New Mexico State softball opened its 2019 campaign with a battle against Creighton on Friday. Three Aggies hit home runs when the team took down the Bluejays 11-4 at the NM State Softball Complex. It was the fourth-straight season the program recorded a victory to open the year.
How It Happened
After a pair of scoreless innings, a rally for NM State began with a leadoff double by Brandy Hernandez. Following the extra base hit was a two-run home run by Kelsey Horton, giving the Aggies the advantage. Victoria Castro followed the senior with a homer of her own, bringing the Aggies lead to three at the middle of the third.
Starting pitcher Kayla Green hit trouble in in the bottom of the frame when a pair of Bluejay runners reached base. After an error from the Aggies’ right fielder Caity Szczesny allowed the first Creighton run to cross the plate, back-to-back singles brought in three runs. Down 4-3, head coach Kathy Rodolph looked to Analise De La Roca to stall the Creighton offense. The sophomore allowed a single but a hard-thrown ball from Castro reached Nikki Butler at the plate and the catcher tagged out the Bluejay runner for the final out of the inning.
In the fourth, the bats stayed hot when Mya Felder came up with a leadoff single and Szczesny brought the run home with a double down the left field line. Senior Kennedy Johnson was next at the plate and with a long ball to centerfield, the designated player gave New Mexico State the 6-4 lead. The action was not over after a pair of singles and a walk loaded the bases. Butler hit into a fielder’s choice, bringing home the fourth run of the inning and a wild pitch on Kayla Bowen’s at bat scored the final run of the NM State fourth.
Holding the 8-4 advantage, the Aggies loaded the bases in the fourth after getting hit twice and drawing a walk. Pinch hitter Kennedi Sorensen singled through the left side bringing home a pair in the fifth to extend the New Mexico State lead. In the sixth, Szczesny kept the momentum going with an RBI single for the 11-4 advantage.
Following strong innings in the circle, De La Roca looked to close out the contest in the bottom of the seventh. The pitcher struck out the first Bluejay batter that frame and a groundout and pop out followed for the final outs, securing the victory for NM State.
By The Numbers
De La Roca earned her first victory of the season, pitching 4.1 innings and allowed no runs on just three hits. She also struckout five of the 15 batters she faced. Green went 2.2 in the victory, allowing four runs on six hits and striking out one.
The Aggies are back in action to take on Saturday, Feb. 9, when the team faces New Mexico and UTEP. NM State battles the Lobos at 3 p.m. MT and the contest against the Miners is set for 5:30 p.m.