LAS CRUCES, N.M.—After winning three on the road in Las Vegas over the weekend, the New Mexico State softball team wastes no time getting back to the diamond to take on I-10 rival UTEP on Tuesday, March 4, in El Paso, Texas.
The Aggies go into the mid-week game with a 13-7 record that includes an 8-6 win over the Miners that dates back to opening weekend when junior Lacey Rother hit the game-winning grand slam in the bottom of the sixth.
The Miners are sitting on a five-game losing streak right now that includes three games against ranked opponents. Prior to the skid, UTEP, like the Aggies, swept each of its five games at the UTEP Invitational. With a 6-14 record, the Miners have six hitting over .300 this season with senior Miraya Montiel leading the team with a .364 batting average. The reigning Conference USA Newcomer of the Year Erika Arcuri is best with 22 hits and 13 runs scored.
Struggling in the circle, Danielle Pearson leads the staff with a 6.91 ERA and a 3-6 record. She has tossed 25 strikeouts and worked 54.2 innings in the circle.
NM State goes into the game with junior Staci Rodriguez holding the honor of Western Athletic Conference Hitter of the Week. This comes after hitting .700 and going 7-of-10 in five games, which includes five homeruns and 10 RBI. She has two grand slams this season and is hitting .444 on the season with a total of 24 hits and 24 RBI this year.
Sophomore Fiana Finau is hitting .407 this year with a team-leading eight home runs, good for a .889 slugging percentage. She has 22 hits this year and 20 RBI with two doubles.
In the circle for the Aggies, senior Celisha Walker leads the staff with a 3.00 ERA in her 13 appearances. She is 3-3 this season with two saves and has walked just seven batters. Sophomore Makayla McAdams holds the best record for NM State (5-1) and redshirt sophomore Karysta Donisthorpe leads with 36 strikeouts in her 44 innings at work.
The Aggies and the Miners have met 30 times this season with NM State leading the series 21-9. The Aggies have won the last seven meetings, dating back to 2011. The Miners last win over NM State was in March of 2010.
First pitch is set for 6 p.m. at the Helen of Troy Softball Complex in El Paso, Texas. The Aggies then head to Lubbock, Texas for a tournament hosted by Texas Tech.