Courtesy of NMSU
LAS CRUCES, N.M. – The New Mexico State softball team won both games of a doubleheader on Saturday against Missouri-Kansas City, including a come-from-behind win in game two, to sweep the three-game series and remain perfect at 9-0 in Western Athletic Conference play.
The Aggies (34-12, 9-0 WAC) won game one 8-3 behind freshman Dallas McBride who improved to 10-5 in the circle. But the big win of the day came in the nightcap as NM State was down at one point 9-3 to the ‘Roos before a Kelsey Dodd home run, her second of the game, tied the score at 9-9 in the sixth inning.
After Karysta Donisthorpe took down UMKC in order in the top half of the final inning, senior Malena Padilla hit a one-out triple to straight-away center before third baseman Emma Adams brought her home a couple of batters later with a two-out walk-off single to give the Aggies a 10-9 come-from-behind victory.
NM State, possessing one of the top offenses in the nation, hit three home runs in the first game and four in the second. Fiana Finau hit a long ball in each game to bring her WAC-leading total to 18 on the season. Dodd also had her two in the second game, McBride helped her own cause with her fifth homer of the season in game one, a game in which Brennalyn Nakamura led off the first with a shot over the fence, and last but not least freshman Corrin Green hit a homer in game two in what was the day of her birth.
“We got some great contributions from a lot of folks today when UMKC battled us tough,” Aggie head coach Kathy Rodolph said. “We showed a lot of maturity and poise to stay the course, trust our approaches and play pitch by pitch when we got behind in the second game. We need to appreciate that battle, rest tomorrow and get back after things on Monday.”
Nakamura’s home run quickly gave the Aggies a 1-0 lead after one inning in game one. But the second inning was where the home team exploded as UMKC starter Katie Kelley was roughed up for six more runs before being pulled.
McBride began the inning with a home run to left field. The rest of the runs were scored on five singles and four walks as NM State sent 12 batters to the plate and jumped out to a 7-0 lead after just two innings.
In the circle, meanwhile, McBride began the game by walking the ‘Roos lead-off batter and then proceeded to put down 11-straight batters before hitting center fielder Cinda Ramos with a pitch. The walk and hit batsmen, however, is all the runners McBride would allow through the first four innings as the freshman took a no-hitter into the fifth inning.
The ‘Roos would finally get their first hit after Marlee Maples led off the top of the fifth with a double. She would immediately score UMKC’s first run after Caitlin Christopher followed with an RBI single. Donisthorpe would come in to face four batters and get two outs before McBride reentered to get the final out of the inning.
The Aggies got the run right back in the bottom of the frame after Finau hit one over the left-field wall. The NM State junior would hit a home run in all three games this weekend versus the ‘Roos. UMKC would mark one run in the final inning, but McBride made sure that is all they would get as she finished the game pitching 6.1 innings while only allowing five hits and three runs and striking out seven.
Game two had a casual start as neither team scored in the first two innings. The ‘Roos, however, took their first lead of the series after posting three runs on Aggie starter Makayla McAdams in the third inning. NM State got one back in the bottom half of the inning after Green’s seventh long ball of the season, but UMKC added two more runs off of McAdams in the fourth to take a 5-1 lead heading into the bottom of the fourth.
Dodd would make sure the Aggies stayed in the game after belting a two-run shot to right field in the bottom half of the frame to close the gap to 5-3 after four full innings.
Donisthorpe would come in relief of McAdams to start the fifth, but the UMKC’s bats stayed hot as Donisthorpe was immediately roughed up for four runs in the inning as the ‘Roos took a commanding 9-3 lead.
But NM State would continue to chip away as two more runs came its way in its half of the fifth. This time it would be Finau with a two-run shot to cut the UMKC lead to 9-5 after five innings.
Donisthorpe, meanwhile, settled down in the circle, allowing only one hit in the final two innings to pick up her second victory of the series and improve to 17-4 on the season.
Still, the Aggies were down by four with only two innings to play, but when you are as explosive offensively as NM State, it only takes one inning, and it did as the Aggies marked four runs in the sixth inning, the big shot being Dodd’s second long ball of the game, a three-run shot to left center that easily cleared the fence and tied the game. Padilla and Adams would then put the final icing on the comeback cake with their two last-inning hits.
The Aggies now step out of conference for the second meeting this season versus I-25 rival New Mexico. The two teams will square off on Tuesday at the NM State Softball Complex beginning at 6 p.m. in a game which will be produced for television by AggieVision. NM State has already defeated the Lobos 12-6 in Albuquerque earlier this season.