FRESNO, Calif. (April 21) - The New Mexico State softball team dropped a doubleheader to Fresno State 3-1 in game one and 2-1 in the series finale at the Bulldog Diamond Saturday afternoon.
NM State (20-27, 1-14 WAC) bats were stymied by the Fresno State (31-17, 11-2) pitching staff as the Aggies scored just two runs and connected on seven hits for the day. The Bulldogs posted five runs on 14 hits Saturday to complete a three-game series and take over sole possession of first place in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC).
In game one, junior Alex Newman started in the circle for the Aggies against Fresno State's Mackenzie Oakes.
Fresno State got on the board in the bottom of the first with back-to-back solo home runs with two outs to go up 2-0. After a Bulldog walk, freshman Karysta Donisthorpe came on in relief of Newman to close out the inning.
After four scoreless innings, the Bulldogs pushed another run across in the bottom of the sixth. A leadoff single followed by a sacrifice bunt and another single put the home team in front 3-0 after six innings.
Aggie freshman Kelsey Dodd, from nearby Clovis, Calif., hammered a one-out homer in the top of the seventh but it was not enough as NM State dropped game two of the series, 3-1.
Newman took the loss to drop to 9-14 as Oakes moved to 9-4 on the year.
The starting pitchers in the series finale were the same as game one Friday night. Sophomore Celisha Walker got the starting nod for the Aggies against Michelle Moses of Fresno State.
Moses retired 17 straight Aggies to begin the game without a walk or hit before Aggie senior Shaleese Javillo recorded the first NM State hit of the game, a single up the middle in the top of the sixth inning.
The Bulldogs opened the scoring in game two with back-to-back doubles to begin the bottom of the fourth inning up 1-0. Newman came into the game in relief of Walker after the pair of hits.
Two innings later Fresno State padded its lead in the bottom of the sixth. A leadoff single and an Aggie error put helped move a runner into scoring position. FS scored its run on a ground out to make it 2-0 Bulldogs after six innings.
The Aggies rallied for the second straight game in the top of the seventh. Freshman Briana Tovio-Asato ripped a two-out double down the left field line. Freshman Chelsea Dohrwardt came on to run at second base. Senior Tiare Jennings hit an RBI single to left center to score Dohrwardt and cut the Fresno State lead to 2-1. But the Bulldogs got out of the inning on a strikeout to take a one-run victory.
Walker took the loss to drop to 5-4 as Moses improved to 20-11 on the year.
After conference results this weekend, the Aggies must win their final six games of the season against Utah State and at San Jose State and have Louisiana Tech lose its final six games against Nevada and at Fresno State to qualify for the WAC Tournament in three weeks.
The Aggies return to Las Cruces next weekend for the final home series of the season against Utah State. The battle of the Aggies begins with a single game Friday, April 27 beginning a 6 p.m. That game will be broadcast live on AggieVision with play-by-play from Kyle Doperalski and analysis from Melanie Viramontes.
The series concludes on Saturday, April 28 with a doubleheader starting at 4 p.m. Both games can be heard on KSNM 570 AM with play-by-play from Doperalski. The series finale also marks the 800th career game for NM State head coach Kathy Rodolph and the final home game for the five Aggie seniors who will be honored in a ceremony.
For all of the latest Aggie softball news, click NMStateSports.com.