EL PASO, TEXAS -- The New Mexico State softball team went 2-0 on the day at the UTEP Invitational, defeating Houston Baptist 5-3 and then coming back for an 11-run fourth inning to beat Incarnate Word 11-2. The Aggies extend to a seven-game winning streak and improve to 9-5 this season.
“I thought we played well today. It was great to see contributions for several players,” associate head coach Cat Heifner said. “The contributions were key for us too. Fiana (Fianu) was big at the plate in the first game and Susie (Chandler) came up great off the bench in the second game. It was overall a good day.”
The Aggies finished the day with 18 hits and three home runs. Redshirt sophomore Karysta Donisthorpe went the distance in the circle in game one with eight strikeouts and just three runs allowed. Game two say sophomore Makayla McAdams work five complete in the circle with two strikeouts and just one hit. She improves to 4-1 this season.
Junior Staci Rodriguez went 3-for-5 on the day with a double and an RBI, while sophomore Fiana Finau was 3-for-6 with two home runs and three RBI.
The Aggies let the Huskies get on the board first with a pair of singles in the first and a sacrifice bunt to bring in the first run. HBU came back in the top of the second for a solo home run to lead off the inning.
Sophomore Fiana Finau to lead off bottom half of the second with a solo home run of her own to light up the board for the Aggies.
HBU took back the lead in the third with a double RBI to the left side after a walk and a sacrifice bunt put the runner in scoring position.
NM State came up with a three-run fifth inning as sophomore Emma Adams led off with a single through the right side. Freshman Misty Ho’ohuli came to the plate as a pinch hitter and a double to left center that scored Adams. Ho’ohuli crossed the plate off a triple to right center by sophomore Brennalyn Nakamura, making it a 3-3 game.
NM State closed out the game 5-3 with a two-run shot over the left side by Finau in the bottom of the sixth.
Game two saw both teams scoreless in the first and Incarnate Word score two in the second off a pair of Aggie errors. The teams both went down in order in the third before the Aggies picked up an 11-run rally in the fourth.
NM State made its way around the bags three times to start the bottom half of the fourth with singles by Rodriguez and Finau. With the runners at first and second, junior Lacey Rother smacked a double to the right side to bring Rodriguez around. Junior Malena Padilla and Adams followed up with doubles of their own, giving the Aggies a 4-2 lead.
Freshman Susie Chandler came to the plate with Adams sitting on second for a rocket over the centerfield fence for two RBI. The Aggies continued the rally with a walk by Nakamura, who eventually plated the seventh run off a double by pinch runner Chelsea Dohrwardt. Four more Aggie hits in the inning plated the three final runs of the game, lifting the Aggies to an 11-2 win over Incarnate Word.
Rother and Rodriguez each went 2-for-3 on the game with a single and a double.
The Aggies conclude the UTEP Invitational with a single game against Incarnate Word at 11 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 23 at the Helen of Troy Softball Complex.