Aggies Split Doubleheader with No. 19/20 Sun Devils

Courtesy of NMSU

LAS CRUCES, N.M. – The New Mexico State softball team defeated No. 19/20 Arizona State 6-4 in game one of a doubleheader before falling 12-1 in five innings during the night cap on Monday at the NM State Softball Complex.

The Aggies (31-12) won their eighth-straight game before the streak was broken by the Sun Devils’ (25-12) win in game two.  Staci Rodriguez, who was named the Western Athletic Conference Hitter of the Week earlier in the day, continued her hot hitting streak, finishing the day a combined 3-for-5 and belting two home runs, both in game one, to reach 52 on her NM State career.

Freshman Dallas McBride got the win in the opening game for the Aggies.  The left-hander came on in relief of starter Makayla McAdams and pitched 3.2 innings while only allowing a single run to improve to 9-5 on the season.

“I thought we came out and played tough in the first game, Staci Rodriguez set the tone offensively and our defense played tough behind Dallas and Makayla in the circle,” Aggie head coach Kathy Rodolph said. “Obviously we are disappointed in the way the second game went.  I feel like we fell flat after game one and I know our team feels the same disappointment.  We will get back at it this week and get ready for conference play.”

Arizona State got on the board first in the opening frame with a run off of McAdams, but NM State had a quick response in the bottom of the inning as Rodriguez’s first homer tied the game at 1-1.

Not to be outdone, younger sister Rachel Rodriguez, who finished with a game-high three RBIs in the opener, marked her first RBI in the second after a double to right field scored fellow freshman Corrin Green.

The Aggies led 2-1 and would keep that lead until the top of the fourth when the Sun Devils scored two runs, forcing McAdams out of the game and giving the visitors a 3-2 lead after four innings.

The Rodriguez sisters, however, led NM State to a big four-run fifth inning.  Staci led off the inning by smacking her second home run of the game, a towering shot to left center.  After a Haley Nakamura RBI single scored Kelsey Dodd, Rachel came up and hit a seeing-eye single through the right side to score two more runs as  the Aggies took a 6-3 lead.

Arizona State would get a run back in the top of the sixth, but would get no closer as McBride shut the door in the final inning.  NM State would get its second win over a ranked opponent this season as the Aggies had also defeated No. 18 Nebraska earlier in the season.

The Sun Devils showed why they are a top-20 caliber team as they quickly put the loss behind them and came out swinging in game two.  Arizona State used a grand slam home run by third baseman Haley Steele, who also hit a walk-off grand slam in the first meeting between the two teams in Tempe, to plate five runs off of Aggie starter Karysta Donisthorpe in the first inning.

Steele added another home run in the second, as did All-American Amber Freeman, as the Sun Devils jumped out to a 9-0 lead after only two innings.

The high-octane NM State offense, meanwhile, was silenced by Arizona State starter Breanna Macha.  The Aggies did have their chances, however, leaving runners on second and third in the second inning and also leaving the bases loaded in the third.  But the only offense that came off of the NM State bats in game two was Emma Adams’ fifth home run of the season, which also came in that third inning.

The Sun Devils added three runs in the top of the fourth inning to run-rule the Aggies and take two of the three meetings this season.

NM State now gets back into WAC play by hosting Missouri-Kansas City for a three-game series at the NM State Softball Complex.  The series begins on Friday with a single game starting at 6 p.m. and concludes with a Saturday doubleheader beginning at 4 p.m.

1ST GAME BOX SCORE     2ND GAME BOX SCORE

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