OREM, Utah – You play to win the game. Simple as that. What’s not so simple is how NM State came away with a 7-4 win over Utah Valley on Saturday afternoon. After taking a 1-0 lead that turned into a 4-1 deficit by the bottom half of the third, the Aggies looked to drop their third straight game to open WAC play before an offensive explosion in the top of the seventh inning. Riley CarleyKristen Boyd and Hannah Lindsay crushed solo shots to left field, Jillian Taylor ripped a two-run triple down the right field line, and Paige Knight recorded her fifth RBI of the weekend to put the Aggies on top. Emily Dix (2-4) took over for Aydenne Brown in the third and took it the rest of the way, picking up the win after going 4.1 innings allowing just two hits, no runs and adding a pair of strikeouts.

Third Inning
Neither team could get much going in the first two innings as the pitchers combined for six strikeouts, but the third inning came along and things started heating up. Devin Elam started the inning with a single for her first hit of the weekend, moving into scoring position when Jayleen Burton laid down a sacrifice bunt. With two outs, Paige Knight continued her strong weekend outing with a single to left field, scoring Elam and giving the Aggies a 1-0 lead.

The NM State lead would not last long however, as Utah Valley used four hits and an error to turn in four runs and take back control of the game with a 4-1 advantage.

Fourth Inning
Kayla Bowen led off the fourth inning with a stand up double in the right-centerfield gap, putting the Aggies in prime position to get runs on the scoreboard. Battling back from a 1-2 count, Kristen Boyd drew a walk to put two on the bases with one out for Kendal Lunar. A 1-5-3 double play however ended the scoring threat from NM State and sent the game into the bottom half of the inning.

Emily Dix entered the game for starting pitcher Aydenne Brown to end the third and continued action in the circle in the fourth. After allowing a leadoff single, Dix recorded three straight outs including her first strikeout of the afternoon to keep it a 4-1 deficit.

Seventh Inning
They say pressure creates diamonds, and the Aggie bats began to shine in the seventh inning. Down to her final strike, Riley Carley squared up and launched a home run deep to left field – her first hit of the afternoon, and second home run of the weekend (fourth overall). Taking a page from her teammate’s playbook, Kristen Boyd came up to the plate next and crushed one to left center, giving NM State back-to-back solo home runs and turning it into a one-run ballgame, 4-3. One out on the scoreboard, Hannah Lindsay stepped into the batter’s box with a chance to tie things up. And well, she did just that – crushing the Aggies third home run of the inning to left field, tying things up 4-4. Devin Elam reached on an untimely Utah Valley error followed by a drawn walk by Jayleen Burton to put two on the base paths to keep the momentum in the Crimson & White’s favor. Jillian Taylor came up and ripped a single down the right field line, scoring a pair to put the Aggies back on top 6-4. Paige Knight kept her hot streak going, hitting a single to centerfield that easily scored Taylor from third to make it 7-4.

Utah Valley opened the bottom half of the inning with a single, drawing a walk to put two on with two outs and the tying run at the plate. The star for Utah Valley yesterday Jaeden Barajas (6-6, 3 RBIs) came into the box, launching a shot to left field like the trio of Aggies had an inning prior, but stopped short of leaving the field, landing in Riley Carley’s glove to end the game.

Numbers to Note

  • .500 – Paige Knight showed out over the weekend, going 5-for-10 with five RBI and a pair of home runs to boot.
  • 3 – Riley CarleyKristen Boyd and Hannah Lindsay turned in solo home runs to tie things up in the seventh inning; the second time this weekend NM State has hit three solo shots in a game.
  • 6 – NM State used a six run seventh inning to complete the comeback victory; tied for the second-most runs in a single frame for the Aggies behind an eight-run inning against UTEP.
  • 11 – Kendal Lunar recorded her 11th double in 20 games. Last season, Kayla Bowen led the Aggies with 13 doubles over 51 games.

The Aggies will return to the Beehive State for a three-game slate against Utah Tech starting Friday, March 24th and concluding Saturday, March 25th. For updates and exclusive content throughout the season, follow the Aggies on Twitter (@NMStateSoftball), Instagram (@nmstatesoftball) and like us on Facebook (NM State