NMSU Softball Sweeps Doubleheader Against UTEP

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - New Mexico State softball took on Battle of I-10 rival UTEP in a doubleheader at the NM State Softball Complex on Tuesday. The Aggies completed the season sweep of the Miners as the team took down UTEP 8-6 and 8-0.

"These were good games for us tonight," head coach Kathy Rodolph said. "We had solid contributions in the circle and offensively. The defensive highlight of the night was definitely our outfield. They had great range all over and made some great plays for us."

Kayla Green earned the start in the circle and junior gave up a walk to begin the game. After the UTEP (11-23) runner advanced to second on a wild pitch by NM State (15-14), a fly ball and a ground out put a pair of outs on the board but also advanced the runner to third. A passed ball during the Miners' at bat scored the opposition from third, leaving the Aggies behind 1-0.

The UTEP advantage did not last as Rachel Rodriguez and Fahren Glackin reached on a single and a walk, respectively. After a ground out advanced the pair, Nikki Butler hit a long sacrifice fly to score Rodriguez and tie the game.

The Aggie bats remained hot in the second and a walk, a single and a sacrifice bunt put a pair of runners into scoring position early in the inning. After a strikeout left New Mexico State down to their final out of the frame, Rodriguez posted a triple to score the pair of runners and give NM State the 3-1 lead. After Glackin walked, Kelsey Horton hit a single through the left side to score a run and extend New Mexico State's advantage. Butler followed with a double, scoring Glackin and Horton and Victoria Castro came away with a single, scoring the Aggies sixth run of the inning.

After a scoreless third for both teams, NM State looked to add to is 7-1 advantage when Glackin reached for the third time in the contest. With the senior on second, a wild pitch by the Miners' pitcher advanced Glackin to third with Horton at the plate. The junior walked, putting runners on the corners and Butler's second sacrifice fly of the game scored another run for New Mexico State.

Despite the surge in the Aggie offense, NM State struggled in the fifth. With Samaria Diaz in the circle for Green, the sophomore allowed a walk and a single before giving up a three-run home run to Courtney Clayton of UTEP. Green reentered for the Aggies following the play and pitched a scoreless fifth, but the damage was done and New Mexico State's lead was cut to 8-4.

The Aggie defense struggled again in the sixth when the team allowed a pair of runs off three errors in the inning. Despite the late rally from UTEP, Green and NM State held on by taking down the Miners in order in the top of the seventh to hold on for the 8-6 victory.

Green improves to 8-7 this season with the victory. The junior pitched 6.0 innings and allowed just two hits and did not give up a single earned run. She also struck out four Miner batters while only walking three.

The second contest of the doubleheader went back-and-forth with each team pitching a scoreless pair of innings. However, the Aggie offense came alive in the third, beginning with Nicole Spykstra and Glackin picking up a pair of walks. Horton brought in the duo when she hit the 11th homer of her junior campaign down the left field line. Following the long ball, Butler walked and Castro came away with the second home run of the inning, giving NM State the 5-0 advantage.

In the following inning, a pair of walks and a fielder's choice put runners on the corners for New Mexico State with two outs recorded. Castro came up clutch once again, this time, with a single through the left side to bring in a run. An error by UTEP's left fielder helped the Aggies score Butler from first on the play and NM State held a 7-2 advantage after the fourth.

Looking for the run-rule victory in the fifth, Shelby Shultes got the offense going with a double to right field. After Jeanelle Medina came in to pinch run for the catcher, a passed ball allowed the runner to advance to third. Down to the final out in the innings, Rodriguez put the game away with a single up the middle, securing NM State's 8-0 win.

Analise De La Roca picked up the complete shutout as the freshman pitched 5.0 innings while allowing just four hits and only one walk in the victory. She also posted three strikeouts and the right-handed pitcher now stands at 5-1 on the season.

For their next contests, the Aggies hit the road for their first Western Athletic Conference series at UMKC. The series opener against the Roos is set for 5 p.m. MT on Friday while Saturday's doubleheader begins at 11 a.m.