Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.
LAS CRUCES, N.M. - The New Mexico State softball team defeated Utah Valley 8-5 on Friday to open Western Athletic Conference play.
How it happened
NM State's Kayla Green and UVU's Lauren Frailey dueled in the first inning as each pitcher took down each batter she faced. However, Green hit trouble in the second inning as Utah Valley scored two runs off the sophomore. Lyndsay Steverson started the inning by drawing a leadoff walk. After advancing to third on a passed ball and a ground ball, Steverson came around to score on a single by teammate Taleigh Williams. Williams also scored in the inning as she came home on a wild pitch by Green.
The Aggies trailed 2-0 entering the bottom of the second inning, but Kelsey Horton started a rally with a single followed by a stolen base. Victoria Castro walked, which put runners on the corners for Rachel Rodriguez. Rodriguez grounded out but Horton was able to score. Kaitlyn Rubio followed with a single that scored Castro and tied the game 2-2.
NM State challenged UVU in the third and fourth innings as the Aggies put up three runs in each inning. Haley Nakamura singled up the middle to start the third inning. After advancing to second on sacrifice bunt by Caity Szczesny, Nakamura came home on a double by Fahren Glackin. Horton followed the double with a single to put runners on the corners with Nikki Butler at the plate. Butler singled to left field, which brought Glackin home and gave the Aggies the 4-2 advantage. Rodriguez finished the Aggies' scoring rally by hitting the fourth single of the inning, which scored Horton.
In the fourth inning, Nakamura hit a one-out single to put the first runner on base. Szczesny walked to put the runners on first and second. Glackin hit into a fielder's choice, which put runners on the corners with Horton at the plate. Horton doubled to score Nakamura and gave New Mexico State a 6-2 lead. With the runners in scoring position, Butler singled through the right side and brought home the Aggies final two runs.
After a scoreless fifth and sixth inning for both teams, NM State looked to close out the game in the top of the seventh. However, the Aggies hit trouble as the Wolverines attempted a late rally. After a walk and an error put runners on first and second, Caragh Morris singled to score a run for Utah State. Brittney Vansway and Lyndsay Steverson hit back-to-back singles for UVU to score two runs for the Wolverines. Utah Valley's rally came up short as the Aggies turned a double play to end the game,and secure their first conference victory.
With the win, NM State moves to 13-16 this season and 1-0 in WAC play. UVU falls to 8-13 and 0-1 in conference. Green pitched her fifth complete game to move to 8-9 this season. Lauren Frailey fell to 5-4 in the Wolverines' loss.
New Mexico State continues conference play against Utah Valley as the Aggies and Wolverines face off in a doubleheader starting at 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 1.