LAS VEGAS, Nev.—The New Mexico State softball team finished the second day of competition at the Eller Media Stadium Classic in Las Vegas, Nev., on Saturday, March 1. The Aggies had two games on the day and went 2-0 for the day beating Binghamton and UNLV. This brings NM State’s overall record to 13-6 on the season. Head coach Kathy Rodolph also picked up her 500th career victory as a collegiate head coach with the win over UNLV.
The Aggies first defeated Binghamton University 13-3 in five innings. In the second game, NM State defeated UNLV 5-4.
“I really liked the way we came out and played today,” Rodolph said. “We came out and put pressure on both teams today, which is just what we wanted to do. To be able to win that second game like that, with them being the home team and making a run in the seventh was big for us. As far as getting 500 wins, I have been truly blessed to coach some great teams and some great young women athletes.”
The Aggies played aggressive offensively all day and continued to get strong contributions from junior Staci Rodriguez, who went a perfect 5-for-5 on the day including three more homeruns. This brings her total to five homeruns in the last three games, including a grand slam.
Redshirt sophomore Karysta Donisthorpe also had another strong showing in the circle for the Aggies as she pitched six complete innings against UNLV. She struck out five batters while allowing only three hits on her way to earning her fifth win of the season.
Senior Celisha Walker came in as relief in both contests. She earned the win against Binghamton and was credited with the save against UNLV. Overall she struck out two batters and surrendered one run in 3.2 innings of work.
Against Binghamton, NM State did not waste much time getting back into the hitting rhythm that they started on Friday as they scored six runs on six hits in the second inning.
Binghamton was able to bring two runners across in the third and cut the Aggies’ lead down to 6-2. In the fourth inning NM State loaded the bases and allowed Rodriguez to come up to bat and bring everyone home with a grand-slam homerun, which is the second for her this season. This marked Rodriguez’s third homerun in two games and extended the lead to 10-2.
Rodriguez wasn’t done yet as she came up in the fifth inning and crushed another homerun to center field. This extended the Aggies’ lead to 13-2 in the fifth.
The Bearcats were able to get one run across the plate in the fifth but were unable to get anything else going as the Aggies won the first game of the evening 13-3 in five innings.
Sophomore Makayla McAdams got the start for the Aggies against Binghamton. She worked through 2.1 innings and allowed two runs on four hits. She was replaced by junior Nikki Diaz who had trouble finding the plate as she struck out one but walked three batters before Walker entered the game to get the Aggies out of a bases-loaded situation in the third.
Walker was credited with the win after pitching 2.2 innings where she allowed just one run on three hits and struck out one batter.
In the second game of the evening, the Aggies took on UNLV and Donisthorpe took to the circle for NM State.
Both teams found it hard to get on base as there were no hits heading into the fourth inning. Rodriguez, who walked in her first appearance, hit a solo homerun to give the Aggies a 1-0 lead in the fourth.
The homerun got the Aggies going as they were able to put up two more runs in the inning, giving them a 3-0 cushion.
UNLV got their first base-runner of the game in the fourth inning when Donisthorpe walked two consecutive batters. However, she was able to work out of any trouble and did not allow the Rebels to score a run in the inning.
In the fifth, the Rebels earned their first hit and scored their first run of the game. They were able to get two runs on the board in the inning and cut the Aggies’ lead down to 3-2.
After walking Rodriguez in the sixth, sophomore Fiana Finau quickly capitalized and sent a two-run homerun over the left centerfield fence, extending the lead to 5-2.
UNLV started the seventh out with a homerun that cut the lead down to 5-3, after walking the next batter Donisthorpe was replaced by Walker. She allowed one run to come home and had runners on the corners before striking out the final batter to seal the win for the Aggies.
NM State wraps up the Eller Media Stadium Classic on Sunday, March 2, with a game against DePaul University. First pitch is set for 12:15 p.m.