NMSU Softball Splits Doubleheader At Grand Canyon

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

PHOENIX, AZ - The New Mexico State softball team took on Grand Canyon in a Western Athletic Conference doubleheader at the GCU Softball Complex on Friday night. Kelsey Horton's 17th home run of the season helped the Aggies defeat the Lopes 6-5 in the opening contest. Despite holding a 4-1 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh, NM State fell 5-4 in the second game of the series.

GAME ONE

After a scoreless first inning for both squads, New Mexico State (22-16, 7-1 WAC) attacked the GCU (22-21, 3-4 WAC) defense beginning with a triple by Amy Bergeson. Sarai Mejia grounded out for the second out of the Aggies at-bat, but Bergeson was able to score on the play, giving New Mexico State the early 1-0 advantage.

The NM State lead did not last when Samaria Diaz hit trouble with two out recorded in the bottom of the frame. The sophomore gave up back-to-back singles and a triple down the right field line brought the runners home, giving Grand Canyon the 2-1 lead.

The bats remained hot for the Aggies in the top of the third when Horton hit a solo homer to right center, tying the game. Three-straight singles for NM State loaded the bases in a hurry and an error by the Lopes' shortstop scored the second run of the inning. Caity Szczesny continued the rally with an RBI single and another error by GCU scored a run on the play. New Mexico State's final run of the innings came at the bat of Mejia when she grounded out but score Bergeson to give the Aggies the 6-2 lead.

After giving up a leadoff single in the bottom of the fourth inning, head coach Kathy Rodolph brought in Kayla Green to relieve Diaz in the circle. The junior posted a scoreless inning but hit trouble in the fifth when she allowed back-to-back singles and hit a batter. A groundout and a single by GCU brought in three-runs, cutting the NM State lead to a single run.

The Aggies were unable to score again in the contest but Green was able to hang on and pitch a pair of scoreless frames to clinch the 6-5 victory. The junior improved to 12-7 with the win as she pitched 4.0 innings and allowed three runs on four hits while striking out a batter. Diaz pitched 3.0 innings and allowed two runs on four hits while striking out three GCU batters.

GAME TWO

After beginning the game with three scoreless innings for both teams, NM State rallied in the top of the fourth beginning with Horton getting hit by a pitch. Victoria Castro hit single to left field to put runners on first and second with Fahren Glackin coming to the plate. The senior hit her fifth triple of the season, clearing the bases to give NM State the 2-0 advantage. Rachel Rodriguez brought the senior home with a single up the middle for the final Aggie run of the inning.

In the bottom of the frame, the Lopes looked to score after a lead after a single and a ground out put a runner into scoring position for GCU. Another Lopes single scored the first run for Grand Canyon, cutting NM State's lead to 3-1.

Two-straight scoreless innings for both squads brought the game to the seventh, where NM State looked to add another run to its advantage after Kennedi Sorensen recorded a leadoff single. With Anne Marie "Buddy" Vargas in to pinch run for the freshman, a sacrifice bunt advanced the runner to second. An error by GCU scored Vargas and gave the Aggies the 4-1 lead.

However, in the bottom of the seventh, a single, a fielder's choice and a hit batter loaded the bases without an out recorded. Rodolph looked to Analise De La Roca to get the team out of the jam but the freshman allowed a single and a double, tying the game. Green came back to the circle but a single up the middle by Grand Canyon ended the contest, handing the Aggies their first loss in conference play.

De La Roca moved to 7-3 with the loss. She allowed a run and a pair of hits while facing just two batters. Green went 7.0 innings, allowing four runs on 11 hits.

The team closes the series with the Lopes on Saturday with first pitch of the series finale scheduled for 6 p.m. MT.