LAS CRUCES, N.M. – After splitting a pair on Saturday, the Aggies powered their way to a pair of wins on the final day of the NM State Round Robin at the NM State Softball Complex.
NM State collected its first win of the day against Northern Colorado as Jillian Taylor hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the seventh inning to push the Aggies to a 6-4 win.
In the second round of the back-to-back, the Aggies earned a weekend sweep of I-10 rival UTEP as they defeated the Miners 4-1 behind stellar pitching from Jordin King and Emily Dix and timely hits from Jillian Taylor and Kayla Bowen.
GAME ONE | NM State 6, Northern Colorado 4
NM State found itself in an early hole as the first two Bear batters reached via base hits before UNC’s Alexsi Barashkoff cleared the bases with a three-run home run to left center.
Following a one-two-three inning worked by Aydenne Brown, the Aggies did reduce the deficit to just two runs in the second inning as UTEP transfer Kaylin Jackson hit a solo shot over the wall in right center.
Northern Colorado’s lead was quickly pushed back to three in the third when a double down the left field line from Paola Villegas brought home Alysaa Wenzel who started the play on second base.
Kendal Lunar helped the Aggies begin inching their way back when she hit her ninth double of the season to bring around Kristen Boyd for the home side’s second run of the contest.
The fifth inning also featured a single run from the Crimson and White as Paige Knight singled through the left side of the infield to bring home Jayleen Burton who reached on a single to start the inning.
Northern Colorado placed a runner in scoring position in their first at-bat of the inning as Amailee Morales doubled down the left-field line. However, Laurali Patane would strike out the next batter using only three pitches before getting Nya Chacon to ground out to shut down the UNC threat.
Kristen Boyd opened the bottom half of the inning with a single and would eventually steal second before moving over to third during Kendal Lunar’s at-bat. From there, Boyd worked her way to home plate thanks to a wild pitch – tying the game at four runs a piece.
Patane continued her effective outing as she worked through a three-up, three-down inning to set the Aggies up with an opportunity to end the game with a single run. NM State would ultimately take advantage of that opportunity as Jillian Taylor hit a two-run home run on an 0-1 count to end the game and hand the Aggies the win.
GAME TWO | NM State 4, UTEP 1
UTEP posted the first score of the game on the heels of two scoreless innings as Pate Cathey hit a leadoff home run to put the Miners up 1-0.
However, NM State had an answer for Cathey’s home run as Jillian Taylor hit a solo shot of her own to tally the Aggies’ first run of the game and her second home run of the day.
Jordin King flashed her arm to start the fourth frame as she struck out UTEP’s number four hitter Ryland Dooner. UTEP would put a runner on in the next at-bat before the Aggies escaped the inning with a 5-4-3 double play.
The NM State offense then handled their business as Kayla Bowen earned a single, stole second, then came in to score on a Hannah Lindsay ground out to put the home team up 2-1.
Later, NM State added a pair of insurance runs in the sixth as both Jillian Taylor and Kendal Lunar started the inning with base hits. Shortly after, Jessica Carreon came in to pinch run for Lunar and stole her second base of the season to put runners on second and third. Kayla Bowen then earned a four-pitch walk to load the bases.
Northern Colorado would double up the Aggies to get out their lead runner, however, Riley Carley’s single in the next at-bat pushed Carreon across from second.
NM State then added a fourth run when Kristen Boyd collected her third hit of the weekend to drive in Kayla Bowen and put the Aggies ahead 4-1.
With one final at-bat to equal the Aggies, Emily Dix would retire three Miner batters in just nine pitches to hand the Aggies their second win over UTEP of the weekend.
With back-to-back wins under their belt, the Aggies now travel to Fresno, Calif., where they will do battle with Fresno State, CSU Bakersfield and UC Santa Barbara during the Bulldog Classic beginning on Thursday, March 9.