Courtesy of NMSU
ALBUQUERQUE – The New Mexico State softball team got back on the winning track on Tuesday by defeating its in-state rival New Mexico, 12-6, at the Lobo Softball Field.
The Aggies belted out 17 hits en route to winning their sixth game in their last eight, with the only two losses coming at the hands of No. 17 Arizona.
“I thought we came out attacking, which is what we need to do in these road games,” Aggie head coach Kathy Rodolph said. “We got great pitching from all three girls and also got great defensive play on the field. Overall I think it was a good effort by the entire team.”
The top two home-run hitters for NM State got it done again as senior Staci Rodriguez belted her ninth homer of the season while junior Fiana Finau hit her team-leading 11th four-bagger of the season. Rodriguez finished 3-for-4 at the plate with a game-high four RBIs.
Malena Padilla went 3-for-5 in the box and Brennalyn Nakamura 2-for-4, both Aggies also finished with a couple of RBIs.
In the circle, junior right-hander Karysta Donisthorpe used a couple of stints in relief to pitch three complete innings and pick up the win to improve to 13-3 on the year. She struck out six Lobos while only allowing a couple of hits and no runs.
NM State was on fire right out of the gate, scoring six runs in the first two innings to jump out to a 6-0 lead over UNM.
Rodriguez hit a two-run shot to straight center field in the top half of the first and Finau followed in the second inning with a two-run long ball of her own that capped off a four-run second frame. Rodriguez and third baseman Emma Adams both already had two hits in the first two innings.
Continuing the two-run homer theme, Lobo third baseman Jasmine Casados hit one of her own in the bottom of the third to cut into the Aggie lead. But the visitors answered right back in the top half of the fourth with three more runs to once again extend the lead.
The inning began with a Rachel Rodriguez triple and was followed later in the inning by a Padilla two-RBI single and a Lacey Rother double to left field to score Padilla. By the end of the fourth inning NM State had amassed a 9-2 lead.
With another run in the top of the fifth, the Aggies were three outs away from ending the game in five innings, but the Lobos got two runs in the bottom half of the inning to stay alive. NM State insisted and got another two runs in the top of the sixth to lead 12-4 and again have a chance to close out its rivals, but again UNM extended the game with two runs of its own in the inning.
The 12-6 score, however, would be as close as the Lobos would get as Donisthorpe would come reenter in the final inning and close out the game.
The Aggies now head back home and prepare to begin Western Athletic Conference play this weekend at the NM State Softball Complex. NM State welcomes Utah Valley to Las Cruces for three games. The series begins on Friday with one game beginning at 6 p.m. and concludes on Saturday with a doubleheader slated to start at 4 p.m.