PHOENIX – The New Mexico State softball team lost a tough matchup to the Grand Canyon Antelopes, 3-2, Saturday afternoon during the series finale at Stapleton-Pierson Field.
The Aggies lost the final two games of the series by a combined three runs to fall to 26-19 on the season and 8-4 in Western Athletic Conference play. The ‘Lopes are 25-17 overall and now lead the WAC by two games over NM State after improving to 10-2 in conference play.
NM State finished the game with five hits while the Aggie pitching tandem of Makayla McAdams and Celisha Walker only allowed four hits. McAdams started the game in the circle for NM State, only allowing two hits in 4.1 innings pitched. Walker also allowed two hits, but was saddled with the loss to fall to 7-6 on the season.
Junior Lacey Rother and first baseman Kelsey Dodd each had a couple of hits on the day, to combine for four of the Aggies’ five hits. One of Dodd’s hit was a two-run shot over the right-field wall.
The ‘Lopes got on the board first with a home run of their own, a solo shot in the bottom of the first inning by shortstop Kelsey Barak.
NM State bounced right back in second inning after Dodd belted her fourth homer of the season. The home run also brought in Rother, who had the first hit for NM State, a single to centerfield. The Aggies led 2-1 after two innings.
NM State had a chance to break the game wide open in the fourth after loading the bases with two outs, but pinch hitter Malena Padilla struck out swinging to end the Aggie threat.
NM State would maintain its one-run lead into the bottom half of the fifth. Thanks in large part by great defense by second baseman Brennalyn Nakamura who had a great defensive play in the third and another in the fourth inning.
Unfortunately for the Aggies, GCU would cross two unearned runs in the fifth inning after a couple of NM State infield errors. The ‘Lopes took a 3-2 lead heading into the final two innings, a lead they would not relinquish.
The Aggies marked two singles in the top of the sixth but again could not put a rally together. Rother hit a little popup to the pitcher which turned into a double play and once again negated NM State the opportunity to add to its run total.
An infield pop fly by pinch hitter Alyssa Ruiz in the seventh marked the final out of the matchup and gave GCU a three-game sweep of the Aggies.
NM State will now head back home before returning to Arizona for a doubleheader in Tucson, Ariz., versus the University of Arizona Wildcats on Wednesday, April 23.