New Mexico State softball opened the Mary Nutter Classic with a contest against No. 17 Oregon on Thursday. The Aggies fell to the ranked Ducks 3-1 in the tournament opener.
How It Happened
NM State (7-3) hung with UO (8-2) to start the contest with each team battling but the Aggies hit trouble in the bottom of the third. Starting pitcher Samaria Diaz gave up a walk and hit a batter before head coach Kathy Rodolph made a change in the circle and brought in Kayla Green. The Ducks scored a run off a sacrifice fly but a groundout to the pitcher ending the at-bat and leaving New Mexico State behind by just a run.
In the following frame the Aggies had a chance when Mya Felder singled to right field and Nikki Butler was hit by a pitch. After the team put up a pair of outs, Kennedy Johnson drew her second walk of the day, loading the bases. With Shelby Shultes at the plate, a wild pitch by the Ducks’ pitcher brought Felder home from third, tying the game.
The stalemate did not last long as Green gave up a solo homer in the bottom of the fourth. Analise De La Roca came in to relieve the senior after Green allowed two on with just one out. UO loaded the bases and in infield hit extended the Ducks’ lead before a play from Felder to Butler at the plate resulted in the final out of the inning.
Trailing 3-1 entering the seventh, the team needed a rally. Despite drawing a walk in the frame, the team was unable to overcome the deficit and fell to ranked Oregon.
Diaz went 2.1 innings and allowed just one run and one hit while also striking out a single batter. Green recorded her first loss when she pitched 2.0 innings and allowed two runs on two hits. De La Roca went 1.2 innings and also allowed two hits in the loss.
The Aggies are back in action at the Mary Nutter Classic when the team takes on North Carolina on Friday, Feb. 22 at 6:30 p.m. MT.