Aggie Softball Splits A Pair Of Games At Diamond Devil Invite

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

TEMPE, AZ - The New Mexico State softball team began play at the Diamond Devil Invitational, hosted by Arizona State, on Friday by splitting two games at Farrington Stadium to move to 6-6 on the season.

The Aggies lost to the 15th-ranked Minnesota Golden Gophers, 6-1, before shutting out the Indiana State Sycamores, 4-0, the third shutout of the season for NM State.

Redshirt junior Karysta Donisthorpe started both games in the circle for NM State and received the decision in both games to move to 5-2 on the season. Left fielder Malena Padilla and second baseman Brennalyn Nakamura each had a home run on the day. Senior center fielder Staci Rodriguez finished the day hitting .500 after going 3-for-6 at the plate.

“I’m very proud of the way we came out and battled in both games today,” Aggie head coach Kathy Rodolph said. “We had some mistakes in the first game that cost us, but we aren’t repeating mistakes. The preconference schedule is all about getting experience and growing, and we are doing a good job at that.”

The Aggies began the day, and the tournament, by facing the Golden Gophers (9-1), who began the season with eight-straight wins before suffering a loss. Minnesota pitcher Sara Groenewegen (5-1) was dominant in the circle, only allowing four total hits to two NM State players.

Padilla marked the only run off of Groenewegen after a solo shot in the top of the seventh, her team-leading fourth dinger of the season. Padilla also added a single. The only other two hits for NM State were also singles, both by Rodriguez.

The Golden Gophers marked a run in the first and another in the third, but the Aggies were still in tight 2-0 game after three full innings. Donisthorpe, however, allowed a leadoff home run and then hit the next batter to start the bottom of the fourth. Freshman Dallas McBride would come in to relieve Donisthorpe. Each Aggie pitcher would throw three innings.

Minnesota would go on to score three runs in the frame to open up a 5-0 lead. The Golden Gophers added another home run in the bottom half of the fifth to mark their final run of the game. Padilla’s long ball in the final inning wasn’t nearly enough as the Aggies fell to Minnesota 6-1.

NM State immediately turned around and played its second game of the morning, a matchup with Indiana State (2-3). Donisthorpe would once again head to the circle for the Aggies, but this time with better results.

The NM State right-hander was given some early run support after the Aggies marked four unearned runs in the bottom half of the second inning after Padilla and McBride both reached on infield Sycamore errors to start the inning.

Padilla and McBride would both come in to score after senior first baseman Kelsey Dodd slammed a ball to center field for a two-RBI double. A couple of batters later Nakamura would belt her first homer of the season to bring in Dodd and give NM State a 4-0 advantage.

Nakamura also added a single during her only other at bat to finish the game 2-for-2 with two RBIs. The four runs would be the only scoring for either team during the entire game.

After allowing a single in each of the first two innings, Donisthorpe would not allow another hit over the next two-plus innings as the only Indiana State base runners came on an error and a walk. Donisthorpe would finish the game pitching 4.1 innings while only allowing two hits, one walk and striking out four batters.

Junior right-hander Makayla McAdams would enter the game in relief and pitch just as well. She only allowed one hit in her 2.2 innings of work as the two Aggie pitchers combined for the three-hit shutout.

“It’s good to see Karysta, Dallas and Mac attacking their game plans in the circle,” Rodolph said. “We keep improving each week and our seniors are doing a good job leading.”

NM State continues participation at the Diamond Devil Invitational by playing two more games on Saturday. The Aggies meet Boise State at 9 a.m. (MT) before facing Colorado State at 11:15 a.m. This will be the second meeting this season between NM State and the Rams as the two teams met in Las Cruces during the Hotel Encanto Invitational, an 8-2 Aggie win.

The Aggies conclude play in Tempe by meeting host and 19th-ranked Arizona State on Sunday at 1 p.m. All games will have live stats available at Sunday’s game versus the Sun Devils will also be streamed live over the Internet for free. Click HERE for access. Fans can also click on the link provided for the Diamond Devil Invitational home page.

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