NMSU Softball Sweeps Bakersfield, Clinches 2-Seed In WAC Tournament

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

BAKERSFIELD, CA - New Mexico State softball concluded the regular season with a pair of games against Western Athletic Conference foe CSU Bakersfield at the Roadrunner Softball Complex on Saturday. The Aggies clobbered the ‘Runners 7-4 and 11-3 to complete the series sweep.

GAME ONE

Both teams went scoreless in the first but in the bottom of the second inning, NM State (31-20, 12-6 WAC) starting pitcher Analise De La Roca struggled, allowing a leadoff home run to CSUB (14-30, 3-15 WAC)..

Both teams came up empty in the third but in the top of the fourth, the bats came alive for New Mexico State beginning with a single for Victoria Castro. Casie Roberto and Kayla Bowen hit singles of their own, bringing home the tying run. Sarai Mejia continued the rally with an infield hit, loading the bases, before Kennedy Johnson broke up the stalemate with a ball up to centerfield. Kelsey Horton was given a base on balls, scoring NM State’s third run of the inning and Mya Felder’s sacrifice fly put the Aggies ahead 4-1.

However, the three-run advantage evaporated in the bottom of the frame with a pair of ‘Runners came home on a one-out double. CSU Bakersfield held the momentum and an RBI single with two-outs on the board tied the game.

In the following frame, Shelby Shultes drew a walk before a double by Roberto put a pair of runners into scoring position. Mejia also walked, loading the bases and a single by Jeanelle Medina drove in a run, giving New Mexico State the 5-4 lead.

After a scoreless sixth for NM State. Head coach Kathy Rodolph made a change in the circle, bringing in Samaria Diaz and the junior retired the ‘Runners in order to start her appearance.

During the top of the seventh, a pair of singles began the frame and a sacrifice bunt put the NM State into scoring position. A sacrifice fly by Horton added the sixth run to the board and a single up the middle from Felder gave the Aggies the 7-4 advantage.

Looking for the save, Diaz came back to the circle for the seventh. The pitcher took down the CSUB batters in order, ending the win for New Mexico State.

De La Roca picked up the win to move to 8-5 on the season. She pitched 5.0 innings and allowed four runs on seven hits with one strikeout. Diaz earned her seventh save of the season, facing just six batters during 2.0 innings of work.

GAME TWO

New Mexico State kept its momentum flowing in the series finale and in the second inning, a walk and a pair of singles loaded the bases without an out on the board. A fielder’s choice put one away for NM State but a single by Mejia and a double by Horton put the Aggies ahead 3-0.

The bats stayed hot in the following frame, beginning with a single by Felder. A walk and a fielder’s choice continued the at-bat before Kayla Bowen drove home a run with an RBI single. Johnson hit an RBI single of her own, putting the NM State ahead 5-0 in the third.

During the top of the fourth, Jeanelle Medina brought the offense to life with a leadoff bunt single. Felder was hit by a pitch and Butler received a walk, loading the bases with just one out. Victoria Castro came through with a grand slam, giving the squad the nine-run advantage, Bowen continued the rally with a single and Johnson followed with a homer, allowing New Mexico State to take the 11-0 lead over the ‘Runners.

NM State starting pitcher struck trouble in the bottom of the fourth when she allowed a leadoff homer. Rivas struck out a batter before allowing a pair of singles and a walk, loading the bases. Rodolph went to Diaz in relief and a run scored on a ground out but a strikeout closed out the inning.

Holding the 11-2, Diaz returned for the fifth and the pitcher allowed a one-out single, followed by a double that brought in a run for CSUB. A walk followed the scoring play but Diaz struck out the next two batters, completing the series sweep and giving New Mexico State the 11-3 victory.

Rivas picked up the second win of her freshman campaign, going 3.1 innings and allowing two runs on eight hits while striking out. Diaz went 1.2 inning and gave up one run on two hits while picking up three strikeouts.

The Aggies head to the Phoenix for the 2019 WAC Softball Tournament, hosted by Grand Canyon. As the two-seed, NM State earned a first-round bye and faces the highest seed available on May 9 at 2:30 p.m. MT.