NMSU Softball Upsets No. 17 Kentucky To Open 2018 Season

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - The New Mexico State softball team started the season on a high note when the Aggies took down No. 17 Kentucky 12-9 and 10-6 at the NM State Softball Complex to open the season.

"I really challenged to team to come out, be who we are and play hard," head coach Kathy Rodolph said. "We got great contributions both offensively and defensively. I liked the looks I got from the pitchers in the circle. We've got a good mix of a staff. Not only was our short game good tonight but out power hitters came out and did what we hoped they would do with the runners on base. It was a great start and we know it's back to work tomorrow."

Game One

The Aggies (2-0) jumped out to a hot start in the first inning with a Rachel Rodriguez single. Fahren Glackin and Kelsey Horton walked to load the bases with no outs in the inning. Nikki Butler and Victoria Castro drove in a combined three runs to help the team earn an early lead.

The lead was short lived as Kentucky (0-2) scored four runs in the second to take the advantage from the Crimson and White. The Aggies bounced back, however and posted a pair of runs off hits by Glackin and Horton to reclaim the lead.

After a scoreless third inning, the NM State squad found itself in scoring position once again as the team loaded the bases with one out in the inning. After Butler was hit by a pitch to score a run, Shelby Shultes cleared the bases when the sophomore hit a double to right-center field. A single by Kennedy Johnson scored the final run for New Mexico State in the inning and the team held a commanding 10-5 lead over the Wildcats entering the fifth.

Despite giving up a run to UK in the top of the inning, the Aggies had not lost their momentum. A single by Castro scored the final runs for NM State and the Aggie squad led 12-5 with two innings to play.

The Wildcats did not go down easy and while down to their final two outs, Kentucky posted four runs including home runs by Alex Martens and Abbey Cheek. Despite the late rally the Aggies held on, converting the final outs and taking the 12-9 victory.

Kayla Green earned her first win of the season in the victory. The junior pitched four inning and allowed only one earned run while striking out a pair of batters. Mikayla Bongi picked up the save in her collegiate debut.

Game Two

Samaria Diaz earned the start in the circle in the second game of the doubleheader. Despite pitching a scoreless first inning, the sophomore hit trouble in the second and gave up four earned runs to Kentucky.

New Mexico State fought back in the bottom of the third and after singles by Jeanelle Medina, Rodriguez and Glackin loaded the bases, Horton hit a grand slam to right center, tying the ball game.

In the top of the fourth, Rodolph made a change in the circle after Diaz gave up a two-out single. Junior Green came in to pitch for NM State and faced a single batter as Bailey Vick of Kentucky hit into a fielder's choice for the final out of the inning.

NM State fell behind once more when the Wildcats posted a pair of runs in the fifth to take 6-4 lead over the Aggies. The UK advantage was short-lived as the Aggies posted three runs in the bottom of the inning, which included a leadoff homer by Castro and and RBI from both Glackin and Shultes.

In the sixth inning, the Aggies again put runs on the board, beginning with a two-run homer by Castro. Caity Szczesny reached base on a double down the left-field line and was brought home by a double from Rodriguez.

Down to their final three outs, the Wildcats looked to make a play, but Green pitched a solid inning, taking down UK in order to close out the game and give New Mexico State the 10-6 win. With the victory, Green moved to 2-0 on the season.

NM State closes the series with the ranked Wildcats on Sunday with the first pitch scheduled for 2 p.m. MT.