Aggies Pick Up a Couple of Victories; Finish Tournament 5-0

Courtesy of NMSU

LAS VEGAS, Nev. – The New Mexico State softball team finished 5-0 at the Alexis Park Resort Classic hosted by UNLV after two final-inning wins on Saturday, first versus Wisconsin, 8-7, on a walk-off home run, and then against DePaul, 8-6, after two runs in the final inning.

The Aggies (13-7) began the day by defeating the Badgers (5-9) for the second time in as many days, but it wasn’t easy as NM State trailed 7-4 in the bottom of the seventh before freshman Corrin Green slammed a walk-off two-run home run that wrapped up a four-run final inning for the Aggies.

NM State then saw itself tied up with the Blue Demons (6-10) heading into the final inning.  Yet, late heroics where in the cards again for the Aggies and again it would be a freshman with the honors.  Dallas McBride hit a two-RBI double in the top of the frame and then sat down DePaul in order in the bottom of the frame to pick up the winning hit and the win.

“We are very proud of how we battled this weekend,” Aggie head coach Kathy Rodolph said. “It wasn’t perfect, but we found ways to battle every pitch and give ourselves a chance to win.  We know this is a special team and we continue to grow each game.”

The Aggies immediately took an early lead over Wisconsin after Rachel Rodriguez led off the bottom of the first with a single.  Rodriguez was followed by back-to-back homers over the center-field wall by Emma Adams and Staci Rodriguez, both of whom had a sensational tournament at the two and three holes.  NM State was up 3-0 after only one inning.

The Badgers got one back after a solo shot by right fielder Marissa Mersch in the top of the second off of Aggie starter Karysta Donisthorpe.  But NM State reclaimed the run after Adams scored in the third on a couple of Wisconsin errors.  The Aggies led 4-1 after three and held on to that lead through five innings.  Donisthorpe would pitch into the third before being relieved by McBride.

McBride pitched three scoreless innings but then ran into some trouble in the sixth inning.  After two of the first three Badger hitters grounded out, McBride allowed a couple of doubles and a three walks with an Aggie error mixed in as Wisconsin sent 11 batters to the plate in the inning.  Donisthorpe would reenter the game to stop the bleeding, but by that time the Badgers had marked five runs to take the lead.

After another run in the top of the seventh, Wisconsin held its 7-4 lead heading into the final half inning.  Malena Padilla kicked off the bottom of the seventh with a pinch-hit single.  NM State was aided by a couple of Badger errors that helped Rachel Rodriguez get on and Padilla score.

With Rachel Rodriguez at third and her older sister Staci at first, first baseman Kelsey Dodd hit a sacrifice fly that scored Rachel to cut the lead to 7-6, but it was also the second out of the inning, leaving the Aggies down to their final out.  But Green came up and after fouling the first pitch hit a shot over left-center to give NM State the walk-off victory.

It was Green’s second long ball in as many days, tying her with Staci Rodriguez for the team lead of five home runs on the season.  The home run also gave Donisthorpe a win for the third-straight day as she improved to 8-2 on the year.

Junior right-hander Makayla McAdams started in the circle for the Aggies against DePaul and immediately gave up an unearned run in the bottom of the first.  But NM State struck right back with four runs in the top of the second.

This time Green didn’t finish the rally, but started it with a double to lead off the inning.  Later in the inning the Aggies marked five-consecutive singles that led to a 4-1 NM State advantage.

The Blue Demons picked a run in their half of the second and then two more in the third off of McAdams to knot things up at 4-4 after three innings.  McBride would relieve McAdams after the third and pitch the final four innings.

Adams and Staci Rodriguez would be at it again as the 2-3 hitters both reached base to lead off the top of the fifth.  Both would later score on sacrifice flies the Aggies retook the lead at 6-4.  But not to be outdone, DePaul marked two runs in its half of the fifth to again tie the game.

After a scoreless sixth, the game headed to the final inning with both teams showing six runs on the board.  Leading off the final inning for NM State?  None other than the freshman Green, who finished the tournament 7-for-14 (.500) with two home runs and two doubles, and she did not disappoint as she hit a leadoff single to right field.

Padilla followed with another right-field single to bring up McBride, who proceeded to shoot a double to right center to bring in both Green and Padilla.  McBride then finished off the Blue Demons by inducing a couple of groundouts and a liner to second.

The Aggies now head back home to host round-robin play with North Dakota and Tulsa.  The three teams will play at the NM State Softball Complex beginning Friday, Mar. 6, and concluding on Sunday, Mar. 8.

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