SAN MARCOS, TEXAS – The New Mexico State Aggies split the doubleheader on Friday evening against the Texas State Bobcats with a 1-0 win in game one and a 5-4 loss in the second game of the day. NM State moves to 31-15 this season and 12-2 in Western Athletic Conference play.
The day was highlighted by a nine-inning battle in game one and a grand slam by sophomore Staci Rodriguez in game two. The Aggie finished the day with 11 hits on the day, five in the first game and six in the second of the double bill.
“Today was definitely a battle in both games,” head coach Kathy Rodolph said. “I thought Alex (Newman) pitched well in the first game and the defense did a great job behind both our pitchers today. I would have liked to see our offense step up a little sooner, but that grand slam by Staci was key for us in game two.”
The Aggies made an early attempt with two singles in the first inning. Senior Amber Olive singled up the left side and was moved over to scoring position when sophomore Staci Rodriguez got a hit up to left field.
The teams were scoreless through the first eight innings of play with senior right-hander Alex Newman and the Aggie defense sending the Bobcats away in order through the first six innings.
Newman pitched a no-hitter through those six innings and Texas State came up with two hits in the bottom half of the seventh. A single up the middle and through the left side put runners on base for Texas State, but a play at third and a pop up to Kelsey Dodd at first ended the inning before the Bobcats could score a runner.
AS the teams went to extras, Dodd broke the ninth inning open with a double through the middle. Freshman Brennalyn Nakamura came in as a pinch runner and was moved over to third on a sacrifice bunt by senior Teresa Conrad.
Nakamura plated the winning and only run for the Aggies off the bat of sophomore Malena Padilla, who was out at first.
The Aggies finished game one with just three hits allowed and five strikeouts from Newman. She worked each of the nine frames in the circle for her 11th complete game this season. The Aggies has five hits on the day and Rodriguez was walked on base twice.
Texas State took an early lead in the first inning with two runs off three hits. A triple to right center field put a runner in scoring position and a single by the left fielder, Kelli Baker scored the first run. She was eventually brought around the bases by another single and two fielder’s choice plays, giving the Bobcats a 2-0 lead over the Aggies.
After reaching base by a walk in the second and third, NM State picked up its first hit of the day in the third. Emma Adams singled to the left side, and stole second, but was out at third on a fielder’s choice.
The Bobcats increased their lead in the home half of the fourth with two runs off two hits and a sacrifice bunt. Just one of the runs went down as earned, as an error at the plate kept the second run of the inning unearned.
Trailing 4-0 going into the top of the fifth, NM State loaded the bases off two singles and a walk to bring Rodriguez to the plate. Adams and Olive singled their way on base with one to the left side and a bunt by the senior. The bases were full of Aggies as Kristi Covarrubia walked her way on base.
Rodriguez smacked her second grand slam of the season to tie the game at 4-4. The bomb was No. 17 for Rodriguez, moving her to tie for the second spot of the single-season record books.
In the bottom of the fifth, Texas State came back for a 5-4 lead off three base hits and a sacrifice bunt.
NM State singled in the top of the seventh, but it was not enough to push the Aggies ahead of the Bobcats. The loss breaks an 11-game winning streak through conference play.
“We have to tip our hats to Texas State; they came out and played well against us. We are going to really have to come out and battle tomorrow and make a comeback,” Rodolph said.
The teams finish out the series on Saturday, April 20, at 12 p.m. at Bobcat Stadium.