NMSU Softball Splits Doubleheader With GCU, Shares WAC Regular Season Title With Lopes

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - New Mexico State split a doubleheader with Grand Canyon on Saturday as the Aggies won the early game 13-5 but fell in the series finale 13-10. Despite losing the series, NM State ended conference play as the Western Athletic Conference Regular Season Co-Champions along with GCU.

Game One

After a scoreless first inning, Grand Canyon (36-15, 11-4) drew first blood as two singles and a walk loaded the bases with two outs in the inning. Back-to-back singles by Jenna Coates and Madelyn Dowdle gave GCU the 2-0 lead.

The Aggies scored a run of their own in the bottom of the inning as three-straight singles for NM State (23-22, 11-4) loaded the bases. Rachel Rodriguez's keen eye at the plate led to a walk, scoring New Mexico State's first run. NM State scored again in the third inning as Victoria Castro hit a two-run blast over the left field fence to give the Aggies a 3-2 lead.

With two outs in the fourth inning, Kelsey Horton sent a long ball to right field for her 14th home run of the season. Kaitlyn Rubio followed Horton's lead when she also hit a homer to right field in the next at-bat.

GCU fought back in the fifth when Laynee Gomez and Niki Gonzales hit back-to-back singles to start the inning. Megan Stevens hit a home run to left field, tying the game at five.

In the bottom of the fifth, Misty Hoohuli started a rally for the Aggies by hitting a single over the third baseman's head. Rodriguez singled and Haley Nakamura reached on an error, scoring two on the play. Horton was hit by a pitch and Rubio hit a double which cleared the bases for NM State. Castro followed with a single to right field, bringing Rubio home for a 10-5 lead over the Lopes. After Fahren Glackin walked, Caity Szczesny doubled to center field, putting runners on the corners for Alexis Maynez. Maynez hit a long ball that hit the top of the fence and stayed inside the park. Glackin and Szcezesny came home on the play, giving NM State the 12-5 advantage over GCU.

New Mexico State struck again in the sixth as Horton and Rubio drew two-straight walks. Castro hit the game ending double, scoring Horton for the Aggies 13-5 victory.

Game Two

The Lopes struck first in the series finale when a single and an error put runners on with no outs in the inning. With the runners on the corners, Megan Stevens singled to center, scoring the first run of the game. Camree Wartman grounded out to second but was able to score Laynee Gomez from third, giving the Lopes the early 2-0 lead.

The Aggies came back in the bottom of the inning with three walks, loading the bases with one out. Victoria Castro hit a grand slam out to center field to put New Mexico State ahead 4-2.

In the top of the second Madelyn Dowdle started a rally with a one-out single for the Lopes. A double by Kendsey Hill and a single by Gomez scored two runs for Grand Canyon, tying the game. Gonzales broke the stalemate with a two-run long ball to left field.

Trailing 6-4 in the bottom of the third, Fahren Glackin got the Aggies within one with a solo home run to center field. Caity Szczesney walked and advanced to third on a double by Nikki Butler. Destiny Blueford lined out to left field but Szczesny was able to score on the play, tying the game once again.

After back-to-back walks for the Aggies in the fourth inning, Castro hit her second home run of the game to give NM State a 9-6 advantage over GCU. The Lopes walked another Aggie batter and Butler hit a single to center, bringing in the tenth run of the game for New Mexico State.

Grand Canyon fired back with a five-run sixth inning. A walk and back-to-back singles for the Lopes started the rally. An error by the Aggies' right fielder scored another run for GCU, pulling the Lopes within a score of NM State. Grand Canyon retook the lead on a two-out homer by Sierra Smith. The long ball to center field scored three runs, giving Grand Canyon the 12-10 advantage. Bianca Boling hit a long ball of her own in the seventh, sealing the Aggies fate in the 13-10 loss.

Samaria Diaz recorded the win in the circle in NM State's 13-5 victory. The freshman pitched a complete game allowing five runs on eight hits and struck out one in her 12th win of the season. Kayla Green fell to 11-14 with the loss in the series finale. The sophomore pitched six innings allowing 10 runs on 13 hits.

With the series marking the end of conference play, New Mexico State's Kelsey Horton etched her name in the WAC regular season record books. She set the single season record for batting average (.535) and slugging percentage (1.258). She also tied the home runs per game record which was set by Fiana Finau in 2015.

The Aggies hit the road as they take on in-state rival New Mexico on Tuesday, May 2, at 5 p.m. (MT). NM State finishes the regular season at home as the team hosts Florida Atlantic in a doubleheader on Thursday, May 4, at 5 p.m.