Courtesy of NMSU
LAS CRUCES, N.M. – New Mexico State softball outfielder Malena Padilla has been named the Western Athletic Conference Hitter of the Week for the week of Mar. 16-22, the conference announced Monday.
This is the first-ever hitter of the week award for the senior from Oakley, Calif. and the second-consecutive week the Aggies have won the award as Fiana Finua took the honor last week. It is also the fourth for NM State this season. Emma Adams picked up the first WAC Hitter of the Week award for the Aggies earlier this season and freshman Corrin Green followed a short time later.
“Malena has come through with clutch RBIs all season,” NM State head coach Kathy Rodolph said. “I’m happy she has been recognized for her performance last week because it was pivotal for us.”
Padilla finished with a .571 batting average, a 1.429 slugging percentage and a .571 on-base percentage in three games last week, posting a pair of home runs and seven RBIs.
Her two home runs were her seventh and eighth of the season, tying her for second-most on the team this season.
Padilla’s first long ball came in a come-from-behind win versus I-10 rival UTEP, a grand slam that was part of an eight-run sixth inning for the Aggies, who trailed 6-4 entering the inning. She finished the game with five RBIs, tying a season high.
After hitting her first-career grand slam last year at the season-ending WAC Tournament, she now has three grand slams this season, and they have all come late in games, oddly enough all in the sixth inning, and all at crucial times in close games.
Padilla then got a hit during each game of a doubleheader against No. 17 Arizona, extending her current hitting streak to seven games. In the second game against the Wildcats, she hit her second home run of the week and picked up two more RBIs to now lead the squad with 36 RBIs on the season.
NM State heads to Albuquerque on Tuesday to meet I-25 rival New Mexico before coming back home to Las Cruces to begin WAC play with three games versus Utah Valley this weekend. The Aggies take on the Wolverines on Friday at 6 p.m. before a doubleheader on Saturday beginning at 4 p.m.