Aggies come up short in WAC Championship Game

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New Mexico State closed its run at the Western Athletic Conference Softball Tournament at GCU Softball Stadium on Saturday. The second-seeded Aggies fell to the top-seeded Redhawks 3-2, ending their 2019 campaign,

NM State (33-22) fell behind early when starting pitcher Analise De La Roca allowed a single and a pair of doubles, scoring two runs for SU (39-15) to start the game. The bats went quiet for both teams through the next three innings, but Seattle U added to its advantage in the fifth when De La Roca allowed a single before an RBI double drove the runner home.

Trailing 3-0, Mya Felder hit a two-out single in the bottom of the fifth for the Aggies first hit of the day. However, a strikeout followed for New Mexico State, stranding the runner to end the frame.

De La Roca allowed a leadoff single in the sixth and head coach Kathy Rodoph went to Samaria Diaz to hold the Redhawk offense, the junior struck out the first two batters she faced before a groundout ended the opposition’s at bat.

Pinch hitter Shelby Shultes began a rally in the sixth when she reached second on a a passed ball and an error by the Redhawks catcher. After Brandy Hernandez reentered the game at second, another passed ball allowed the runner to reach third. A pair of outs followed before Nikki Butler drove Hernandez home with a double to right-center field. Keala Brown came in to run for Butler and Victoria Castro recorded a single up the middle to bring home NM State’s second run of the game.

Diaz faced the minimum in the top of the seventh, leaving NM State down to its final three outs. The offense went cold and Aggies went down in order, falling 3-2 in the championship contest.

De La Roca moved to 8-6 on the season with the loss. She pitched 5.0 innings and allowed three runs on eight hits. Diaz pitched 2.0 innings and struck out three batters during the title game. Following the loss, Casie Roberto, Kelsey Horton and Diaz received all-tournament honors.

NM State loses three seniors following the 2019 campaign. Castro, Horton and Kennedy Johnson leave their legacy on the Aggie program with each senior earning a post-season award during the course of their career with New Mexico State softball.

All-Tournament Team

Ryan Denhart, Grand Canyon

Samaria Diaz, NM State

Maddie Dowdle, Grand Canyon

Sydney Garcia, Kansas City

Kelsey Horton, NM State

Chris Hipa, CSU Bakersfield

Kaylee Ree, Seattle U

Casie Roberto, NM State

Cherise Silvan, Seattle U

Savannah Tourville, Grand Canyon

MVP: Carley Nance, Seattle U

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