Aggies win on walk-off home run
Five home runs in two games by the New Mexico State softball team lifted the Aggies past Louisiana Tech 11-3 in game one of the doubleheader and 9-7 in the nightcap. The Aggies swept the day and claim the series 2-1. NM State moves to 18-13 on the season and 2-1 in Western Athletic Conference play.
With the Lady Techsters ahead in the series with a win on Friday evening, NM State came back for a run-rule 11-3 win in the first of a doubleheader.
La Tech lit up the board first with two unearned runs off a single and sacrifice bunt in the top of the first. The Aggies got things started early as well, with a grand slam by sophomore Kelsey Dodd. The Clovis, Calif., native earned her first career grand slam and lifted NM State to an early 4-2 lead.
NM State sent Tech away in order in the third, only to come back with a three-run bomb by sophomore Staci Rodriguez. She picked up her ninth homer of the season and finished the day with a season total of 33 RBI.
Tech attempted a rally in the third with one run and three hits in the third, but the Aggies were able to hold off the Lady Techsters and turn around for two more runs in the home half of the inning off three runs.
With a 9-3 lead in the fourth, NM State came up with a sacrifice bunt by freshman catcher Tatum Reedy that plated pinch runner Chelsea Dohrwardt after Malena Padilla hit her way on base with a single past third base.
Louisiana Tech had one hit in the fifth inning, but was sent away in order in the fourth and sixth. The Aggies clinched the win with a walk-off home run by senior Teresa Conrad, good for her second on the season.
Conrad led the Aggies in similar fashion during NM State’s chase for the WAC Title. She hit a three-run home run over the Lady Techsters in extra innings for the walk-off win.
Junior Celisha Walker worked just her second complete game and came up with her second win of the season. She pitched two strikeouts on the game and allowed seven hits. The Aggie defense was able to keep four of those hits from turning into runs and Walker ended the game with just one earned run to her name.
“I thought this was a great way to come out and win the series,” head coach Kathy Rodolph said. “I thought Celisha (Walker) and Makayla (McAdams) did a great job in the circle today, in both games, and we found our bats. Our offense really stepped up and made a difference today. I am very pleased.”
In game two, The Aggies pitching staff combined for five strikeouts and just one walk. McAdams started the game and worked three complete innings with two of those K’s. She was relieved by senior hurler Alex Newman, who worked just three batters before Walker came in for her second win of the day to finish the game with three more strikeouts.
The Aggies sent La Tech away in order in the top of the first inning of game two and came up with the first of 11 Aggie runs off a groundout by Conrad.
It was in the third inning that NM State plated its second run of the game with a sacrifice fly by Dodd. This was just after Tech knotted the score off a solo home run in the third.
The fourth inning worked as a turning point for the teams as La Tech had four hits for one run while NM State replaced McAdams in the circle for three batters, and Walker came in to end the inning and finish out the game for NM State.
Alyssa Ruiz and Emma Adams teamed up for back-to-back solo home runs in the home half of the fourth for a 4-2 lead over Tech. The bomb was the second on the season for Ruiz and first in Adams young career. Both hit over the left field fence, Adams’ tipped the inside of the foul pole and was ruled a home run.
With the Aggies back on the bats in the fifth, NM rattled the scoreboard with eight hits and five runs. Rodriguez worked her way on base with a double through left center and was brought around off the bat of Padilla, who hit a single to left.
Ruiz and Adams had matching RBI singles up the middle after senior Tehani Kaaihue worked her way into scoring position with a standing double up the left side. Senior Amber Olive worked for a single up the middle and was brought around by Kristi Covarrubia’s base hit. The junior plated the Aggies ninth run of the game with a single up the middle by Rodriguez as the Aggies made their way through the lineup.
Two hits in the top half of the sixth gave the Lady Techsters way to bring in first baseman Meghan Knowles for a two-RBI home run in an attempt to rally back against the Aggies. NM State allowed three hits in the inning with three runs, but eventually held off Tech for a 9-7 win to sweep the day and win the conference-opening series.
NM State moves to 18-13 on the season and 2-1 in WAC play. The Aggies waste little time before getting back to the diamond against Siena College for a doubleheader on Monday, March 25. The Aggies then make their way to Utah State for the first conference road series in Logan, Utah, March 29-30.