Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.
EL PASO, TX - The New Mexico State softball team completed a home-and-home sweep of UTEP with a 9-5 victory over the Miners at the Helen of Troy Softball Complex Tuesday night.
NM State (10-2) took the lead in the top of the third inning with four runs on four hits to take a 4-0 advantage into the fourth over UTEP (4-5). The Aggies would never trail in the ball game.
Junior Alex Newman started in the circle for the Aggies. The right hander earned the win giving up five runs on nine hits in six and a third innings pitched to improve to 7-1 this season.
After two scoreless innings, NM State put four consecutive batters on base against UTEP starter Colleen Hohman. With one out, sophomore Valerie Swedberg singled to start the rally. Freshman Kelsey Dodd walked and classmate Jackie Candelaria came into the game as a pinch runner.
Freshman Staci Rodriguez doubled to bring in a run. A single by classmate Briana Tovio-Asato made it 2-0 after she belted a single to left. Rodriguez scored on a wild pitch to make it 3-0 Aggies. A two-out double from junior Tehani Kaaihue scored Tovio-Asato to put NM State up 4-0 after three.
The Aggies added one in the fourth when a leadoff walk by sophomore Kristi Covarrubia led to an unearned run after a Miner error. Swedberg hit a deep sacrifice fly to score Covarrubia from third.
UTEP hit a solo home run to right center to cut the Aggie lead to 5-1 after four innings.
NM State kept the offense going in the fifth, extending the lead to 7-1. Kaaihue hit a one-out single and junior Amber Olive walked. Another walk to senior Tiare Jennings loaded the bases before Swedberg ripped another double to score a pair of runs with two outs.
The Miners posted an inside-the-park grand slam in the bottom of the sixth when a fly ball got past a diving Olive, dribbling to the left field wall. The four runs cut the Aggie lead down to 7-5 headed into the final inning.
NM State added a pair of insurance runs in the top of the seventh. Jennings hit a two-out double. Swedberg followed with a double to score Jennings. A single by freshman pinch hitter Malena Padilla scored Swedberg to make it 9-5 heading into the bottom of the seventh.
Newman got the first Miner batter to strike out but allowed a single to the next batter. Freshman Karysta Donisthorpe came on to get the final two outs with strikeouts to clinch the victory.
Later this week the Aggies face another difficult road challenge at the Cathedral City Classic in Palm Springs, Calif. NM State will play five games this weekend beginning Friday night against San Diego State. Other opponents include Long Island and three top-25 teams from the Pac-12 in No. 3 Cal, No. 14 Stanford and No. 19 Oregon.