Courtesy of NMSU
LAS CRUCES, N.M. – New Mexico State softball players Staci Rodriguez and Fiana Finau have been selected as part of the National Fastpitch Coaches’ Association (NFCA) All-Region teams, the association announced Thursday.
The Aggies belong to the Pacific Region, where Finau was placed on the all-region second team while Rodriguez was placed on the all-region third team. The Pacific Region is one of the toughest regions in the country, a region that includes powerhouse Oregon, Cal, Washington and Fresno State among others.
“Fiana and Staci have had stellar seasons so far and certainly have earned the all-region nod,” NM State head coach Kathy Rodolph said. “We are very proud of their body of work and glad it was recognized in our tough region.”
Finau, a junior from Chula Vista, Calif., adds the all-region award to her All-Western Athletic Conference first team honor. She was also an All-WAC first teamer last year during her first season at NM State.
During the WAC Tournament clinching game on Saturday versus Bakersfield, Finau slammed her 24th home run of the season, tying former Aggie Hoku Nohara for the most home runs by a NM State player in a single season.
Her 24 long balls place her in a tie for fifth in the nation in home runs. Finau also has 71 RBIs this year, ninth best in the country. She is two RBIs short of tying the single-season RBI record for NM State. Finau also broke the WAC record for home runs per game in conference games by finishing WAC games this season averaging 0.60 home runs per game.
The reigning and two-time WAC Player of the Year Rodriguez, meanwhile, picks up her third-consecutive NFCA All-Region honor. The senior leader from Paramount, Calif., was a first-team all-region member in 2013 when she also was the WAC Player of the Year and was also placed on the all-region third team last season.
Rodriguez leads the team with a .408 batting average and 16 doubles. Her 15 home runs bring her career total to 55 homers, second only to Nohara who finished her career with 64 home runs.
She ranks eighth nationally in sacrifice flies (6), 16th in runs per game (1.17) and 29th in walks per game (0.78) while her .523 batting average in WAC games ranks third all-time.
Rodriguez also entered the NM State record books this season after scoring 70 runs, a new team record for runs scored in a season. The 70 runs also give her 191 runs for her career, also a new NM State record.
The Aggies begin play in the NCAA Tucson Regional Friday at 5:30 p.m. (MDT) with a rematch with No. 11/15 Minnesota. NM State and the Golden Gophers met earlier this year at the Diamond Devil Invitational in Tempe, Ariz., where the Aggies fell 1-6. Click on the link provided for full regional access.