NMSU softball sweeps WAC postseason awards

NMSU

DENVER, Colo. – Seven different Aggies earned nine WAC postseason awards the conference announced on Wednesday morning. Nikki Buter, Matalasi Faapito and Ramsay Lopez were named to the All-WAC First Team while Kayla Bowen, Gabby Aragon and Maya Martinez were named to the All-WAC Second Team. Butler took home WAC Player of the Year while Faapito was named the WAC Freshman of the Year. 

Head coach Kathy Rodolph picked up her fifth WAC Coach of the Year honor. In her 18th season as the head of the Aggies, Rodolph guided the Aggies through a season unlike any other. Due to restrictions in the state of New Mexico, the Aggies played its first 21 games in the state of Florida. The Aggies also had the toughest start to a season in program history, playing six ranked teams in its first 13 games. With 18 freshman or redshirt freshman, Rodolph and the Aggies found its groove when they returned back west at the GCU Invitational. After returning from Florida, the Aggies won 19 out of its last 24 games on their way to program’s sixth regular season WAC Championship.

Butler picked up her second straight WAC Player of the Year honor and was also named to the All-WAC First Team. Butler was phenomenal in WAC play hitting .456 with 10 home runs and 28 RBIs. Those numbers led the WAC in conference play. She finished the regular season with a .349 average, 11 home runs and 40 RBIs. 

Faapito had unheard success in both the circle and the batter’s box which led her to being named the WAC Freshman of the Year as well as being named to the All-WAC First Team.  Faapito was the only player in Division I to strike out at least 50 batters and hit 16 home runs. Faapito’s 16 home runs led the WAC. She also leads the WAC in slugging percentage (.814), on-base percentage (.476) and total bases (118).

In the circleFaapito recorded the first Aggie no-hitter in a decade on Apr. 16 against Tarleton State and won her final nine starts in the circle. She ended the year with a 13-8 record.

Joining Butler and Faapito on the All-WAC First Team is Lopez. Much like Butler, Lopez struggled to begin the season but turned it on in WAC play. Lopez hit .385 in WAC play with four home runs and seven RBIs. She ends the regular season with a .276 average with 10 home runs and 19 RBIs to her name. 

Bowen emerged for the Aggies in her junior season as she posted a .309 average with eight home runs and 37 RBIs. 

Martinez made her name know with two walk-off home runs against Grand Canyon and Utah Valley. Martinez ends the regular season with nine home runs and 32 RBIs. 

Aragon turned up the heat once conference play started as well. Aragon hit .375 in WAC play while driving in 11 runs. 

Butler is the only one of the group to have earned a WAC postseason award. The Aggies took six spots on the All-WAC First and Second Teams which is the most by any WAC school since 2018 when the Aggies also took six spots. Butler is the first player to win back-to-back WAC Player of the Year awards since Kelsey Horton following the 2017 and 2018 seasons. The Aggies have now been awarded the WAC Player of the Year the past eight seasons. 

The Aggies will begin its postseason run on Thursday at 5 p.m. against Utah Valley in the first game of the WAC Tournament in Seattle, Wash. The game can be streamed live on ESPN+.

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