New Mexico State softball welcomed Grand Canyon for a Western Athletic Conference series at the NM State Softball Complex on Friday. Shelby Shultes hit a walk-off homer, helping the Aggies take down the Lopes 4-2 in the series opener. Kelsey Horton also broke the program’s career home run record in the victory.
NM State (22-18, 5-5 WAC) got off to a hot start when Jeanelle Medina began the team’s at-bat with a single. Horton followed by hitting a two-run homer off the GCU (26-18, 8-2 WAC) pitcher, the 65th homer of Horton’s career, giving NM State the 2-0 lead.
The offense stalled in the innings that followed but Samaria Diaz pitched four-straight scoreless innings with the squad holding the two-run advantage. However in the top of the sixth, the junior struck trouble when she allowed a walk and back-to-back singles, cutting NM State’s advantage in half. Another run came home for Grand Canyon, tying the game, before a foul out and a strikeout ended the Lopes’ at-bat.
The Aggies came up empty in the bottom of the frame and the team headed to the seventh tied 2-2. Despite giving up a leadoff single, Diaz kept the top of the seventh scoreless, sending the NM State offense to the plate once more.
Casie Roberto led off the Aggies’ at-bat with a deep double to left field. Shultes came in to pinch hit after the freshman and the junior hit a homer over the left field fence, giving New Mexico State the 4-2 walk-off victory.
Diaz went 7.0 innings in the victory, moving the junior to 9-8 for the season. The pitcher allowed two runs on six hits while also tallying eight strikeouts.
The Aggies close out the series against the Lopes with a doubleheader on Saturday, April 20. First pitch is set for 4 p.m. MT.