Aggies Battle No. 16/18 Hawai’i this Weekend on ESPNU
Courtesy: New Mexico State University  
Release:  03/29/2012
LAS CRUCES, N.M. (March 29) - The New Mexico State softball team begins its Western Athletic Conference home schedule against No. 16/18 Hawai'i with a single game Friday at 4 p.m. MT. The teams meet again for a Saturday doubleheader also beginning at 4 p.m. at the NM State Softball Complex.

Aggie fans can watch game one on ESPNU on a tape-delayed basis at 8 p.m. MT. The network can be found on DirecTV channel 208, DISH Network channel 141, and most cable providers. The broadcast will also air at the same time online via ESPN3.

Aggie faithful can follow the game live by listening to the Aggie Sports Network on KSNM 570 AM with play-by-play from Kyle Doperalski. Fans may also receive live updates via Twitter at the Aggies' official account, @NMStateAggies. A live stats link is also available at NMStateSports.com.

NM State (18-16, 0-3 WAC) suffered a three-game sweep on the road at Brigham Young last weekend. The normally-prolific Aggie offense was held to just six runs and 10 hits on the weekend highlighted by home runs from freshman Staci Rodriguez and senior Brittany Clifton.

After the three games this weekend, NM State will have played a dozen games against top-25 teams in 2012. The Aggies have won two of their last three against ranked squads after a 9-5 win at No. 14 Arizona March 21 and an 8-6 victory over No. 23 UNM at home on March 14. Overall NM State is 2-7 this season against ranked foes.

In Las Cruces, NM State is 6-12 in home WAC openers after a three-game sweep of San Jose State to begin the 2011 campaign. Hawai'i ruined the Aggies' first home league series in 2010 with a three-game sweep. The Aggies will be looking for their second series win in a home WAC opening weekend this Friday and Saturday.

The Rainbow Wahine were the only team to win a regular-season series against NM State last season during the Aggies' run to the WAC Championship. UH defeated the Crimson and White in three straight one-run contests in Honolulu in late April.

NM State exacted revenge on the Rainbow Wahine a few weeks later at the WAC Tournament in Fresno, Calif. A walk-off, two-run home run from departed senior Hoku Nohara gave NM State a 5-4 victory over UH.

UH leads the all-time series 39-14 over the Aggies. Since joining the WAC in 2005, Hawai'i has won each series against NM State with a record of 18-4. All four Aggie wins in the WAC have occurred away from Las Cruces after last season's neutral-site 5-4 victory over UH at the conference tournament in Fresno, Calif., in 2011.

The other three NM State wins have occurred in Honolulu including a defeat of then-No. 17 Hawai'i in 2008. The last NM State win on the islands was a 3-1 win in game two of the series in 2009.

The Crimson and White's last series win against Hawai'i occurred in 1993 as NM State swept four games in Las Cruces when both schools were members of the Big West Conference. The Aggies' last home win over Hawai'i occurred on March 29, 1995.

NM State is 10-3 at home this year with two of those losses against then-No. 24 Nebraska team in early February. This season UH is 1-0 in its only true road game, a 12-2 win at UNLV on Feb. 19.

No. 16/18 Hawai'i (26-3, 2-1) opened its WAC slate at home against San Jose State last weekend, taking two of three games against the Spartans. The loss to SJSU was the Rainbow Wahine's first setback to a non-ranked team this season. UH also lost to ranked Texas and Texas A&M squads this season.

This weekend is just the second time for Hawai'i on the mainland. UH traveled to Las Vegas the second week of the season to participate in UNLV's Louisville Slugger Desert Classic. UH won all six of its games in the tourney by eight runs or more, including three shutouts.

The teams share just two common opponents this season. One of those teams is top-ranked Cal. NM State fell 2-0 to the Golden Bears on Feb. 25 at the Cathedral City Classic in Palm Springs. UH dealt Cal its only loss of the season 3-1 on March 15 in Honolulu. The Rainbow Wahine defeated UNLV 12-2 in Las Vegas on Feb. 19 while NM State dropped a 6-1 contest at UNLV on March 2.

Five active Aggies are hitting .313 or above two months into the season. They include Aggie junior Amber Olive (.409), senior Tiare Jennings (.398), freshman Briana Tovio-Asato (.337) classmate Malena Padilla (.333) and sophomore Valerie Swedberg (.313).

Two Aggies also hitting above .300 this year were lost last week to knee injuries. The pair includes sophomore Kristi Covarrubia (.357) and junior Tehani Kaaihue (.303).

Olive saw a career-long hitting streak of 12 games snapped at BYU last weekend. The Aggie leadoff hitter leads the team with 15 multi-hit games this season. Jennings now has the longest active hitting streak of nine games. Tovio-Asato has an active streak of 16 games in which she has reached base via a walk or hit.

Freshman Karysta Donisthorpe and junior Alex Newman lead the Aggies in the circle. Donisthorpe carries a 3.81 ERA this season and a 5-4 ledger. She has allowed 41 earned runs in 75.1 innings of work. Newman is 9-9 this season with a 4.44 ERA. In over 94 innings pitched she has surrendered 60 earned runs. Newman also leads the team with 19 starts in the circle in 2012.

Three Wahine boast batting averages of .333 or above at the plate. Jessica Iwata leads the way at .393 with 33 hits. Leisha Li'ili'i has six home runs this year and is batting .356. Sarah Robinson carries a .333 average in a team-high 87 at-bats.

In the circle for Hawai'i, the Rainbow Wahine have two pitchers that combine for the second-best ERA in the nation of 0.80. Kaia Parnaby leads UH with a 0.68 ERA. She is 10-1 on the season with 11 starts. Stephanie Ricketts has started 18 games and boasts a 16-2 record. Ricketts has a 0.88 ERA in 18 appearances.

Click NMStateSports.com for all of the latest Aggie softball news this season.

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