LAS CRUCES, N.M. (April 14) - The New Mexico State softball team split a Western Athletic Conference (WAC) doubleheader with Nevada on a blustery Saturday, dropping game one 8-7 before toppling the Wolf Pack in six innings, 12-4, in the nightcap at the NM State Softball Complex.
NM State (20-24, 1-11 WAC) and Nevada (16-28, 6-6) combined for 31 runs and 50 hits on the day in an offensive-heavy doubleheader. The foes also combined for eight errors while contending with strong, gusty winds on defense. Only three innings registered scoreless out of 13 total frames through the twin bill.
Freshman Kelsey Dodd ripped a two-run walk-off home run, her sixth homer of the year, to give NM State its first conference victory of the season in the series finale. Sophomore Valerie Swedberg swatted two homers, one in each contest, to give her a team-best nine round trippers in 2012. The Aggie duo helped NM State post its first game with multiple home runs since March 24 at BYU.
The NM State bats were potent as four Aggie players registered four-plus hits on the day. Senior Shaleese Javillo went 4-of-5 at the plate. Freshman Briana Tovio-Asato went 4-of-6 with a pair of doubles. Swedberg went 5-of-8 at the dish with two homers and a double. Junior Amber Olive registered the same count with her second triple of the season.
The Aggies dropped their second consecutive one-run game to the Wolf Pack to open the day. NM State jumped out to an early lead for the second straight game at 5-1 but Nevada posted six runs in the top of the third to take the lead at 6-5. NM State regained the lead at 7-6 in the bottom of the inning but the Pack scored one run apiece in the top of the fifth and sixth innings to edge the hosts 8-7.
In game two, NM State used a four-run second inning to pull ahead of Nevada 4-2. The Aggies added one in the third and two in the fifth for a 7-2 cushion after five. The Wolf Pack responded with two runs in the top of the sixth, but NM State posted five in the bottom of the sixth as Dodd's walk-off homer gave the Aggies the win.
In game one, junior Alex Newman started in the circle for the Aggies against Bailey Brewer of Nevada.
Newman blanked the Pack in the first two innings to help the Aggie offense build an early advantage.
After a leadoff single from Olive and a walk to freshman Malena Padilla, Tovio-Asato hit into a fielder's choice to put runners on the corners with two outs. Swedberg singled through the left side to score Olive to provide a 1-0 NM State edge.
The Aggies plated four runs in the bottom of the second. A walk by Teresa Conrad started the inning. She moved to second in the next at-bat before a one-out single from Javillo. Singles by Olive and Padilla scored both base runners to make it 3-0 Aggies.
Senior Tiare Jennings singled but the Aggies capitalized on a wild play. She would move to second and move towards third on an errant Nevada throw as both Olive and Padilla scored for a 5-0 NM State lead. But Jennings was thrown out at third after the runs scored.
Nevada exploded with six runs on seven hits in the top of the third inning to take back the lead. The Wolf Pack batted around as all 10 batters reached base. The Aggies got the first out on a force at home with the bases loaded. After one run scored, NM State threw another runner out at home to keep it at 5-1. But the Pack scored five more runs with two outs to take the lead at 6-5.
Swedberg led off the Aggie third with a solo home run to right field into a stiff wind to tie the game at 6-6. Dodd followed with a single as freshman Chelsea Dohrwardt came on to pinch run. The Pack also brought in relief pitcher Karlyn Jones with no outs on the board.
A sacrifice bunt by Conrad moved Dohrwardt to second base. Freshman Staci Rodriguez singled and advanced to second on the throw as Dohrwardt held up at third. Olive singled with two outs to score Dohrwardt and put the Aggies in front 7-6.
After a scoreless fourth, Nevada added a run in the top of the fifth inning on a solo home run to knot the score at 7-7.
The Wolf Pack scored the game-winning run in the top of the sixth after a single and one-out double resulted in Nevada's winning margin.
Jones earned the win to improve to 7-4 by blanking the Aggies through five innings of relief despite giving up six hits. Newman took the loss to fall to 9-13 on the year.
Sophomore Celisha Walker started in the circle for New Mexico State in game two against Nevada's Mallary Darby.
Nevada opened the scoring in the nightcap after a single and double plated a run for a 1-0 lead after one inning. The Wolf Pack doubled its lead with a solo home run to open the second frame. Walker fielded two straight grounders to get out of a jam as Nevada stranded two.
Swedberg doubled to right field to start the Aggie second. Tovio-Asato singled on a blooper to second as Swedberg held at second.
With two runners on and no outs, the Aggies sent two consecutive out-of-order batters to the plate. Dodd came up to the bat in Conrad's spot in the order and fouled out to third. Conrad followed in Dodd's position in the lineup and lined a double to left center, scoring Swedberg to make it 2-1.
The mistake was not recognized by the umpire crew or Nevada. However, as a result of the non-substitution Conrad was credited with a foul fly off the bat of Dodd. Meanwhile Dodd was credited with the RBI-double off the bat of Conrad.
In the next at-bat Rodriguez hit a sacrifice fly to center field to score Tovio-Asato and tie the score at 2-2. Javillo connected on a bunt single to advance the runner to third. A two-RBI triple off the bat of Olive cleared the bases and scored both runners. However, Dodd was credited with the run scored instead of Conrad who was physically on the bases. Javillo's score put NM State up 4-2.
To start the Aggie third, Jennings reached first base on a catcher's error on a towering fly ball near home plate. She would advance to second on the throw. Tovio-Asato drew a one-out walk. Conrad reported in the correct spot in the third inning and doubled to left field to score Jennings and give the Aggies a three-run lead.
After a scoreless fourth, NM State extended the lead in the bottom of the fifth. Swedberg drilled her second home run of the day well over the wall in left field to put NM State out front 6-2. Tovio-Asato singled and Dodd drew a one-out walk. Freshman Jackie Candelaria came into the game to run for Tovio-Asato at second.
Rodriguez reached on a fielder's choice which retired Dodd at second and moved the runner to third. An error by the Wolf Pack third baseman allowed Javillo to reach as Candelaria scored from third. NM State led 7-2 after five.
Nevada posted two runs in the top of the sixth after three hits and an Aggie error. The leadoff batter reached on an error and would later score after a wild pitch and an RBI single. The second Nevada run of the inning scored on an Aggie double play that posted the first two outs on the board but the Pack could not push more runs across, trailing 7-4.
NM State clinched the game in the bottom of the sixth inning. Jennings opened with a single down the right field line. Swedberg reached on a throwing error as Jennings moved to third. Tovio-Asato doubled to score Jennings for an 8-4 lead.
With runners on the corners, Conrad doubled again to score two and push the Aggie advantage to 10-4 setting up Dodd for the heroics. Dodd's deep homer to center provided the eight-run, run-rule victory for NM State.
The Aggies travel to first-place Fresno State next weekend for a three-game series. The teams open with a 7 p.m. MT contest Friday, April 20 at Bulldog Diamond. A Saturday doubleheader beginning at 2 p.m. will conclude the series. All three games can be heard live via the Aggie Sports Radio Network on KSNM 570 AM with play-by-play from Kyle Doperalski.
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