Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.
LAS CRUCES, N.M. - The New Mexico State softball team capped off a series win in its final home game of the year with a 7-1 victory over Utah State in the finale after USU won 5-0 in game one of a doubleheader at the NM State Softball Complex Saturday.
All five NM State (22-28, 3-15 WAC) seniors made an impact on the series finale victory over Utah State (17-33, 4-14). Senior Sydney Williard started in the circle and earned her first win of the season after a solid four innings pitched. She gave up one run on five hits while striking out three USU batters. Fellow senior pitcher Kelsey Schueler came into the game in relief of Williard in the fifth inning before giving way to junior Alex Newman to finish out the game.
Each of the other three seniors registered a hit in the game. Brittany Clifton reached base in all four of her at-bats with two walks and a pair of singles. Shaleese Javillo notched a single and walk while Tiare Jennings drove in two runs with a double in the bottom of the sixth inning. All five seniors were honored in a ceremony following the game. The class of 2012 boasts the second-most win total in program history with 126 victories.
Louisiana Tech's 10-2 victory over Nevada Saturday afternoon eliminated the Aggies from postseason contention and defense of their Western Athletic Conference title. However, NM State's win in game three this weekend eliminated Utah State from the WAC tournament as well.
Freshman Karysta Donisthorpe started game one in the circle for the Aggies against Shelbi Tyteca of USU.
After two scoreless innings, Utah State started the third inning with a single and double. After a wild pitch, NM State changed pitchers as sophomore Celisha Walker came on in relief down 1-0 with a runner on third and no outs.
Walker and Clifton combined to get the first out on a tag at the plate on a fielder's choice. An Aggie error and another fielder's choice resulted with USU runners at the corners and two outs. A home run from Utah State's Kelley Kaneshiro cleared the bases for a 4-0 lead before NM State got out of the inning.
NM State got the first of its five hits in the bottom of the third but could not solve Tyteca in the game despite beating her the previous evening in game one.
Donisthorpe re-entered the game in the top of the fifth to finish the game. USU added another run after a leadoff single and a two-out, RBI double to yield the final score.
Tyteca improved to 5-9 with the win and Donisthorpe dropped to 6-9 on the year after the loss.
In game two, the Aggie bats came alive with seven runs on 11 hits. Dani Chaplin of Utah State started against Williard in the finale.
NM State opened the scoring in the bottom of the second inning. The Aggies batted around in the frame. Freshman Briana Tovio-Asato singles to open the inning. Sophomore Valerie Swedberg reached on a fielder's choice.
Clifton drew a one-out walk. Junior Teresa Conrad reached on an error and advanced to second on the throw. Swedberg came into score for a 1-0 Aggie lead as Clifton moved over to third. Freshman Staci Rodriguez blasted a three-run shot over the left field fence to put the home team up 4-0.
Tyteca entered the game to pitch for USU after a walk to Javillo. The Aggies were unfazed as they loaded the bases but a pair of fielder's choice outs got USU out of the inning down four.
Utah State scored its lone run in the top of the fifth inning on a sacrifice fly to make it 4-1.
The Aggies answered in the bottom of the frame. Tovio-Asato doubled to start the inning. Freshman Chelsea Dohrwardt came into the game to pinch run at second. Clifton followed soon after with a one-out single. She would later steal second base.
With two outs, Rodriguez came up clutch again with a single to score Dohrwardt and put the Aggies up 5-1. Clifton was tagged out at home on the play to end the inning.
The Aggies added two runs in the bottom of the sixth against new USU pitcher Mandy Harmon. A leadoff single from junior Amber Olive and a walk by Malena Padilla started the inning. Jennings' double scored both runners to put NM State in front 7-1.
Chaplin suffered the loss to drop to 5-8 on the year. Williard posted her first win of the season to improve to 1-1.
NM State concludes its season with a three-game road trip to San Jose State next weekend. The Aggies open against the Spartans with a single game at 4 p.m. MT Friday, May 4. The teams conclude the series with a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 5.