POSTED: Monday, April 4, 2011 - 11:17pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, April 5, 2011 - 3:03pm
The New Mexico State softball team dropped a one-run contest to New Mexico, 3-2, in the first game of the Rio Grande Rivalry at the NM State Softball Complex Monday night.
The loss snaps the Aggies' eight-game overall win streak and NM State four-game win streak against UNM dating back to 2009. The visiting Lobos never trailed in the game after jumping out to an early 2-0 lead in the top of the second with two solo home runs.
NM State (27-11, 6-0 WAC) connected on just five hits against the Lobos. Senior Vanessa Valles led the offense reaching base three times on two hits and a walk. Junior Tiare Jennings blasted a solo home run in the bottom of the third to cut the Lobo lead to 3-2 but NM State could not bring across the tying run, stranding eight base runners.
"I think when we got behind early, we began to press," said head coach Kathy Rodolph.
New Mexico (14-15) won just their second game in their last six outings by scoring three runs on five hits. Kari Gutierrez started for the Lobos giving up both earned runs before Kaela DeBroeck came on in relief in the fourth inning.
Sophomore Alex Newman started in the circle for the Aggies and retired UNM in order in the first inning before yielding the pair of home runs in the second. As a result, freshman Celisha Walker came into the game to pitch the final five innings of the game allowing one run on three hits.
UNM got on the scoreboard first in the top of the second with a one-out solo homer for an early 1-0 lead. Two batters later another Lobo hit a solo home run to make it 2-0 UNM heading into the bottom of the second.
NM State cut the lead in half in the bottom of the inning. Sophomore Teresa Conrad walked. Valles singled through the right side with one out to advance Conrad. Aggie freshman Valerie Swedberg singled to load the bases. Sophomore Tehani Kaaihue hit an RBI single to score Conrad with two outs and cut the margin to 2-1 UNM after two.
The Lobos added a third run in the top of the third. A one-out double followed by a two-out single scored the visitors' final run of the game for a 3-1 New Mexico lead.
The Aggies responded in the third when Jennings blasted her sixth home run of the year to straightaway center to account for the 3-2 final score.
Neither team would score in the final four innings of the game. Newman suffered just her third loss of the season to drop to 17-3 on the year.
NM State is now 1-5 this season when scoring two runs or less.
The Aggies host fellow conference unbeaten Fresno State for a weekend series at the NM State Softball Complex. The Bulldogs and Aggies start Friday with a single game at 5 p.m. MT. The pair of 6-0 WAC squads completes the series Saturday with a doubleheader beginning at 2 p.m.