RUSTON, La. – A 3-1 win over the Texas State Bobcats on Friday evening, May 10, the New Mexico State softball team advances to the final round of the 2031 Western Athletic Conference Tournament. That game is set for a 1 p.m. first pitch on Saturday, May 11. The Aggies must play and beat the No. 1 San Jose Spartans twice in order to claim the tournament title and advance to the NCAA Regional.
Senior pitcher Alex Newman moves to the top of the Aggie record books for most wins in a single season with her 24th this season. She also holds the second-place spot with 23 wins from the 2011 season.
NM State ended the game with three runs off just four hits. Three Aggies walked on base and Newman worked for her 17th complete game this season by going the distance and allowing six hits on the night for the Bobcats.
“I thought we did a great job at battling today and that Alex (Newman) really pitched well and kept us in the game,” head coach Kathy Rodolph said. “We did a better job this evening of scoring the runners on base and not leaving them stranded. Offensively, I thought Kelsey Dodd did a great job with setting the tone with that home run and we did a much better job at putting th ball in play.”
Scoreless through the first two complete innings, the Aggies loaded the bases in the top of the third with a single by Alyssa Ruiz, a hit by pitch and a walk. Las Cruces, N.M., native Kristi Covarrubia helped the Aggies light up the board with a sacrifice fly to center field to plate Ruiz’s run.
An Aggie error let one on base for the Bobcats in the bottom half of the third, but a Newman strikeout, a ground out to second and a fly out to left field put the Aggies back at the plate.
Dodd led off the Aggie half of the fourth with a solo home run over the left field wall on a 2-0 count. That was followed up with a single to left center by senior Tehani Kaaihue and a standing double by fellow senior Teresa Conrad. The pair was left stranded, however, with a line drive to third base and a fly out to left field.
The Bobcats continued with the trend of one base runner per inning with a base hit to the left side. That did not stop the Aggies’ offensive momentum as Amber Olive walked herself on to first and was brought around with a two-base sacrifice fly off the bat of Covarrubia and she was brought across the plate on a sacrifice fly by Staci Rodriguez.
Texas State hit a single out to center field to put a runner at first, but a line drive double play to Conrad at shortstop got two outs for NM State and cleared the bases. Newman earned her second strikeout of the game to end the fifth inning.
As the Aggies were sent away in the top half of the sixth frame, Texas State made its attempt at a rally with a three consecutive singles to load the bases. A wild pitch by Newman allowed one run to score, and the next two were left stranded at second and third as Newman and the Aggie defense worked for a strikeout and two groundouts.
The final inning was scoreless for both teams and the Aggies pick up their 37th win of the season and advance to the championship game of the WAC Tournament against No. 1 San Jose State. The first pitch is set for 1 p.m. (MT)