The New Mexico State softball team took one step closer to their first conference title as they outlasted Boise State 11-10 in extra innings in a wild game on Friday night as the two teams opened the three game series. The Aggies saw leads of five and four runs dissipate as the Broncos fought off the Aggies' attempts to run away with the game. Ashley Maroda delivered an 8th inning walk-off solo home run with one out to deliver the victory for the Aggies as they are now just one win away from clinching the first conference title in program history.
After being held scoreless in the bottom of the first inning despite loading the bases, the Aggies scored five runs in the bottom of the second inning to jump out to a 5-0 lead on the Broncos. The Aggies would load the bases with one out to start the inning and then get a single from Kandis Jones to go up 1-0. With the bases still loaded, Tiare Jennings was hit by a pitch from BSU starter Aubrey Zell to push across the Aggies' second run. Hoku Nohara would double down the left field line to drive in two more runs giving the Aggies a 4-0 lead. Zell would unleash a wild pitch and Jennings would score from third to put the Aggies up 5-0.
Boise State would get on the board in the top of the third with a solo shot from Holly Bourke off of Aggie starter Alex Newman. The Aggies, however, would answer with a solo shot of their own off the bat of freshman Valerie Swedberg to lead off the bottom of the third. The home run would send Zell packing as Boise State would bring in reliever Lela Work.
Boise State applied pressure on the Aggie pitching and defense in the top of the fourth as they would get a two-run homer from Christina Capobianco and a solo shot from Kelly Sweeney to cut the lead to 6-4. Uncharacteristically bad defense from the Aggies would allow the Broncos to plate two more runs as the Aggies committed three consecutive errors. The runs would force the Aggies to make a pitching change bringing in Kelsey Scheuler to close out the inning.
Neither team would score again until the bottom of the sixth as the Aggies would retake the lead courtesy of porous defense by the Broncos. Kandis Jones would reach base on an error and then after both Hoku Nohara and Ashley Maroda were retired on strikes, Teresa Conrad would double to left field to drive in Jones. Valerie Swedberg would deliver a double to left center scoring Jennings and Conrad as all three runs scored in the inning were unearned but the Aggies would take the 10-6 lead into the top of the seventh.
After retiring the first Bronco batter of the inning, BSU would put runners at first and second prompting the Aggies to bring Alex Newman back into the circle to pitch. Newman would walk the bases loaded and pinch hitter Vanessa Alvarez would hit an two RBI double to cut the Aggies' lead to 10-8. Tazz Weatherly would single down the right field line scoring two more Broncos and tying the game 10-10. The Aggies would get a ground out and a line out to end the inning and send the game to the 8th inning.
After retiring the first two batters, Newman would give up a walk to Deanna Bridges but would get a force play at second to end the top of the eighth.
After Hoku Nohara grounded out, Ashley Maroda stepped to the plate and delivered the game winning home run, her seventh of the season.
The Aggies move into a tie for first place with Boise State at 15-4 and head into tomorrow's doubleheader with a chance to win the league title outright with two wins. A split tomorrow will give the Aggies a share of the league title and they would earn the 1-seed in next week's WAC tournament by virtue of series victories over Boise State and Fresno State.