NMSU softball to hit road for matchup with #9 Arizona
Las Cruces, NM — NM State (26-19; 8-4 WAC) takes on No. 9 Arizona for a doubleheader on Wednesday, April 23 at 5 and 7 p.m. Both games can be heard live on KSNM AM570 beginning at 5 p.m. The team then continues to Orem, Utah to close out the conference season against Utah Valley on April 25 at 3 p.m. and finish with a doubleheader on April 26 beginning at 1 p.m. NM State needs just one win against the Wolverines to claim the No. 1 seed in the 2014 WAC Tournament.
The Aggies meet Rio Grande Rival New Mexico on Tuesday, April 29 before heading to the 2014 edition of the WAC Tournament, May 8-10. Hosted by Seattle U, the Aggies could head into the tournament as the No. 1 seed at Logan Field at Seattle University Park. With GCU ineligible for postseason play, NM State needs to win just one of the three-game series against Utah Valley (April 25-26) to secure the No. 1 seed in the tournament.
NM State had a tough weekend on the road against conference opponent Grand Canyon. In a three game series versus the Antelopes, the Aggies failed to come away with a victory. On April 18, Grand Canyon took the first game of the doubleheader by a score of 7-1, and won the second game in a 2-0 shutout. The Antelopes also won the final game of the series by a score of 3-2 on April 19. The Aggies are now second in the Western Athletic Conference standings behind Grand Canyon by two games
About the Aggies
NM State moved to 26-19 on the season after going 0-3 on the weekend against Grand Canyon in Phoenix, Ariz. to begin the final four series on the road. The team is led at the plate by junior Staci Rodriguez with a .403 batting average and 12 homeruns. She is tied in the top 10 for home runs this season with fellow hard hitter Fiana Finau. The duo combines for 69 RBI this year. Rodriguez is ninth in the nation with a .827 slugging percentage and Finau is slugging .710 so far this year.
In the circle, Makayla McAdams leads the Aggies with a 3.15 ERA this season. The team is hurling 3.59 combined with redshirt Karysta Donisthorpe pitching 97.1 of the teams innings. She is leading the Aggies with 80 K’s this season and is holding her opponents to a .273 batting average. Walker has become the closer for the team, pitching 88.2 innings and striking out 51. She has tallied three saves and one shutout this year.
Aggies in WAC Play
While sitting second in the league standings with a .578 winning percentage, NM State is leading in a large majority of the hitting categories this season including batting average as the Aggies are hitting .356. The team has 180 total bases and is slugging .563 as a whole, which leads the league. The Aggies also have the best team ERA (1.89) but struggle in fielding percentage (.927).
Individually, the Aggies are seeing Lacey Rother lead in a slew of categories. Rother leads in batting average (.515) and sophomore Fiana Finau and Tatum Reedy in second and third, respectively. Rother also leads with a 1.000 slugging percentage and a .636 obp. The junior has been walked a WAC-leading 10 times and has hit four home runs to tally 33 total bases. Senior Celisha Walker is first in the WAC with her 0.70 ERA, while sophomore Makayla McAdams sits third with a 1.73.
Around the WAC
With a conference record of 8-4, the Aggies are second in the WAC behind GCU. NM State also holds the second best overall record in the conference with 26 wins and 19 losses on the season. After crushing Bakersfield by a score of 17-2 on April 12, the Aggies dropped their next three games to conference leader, Grand Canyon.
The Antelopes are stellar in WAC play with a 10-2 record, while going 25-17 overall. The Lopes are currently on a seven game winning streak, which is the longest active streak in the WAC. GCU, along with NM State, are the only two teams in the WAC with overall records above .500. Utah Valley, Kansas City and Seattle are tied for third place in the conference with each squad having a record of 5-7 in the WAC. Utah Valley has struggled to find their footing in front of their home crowd as they have won only once this season while suffering nine losses at home.
Seattle has done the opposite, with only four wins on the road and 12 losses. Kansas City has had a tough season along with Bakersfield. Kansas City has an overall record of 16-32 and the Bakersfield Runners are dead last in the WAC with an overall record of 13-35-1 and a 3-9 record in conference play.
NM State in the Nation (as of 4/21/14)
Hitting duo Fiana Finau and Staci Rodriguez have made their way onto the nation’s leaderboard in several different categories this season. The pair is tied for 30th in the nation with 12 home runs, while Rodriguez is 25th in runs per game and 38th in slugging percentage. Lacey Rother has also moved into national ranks with her .402 batting average (81st) and .523 on base percentage (35th).
As a team, the Aggies are sitting in the top 50 in more than five categories. They are currently ranked 20th nationally in home runs per game out of 289 ranked teams. NM State is also 22nd in the nation with its .503 slugging percentage. The Aggies .316 batting average places them as 28th in the ranks.
About No. 9/10 Arizona
The Arizona Wildcats currently sit at a 34-9 overall record and have a 9-6 record in the Pac-12 conference. As a team, the Wildcats hit at a .354 batting average and have a .622 slugging percentage.
Individually, Kelsey Rodriguez records a .436 batting average and a .664 slugging percentage with 110 at bats on the season. Close behind Rodriguez is Kellie Fox with a .423 batting average. Together, they bring in 84 RBI and a combine 15 homeruns with Fox contributing 12 on the season.
In the circle, the team has a combine 2.22 ERA going a total 261.1 innings pitched for the season. As a team, the Wildcats hold their opponents as a .197 batting average. Estela Pinon has pitched 103.1 innings for the team bringing her to a 2.24 ERA with 93 strikeouts on the season and is credited with a 13-5 record.
NM State has competed against Arizona 65 times since the first meeting on April 24, 1976 where the Aggies lost 2-5 against the Wildcats. The two teams most recently played in 2013 when Arizona was ranked No. 17 in the nation. During the two game series, the Aggies went 1-1 with a 3-2 win at the NM State Softball Complex.
NM State plays against Arizona in Tucson, Ariz. for a doubleheader on April 23 beginning at 5 p.m. The Wildcats are currently ranked seventh in the nation.
About Utah Valley
Utah Valley sits at a 5-7 record in WAC play with a 0-3 record at home and a 5-4 record away. As a team, the Wolverines hit at a .281 batting average and have a combined .423 slugging percentage. Utah Valley records 50 homeruns on the season. The Wolverines are led by Brittney Vansway with a .389 batting average during her 36 at bats in conference play. She has contributed 14 hits and eight RBI for the team.
Pitching wise, Utah Valley throws a 4.48 ERA and hold their opponents to a .293 batting average. Leading the team is Josi Summers with a 4.17 ERA in 40.1 innings pitched. She has added 30 strikeouts to her play in the WAC.
NM State holds a 3-0 record against the Wolverines all time. The last time the teams met was in 2008 when the Aggies picked up a 12-8 win during the Troy Cox Classic. This is the first meeting between the teams as conference opponents.