NMSU Softball Drops Doubleheader At No. 13 Arizona

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

TUCSON, AZ - The New Mexico State softball team took on No. 13 Arizona in a doubleheader at Rita Hillenbrand Memorial Stadium on Wednesday. The Aggies fell 7-3 in the first contest against the Wildcats and 9-0 in a five-inning loss.

GAME ONE

Samaria Diaz started in the circle for NM State (23-18, 8-1 WAC) and struggled in the first after giving up a one-out single. The following Arizona (29-12, 6-9 PAC 12) batter swung for the fences and a two-run homer to centerfield put New Mexico State behind 2-0. The deficit grew in the following inning as a solo home run by the Wildcats increased the three-run deficit.

After a scoreless third for both teams, head coach Kathy Rodolph brought in Analise De La Roca to relieve Diaz in the circle. The freshman recorded a pair of outs with ease but struggled for the final out of the inning as she allowed a walk, a single, and hit a batter to load the bases. The pitcher got the final batter to fly out, ending the scoreless inning.

The Aggies looked to rally in the following frame when Kennedy Johnson posted the team's first hit of the game, an infield single to the shortstop. However, New Mexico State could not find a rhythm in the batter's box and stranded the runner to end the inning.

In the bottom of the frame, the Aggies allowed a rally by Arizona, beginning with a leadoff double. Another two-run homer put NM State behind by five runs and after De La Roca gave up a single to the Wildcats, the second home run of the inning put New Mexico State behind 7-0. Mikayla Bongi came in to pitch following the long balls and allowed a single and hit a batter to start her outing before a fly out ended the fifth.

Kelsey Horton began the Aggies' at-bat by drawing a leadoff walk in sixth. After Victoria Castro reached on an error, Nikki Butler posted a clutch double down the right field line to bring home New Mexico State's first run of the game. Arizona pitched back-to-back walks to Fahren Glackin and Johnson to score another NM State and the momentum continued when Caity Szczesny hit a sacrifice fly to bring home the Aggies' third run of the contest.

Szczesny's sacrifice fly scored the final run of the contest as the deficit proved to be too much for New Mexico State to overcome and the team fell 7-3. Diaz picks up the loss, moving her to 3-7 this season. The sophomore pitched 3.0 innings and allowed three runs on three hits. De La Roca pitched 1.2 innings and allowed four runs on five hits while Bongi finished the day with one strikeout in her 1.1 innings of work.

GAME TWO

Diaz earned the start in the second game of the doubleheader and hit trouble when she allowed a two-run homer in the bottom of the first. The sophomore allowed another two-run homer in the following frame, putting NM State behind 4-0.

After a single, a walk and an error in the second allowed the Wildcats to have a pair of runners into scoring position, Rodolph brought in Kayla Green in hopes to contain the damage but an error on the next play brought the Arizona runners home, expanding New Mexico State's deficit.

Trailing 6-0 in the bottom of the fourth, Green looked to pitch her second-straight scoreless inning but allowed a single and hit a batter with two outs on the board. A double and an error spoiled those plans and the team trailed the ranked Wildcats 9-0 heading to the fifth.

In the top of the frame, the Aggie offense looked to extend the game when Shelby Shultes hit a single up the middle with two outs recorded but a lineout to the shortstop ended the contest and the New Mexico State squad fell 9-0.

Diaz moved to 3-8 with the loss as she pitched 1.1 innings and allowed six runs on four hits. Green pitched 2.2 innings in relief and stuck out a single Wildcat batter while also allowing three runs on three hits.

The Aggie squad remains on the road as the team resumes Western Athletic Conference play at Utah Valley. NM State takes on the Wolverines at 2 p.m. MT on Friday before Saturday's doubleheader beginning 1 p.m.