Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.
LAS CRUCES, N.M. – The New Mexico State softball team swept Utah Valley on Saturday as the Aggies defeated the Wolverines 4-3 and 7-3.
NM State's Samaria Diaz and UVU's Lauren Frailey battled it out in the first game of the doubleheader. Diaz took the circle first and saw trouble from the start. The freshman hit a batter to start the inning, then Caragh Morris singled to put runners on first and second for Brittney Vansway. Vansway hit her eighth home run of the season to put the Wolverines ahead 3-0.
New Mexico State also got off to a hot start in the first inning. Rachel Rodriguez started with a leadoff single for the Aggies. Haley Nakamura doubled to left field to bring Rodriguez home. As Fahren Glackin picked up the first out of the inning for NM State, she also advanced Nakamara to third base. Kelsey Horton brought Nakamura home on a single, which scored the Aggies second run of the game.
After a scoreless second inning, the Aggies tied the game in the third. Rodriguez hit her first homer of the season over the right field fence to tie the game. The Aggies also scored in the fourth inning as Merina Ili hit her second home run of the season to give NM State the 4-3 advantage.
Despite facing trouble in the first inning, Diaz pitched five-straight innings without allowing a run. Neither pitcher gave up a run in the fifth and sixth innings. Kayla Green came in to relieve Diaz in the seventh. Green closed the door on UVU's chance at a late rally, securing the Aggies 4-3 victory.
New Mexico State carried its momentum from the win into the second game of the doubleheader. After Kayla Green pitched a scoreless first inning, the Aggies put up seven runs in the bottom of the inning.
Rachel Rodriguez started the game with a double for NM State. Haley Nakamura followed Rodriguez by reaching base on an error by the UVU shortstop. Kelsey Horton singled to score the first run of the game and advance Nakamura to third base. Merina Ili followed Horton with a single of her own. Due to obstruction on the play, Nakamura advanced home, which gave the Aggies the 2-0 lead.
Caity Szczesny hit NM State's third straight single, which scored the third run of the game. New Mexico State picked up two-straight walks, which loaded the bases and eventually scored a run for the Aggies. With 4-0 lead, Rodriguez came back to the plate for the second time in the inning. The junior brought the three runners home as she doubled to left field to give NM State the 7-0 advantage.
The Wolverines followed the Aggie scoring run in the first by scoring three runs of their own in the top of the second. Tayor Miller started the rally with a single through the left side. After Basia Query hit into a fielder's choice, Taleigh Williams singled through the left side to put runners on first and second with one out in the inning. Kawehi Kahana doubled to center field, which scored two runs for the Wolverines. Singles by Courtney Beavers and Caragh Morris brought home the final run of the inning.
Makayla Shadle came in to pitch for the Wolverines after starter Bailey Moore gave up seven runs in the inning. Green and Shandle battled it out with each pitcher holding her ground in the circle. Four inning went by with neither pitcher allowing a run. Green pitched her fifth-straight scoreless inning in the seventh and secured the NM State 7-3 victory.
With the sweep, NM State moves to 15-16 while Utah Valley falls to 8-15. Samaria Diaz recorded her sixth win in the first game of the doubleheader as the freshman moves to 6-7 this season. Kayla Green picked up ninth win and her second save of the season in the Aggies victories. UVU's Lauren Frailey fell to 5-5 and Bailey Moore fell to 1-6 in Saturday's losses.
NM State continues conference play as the Aggies travel to take on Seattle U in a three game series. New Mexico State opens the series with a doubleheader on Friday, April 7, beginning at 5 p.m. (MT).