LAS CRUCES, N.M.— After taking a 2-0 lead in the third, the New Mexico State softball team fell 4-3 to in-state rival New Mexico on Wednesday, March 19. The Aggies move to 17-15 this season, while the Lobos improved to 9-18.
NM State managed eight hits on the game with three runs while allowing the Lobos to get 10 hits on the day. Junior Staci Rodriguez went 2-for-4 on the day with two runs and two RBI, while the other NM State RBI would come off the bat of fellow junior Lacey Rother.
The NM State pitching staff pitched a combined eight strikeouts, while senior reliever Celisha Walker had five of those in her three innings while facing 10 batters. The right-hand pitcher allowed just one hit on the night without allowing a single walk.
“I think we have all the pieces and we just need to put them together. We are playing really well and we will just continue to get better,” head coach Kathy Rodolph said. “I thought our pitching was solid tonight with Celisha coming in to close the game. She came in and did what she need to, to get the job done.”
In the bottom of the third, lead-off hitter Malena Padilla reached second with a double to right field setting up Rodriguez to come up with an RBI single to left with one out. After another Aggie out that advanced Rodriguez to second base, Rother hit an RBI single to left, scoring Rodriguez and giving the Aggies a 2-0 lead.
The Lobos came up in the next half inning for a three-run home run after two singles put runners on base. With the 3-2 lead, an Aggie error at shortstop scored one more run to make it 4-2.
The last Aggie run would come in the bottom of the fifth inning when Rodriguez sent a solo shot over the center field wall for her team leading 10th home run of the season and second hit of the game.
The bomb was not enough to get ahead of the Lobos, but the Aggie defense held New Mexico to just two hits in the final three innings. Walker pitched her five strikeouts and four more quick outs ended the game.
The Aggies take the rest of the week off before continuing with rivalry play by hosting the UTEP Miners on Tuesday, March 25 at 6 p.m. NM State then opens Western Athletic Conference play against Seattle U March 29-30.