Courtesy of NMSU
LAS CRUCES, N.M. – The New Mexico State softball team began Western Athletic Conference play with a 7-2 win over Utah Valley on Friday night at the NM State Softball Complex.
The Aggies (25-11, 1-0 WAC) are now winners of seven of their last nine games, including two games this week. The Wolverines (12-23, 0-1 WAC) have lost three in a row after losing a doubleheader at No. 2 Oregon earlier this week.
NM State had home runs from Fiana Finau and Tatum Reedy in a four-run third inning that opened up a 2-2 game and also got a brilliant performance from redshirt junior Karysta Donisthorpe in the circle.
The Aggie right-hander pitched all but a third of an inning while only allowing a couple of runs on four hits to improve to 14-3 on the season. Donisthorpe tied a season high by striking out 11 Wolverines.
“She’s (Donisthorpe) done a great job all year for us,” said NM State head coach Kathy Rodolph. “She might have come out just a little bit tight at the beginning, but she started loosening up and using her best stuff and that’s when we’re at our best, when she has good leg movement. I honestly believe this is the best pitching staff in the 12 years that I’ve been here.”
It did not look too promising at the beginning of the game for Donisthorpe, as she allowed three hits, a walk and two runs in the top half of the first. But even while struggling to open the game, the Farmington, N.M., native got all three first-inning outs on strikeouts.
After allowing the two first-inning runs, Donisthorpe would proceed to put down 10-straight Utah Valley batters and only allow a batter to reach base on a walk over the next four innings as she mowed down 12 of the 13 batters.
The Aggie offense, meanwhile, would tie the game at 2-2 with two runs in the bottom half of the second inning before scoring their four runs in the third to break the game open. Staci Rodriguez began the inning with a single before Finau came up and belted her team-leading 12th long ball of the season. Rodriguez finished 2-for-3 at the plate with a run scored and an RBI.
After a Lacey Rother walk and a couple of outs, Reedy came up and hit her fourth homer of the year to give NM State a 6-2 lead after three full innings.
Junior Makayla McAdams came on in relief for the Aggies to start the sixth but struggled with three batters faced. Donisthorpe, however, reentered the matchup and quickly defused a bases-loaded situation. NM State added an unearned run in the sixth to win going away 7-2 and kick off WAC play with a home victory.
The two teams will conclude their three-game series with a doubleheader on Saturday at the NM State Softball Complex beginning at 4 p.m. Game one will air live over Las Cruces radio on both The Ticket AM 570 and KRUX 91.5 FM with Hall of Famer Jack Nixon on the play-by-play while the final game of the series will be streamed live over the Internet for a fee at NMStateSports.com.