The New Mexico State softball team posted dominant performances during a doubleheader against North Dakota at the NM State Softball Complex on Saturday. The Aggies recorded shutouts in back-to-back games, taking down the Fighting Hawks 3-0 in the series opener and 8-0 in the second contest.
NM State (13-12) got hot early when Kelsey Horton hit a single through the left side and Victoria Castro reached on a UND (15-19) error during the opening frame. MyaFelder gave the Aggie squad the early lead when she came up with an RBI double, scoring Horton from second.
The bats stayed hot in the second with a pair of New Mexico State players reaching on singles with one out awarded. After a groundout advanced the duo into scoring position, Horton came through with an infield single scoring Casie Roberto from third. During Castro’s at bat, Horton got into a jam when she was caught stealing but Brandy Hernandez was able to come home during the rundown, giving the squad the 3-0 advantage.
After pitching a pair of scoreless inning to start the contest, Samaria Diaz continued to dominate in the circle, pitching scoreless frame after scoreless frame before struggling in the seventh. The junior allowed a leadoff single and a pair of walks to load the bases with just one out on the board. The pitcher struckout the final two batters, ending the game and handing New Mexico State the 3-0 victory.
Diaz improved to 4-6 when she pitched a complete game, going 7.0 innings and allowing just six hits while striking out a career-best 11 batters.
NM State carried its momentum into the second contest when Horton came up with a leadoff double. Felder moved the runner with a sacrifice bunt before a single by Castro scored the senior. A double by Kayla Bowen continued the charge, scoring Castro and putting the Aggies ahead 2-0 after the opening frame.
Following a scoreless second, a solo home run by Horton extended the NM State lead 3-0. The rally continued when a double and a pair of walks loaded the bases with Roberto at the plate. The freshman drew a walk, scoring the second run of the inning. Kennedi Sorensen followed by hitting into a fielder’s choice, but an Aggie came home on the play to give the team the 5-0 advantage.
The bats came alive once more with a double by Felder in the fourth inning. An error by the Fighting Hawks allowed Nikki Butler to reach second and Felder scored on the play, giving the team the 6-0 lead. After Butler advanced to third on a wild pitch, Castro brought the junior home with a single up the middle for the seventh run of the game. Bowen came through with the teams second-straight single to put runners on the corners. During Roberto’s at bat, Bowen stole second and Castro came home on the play, giving the team the 8-0 lead.
With the win within arm’s reach, starting pitcher Kayla Green returned to the circle looking for the final three outs. The senior struck trouble when she allowed two North Dakota batters to get on base but a pair of groundouts ended the 8-0 victory for the team.
Green moved to 8-2 when she pitched 5.0 innings with one hit allowed. The senior struckout three batters while also giving up three walks.
The series finale against the Fighting Hawks is set for Sunday with first pitch at 4 p.m. MT.