Courtesy of NMSU
LAS CRUCES, N.M. – The New Mexico State softball team capped off a 4-0 week, including a win over rival New Mexico and a 3-0 start to conference play, by winning both the Western Athletic Conference Pitcher and Hitter of the Week awards as Karysta Donisthorpe and Fiana Finau won each respective honor, the conference announced Monday.
The Aggies, the top offensive team in the WAC and one of the top offenses in the country, have dominated the hitter of the week award as this is the fifth time in eight weeks, and third-straight week, a NM State player has taken the honor. The three-consecutive awards started with Finau two weeks ago and continued with Malena Padilla winning the award last week.
Donisthorpe, meanwhile, is having a breakout year in 2015. After only picking up one WAC Pitcher of the Week honor in her first two seasons, the redshirt junior has now won three such awards this season, bringing her career total to four pitcher of the week honors. Finau’s two hitter of the week awards this season also puts her at four for her career.
“We are very proud of Karysta and Fiana,” Aggie head coach Kathy Rodolph said. “Karysta was very consistent all week and Fiana has been in such a great place offensively all season and it’s fun to see her hard work paying off.”
Finau, a junior from Chula Vista, Calif., went 6-of-14 in four games last week with five extra-base hits for a .429 batting average. She hit a home run in each of the four games and posted 11 RBIs and a 1.357 slugging percentage. She now has hit a home run in five-straight games, tying a team and WAC record and only two games away from the NCAA record.
Finau began the week by hitting a long ball to cap off a four-run inning against in-state rival New Mexico. She then continued her home run streak by hitting a long ball in each game of a three-game series versus WAC opponent Utah Valley, including a walk-off homer in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader.
She leads the WAC with 14 home runs and 46 RBIs on the year. Her 14 home runs have already tied her total from 2014 and place her No. 9 in the nation in home runs.
Donisthorpe, a native of Farmington, N.M., went 2-0 with a 1.45 ERA and 17 strikeouts in just 9.2 innings of work last week.
Against New Mexico, Donisthorpe used a couple of stints in relief to pitch three complete innings and pick up the win. She struck out six Lobos while only allowing two hits and no runs.
As the starter in the first game of the WAC-opening series against Utah Valley, she pitched all but a third of an inning en route to the win to improve to 14-3 on the year. Donisthorpe allowed just four hits and tied a season high by striking out 11 batters. For the week, she limited opponents to a .167 batting average.
Donisthorpe leads the Aggies with a 2.86 ERA on the season and 96 strikeouts, only nine away from a career high. Her 14 wins is already a career high for a season and place her 27th in the country in victories.
NM State will hit the road for the first time in WAC play as it heads to Seattle, Wash., for a three-game series versus Seattle U this weekend. The Aggies return home to face top-20 Arizona State on Monday, Apr. 6, at the NM State Softball Complex.