NMSU Softball Run-Rules Grand Canyon 10-2 In Six Innings To Advance In WAC Tournament

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

- The New Mexico State softball team opened the 2018 Western Athletic Conference Tournament at the NM State Softball Complex with a contest against fourth-seeded Grand Canyon on Thursday. The Aggies hit four home runs against in the 10-2 run-rule victory over the Lopes. Kelsey Horton launched a pair of long balls in the contest, including her 24th of the season, tying the NM State single-season record.

"Kennedy Johnson did a great job as our designated player," head coach Kathy Rodolph said. "Fahren Glackin absolutely stepped up after GCU made the decision to walk Kelsey (Horton) and that's what we needed her to do. It was a great overall team contribution and we’re excited to play another day."

GCU (28-27, 8-6 WAC) drew first blood when Bianca Boling hit a home run off NM State (27-22, 11-4 WAC) starting pitcher Kayla Green in the top of the second. However, the Lopes lead did not last as Kennedy Johnson launched a long ball out to centerfield, tying the game in the bottom of the frame. Following a single by Caity Szczesny and a walk by Rachel Rodriguez, Horton blasted a three-run homer, giving the Aggies the 4-1 advantage.

In the top of the third, Green hit trouble again in the circle when she allowed a pair of singles with only one out recorded. After an error by Rodriguez loaded the bases, Rodolph brought in Samaria Diaz to pitch. The sophomore allowed a walk to her first batter, bringing in a run for GCU, but she settled in the circle with a strikeout and a pop out ending the at-bat.

Despite New Mexico State's bats going cold in the third, the team rallied in the fourth, when Rodriguez hit a single to right center. Horton followed with her second long ball of the day, her 24th of the season, extending NM State’s 6-2 lead.

The offense remained hot in the bottom of the sixth when Fahren Glackin hit a three-run homer after Szczesny hit a single and Horton reached on an intentional walk. Nikki Butler followed with a single and a pair of walks loaded the bases with just one out recorded. Needing a single run to cross the plate to end the game, Johnson came through with clutch single off the right field fence, bringing in the final run and securing NM State's 10-2 victory.

Diaz picked up the win to move to 5-9 in the circle this season. She went 3.2 innings in relief and allowed just three walks, two hits and struck out a single batter. Green went 2.1 innings and allowed two runs on three hits and struck out a GCU batter.

The Aggies return to the diamond for their next contest in the winner’s bracket of the WAC Tournament where the team faces off against the winner of the game between second-seeded Utah Valley and sixth-seeded UMKC on Friday, May 11, at 1 p.m. MT.