top of the sixth and the Aggies came up with two big hits and two runs in the home half of the inning. Senior Tehani Kaaihue singled her way on base and was brought around by the game-winning home run by Emma Adams. The bomb was the third for the freshman and lifted NM State to its second win over UA in two years.
“I think it was a great day for this softball program to get this milestone win and I think these types of games make us better players and a better team,” Rodolph said. “We learn how to work under pressure in these games and not falter to any team.”
Dodd hit a rocket over the center field wall for a solo bomb, giving NM State a 1-0 lead over the Wildcats in the home half of the first inning. The homer is No. 7 for Dodd and helped the sophomore finish the day with two hits and two RBI after a single in the first game.
Conrad walked her way on base and a shot up the right side by Rodriguez put runners at first and second with two outs. The runners were left on base after a short fly out ended the first inning.
A scoreless second inning put UA back at the plate where a double by center fielder Alex Lavine. She was brought around off a single RBI to knot the score at 1-1. A pair of fielder’s choice hits loaded the bases and Arizona took a 5-1 lead with a grand slam by shortstop Brigette Del Ponte with just one out.
NM State made a strong attempt in the bottom half of the third inning with two base hits and a hit-by-pitch to load the bases with one out, but was not able to turn a run.
The teams were scoreless in the next two innings with Arizona picking up a hit in each of the fourth and fifth and NM State picked up a walk in each of the innings and one hit in the fifth, a single up the middle by Rodriguez.
A three-run rocket over the left center field wall lifted UA to an 8-1 lead over NM State. A double and single put the runners in position for the Wildcat catcher Chelsea Goodacre to bring them home with the three RBI shot and the win.
The teams were both scoreless to finish out the final inning and split the series for the second straight year. The Aggies look back to Western Athletic Conference for the remainder of the season, starting with a three-game series against UTSA on Friday, April 12-13.