New Mexico State softball closed out the Troy Cox Classic with an 8-7 victory over Bradley at the NM State Softball Complex on Sunday. Kayla Green picked up the win in the circle while Samaria Diaz earned the save.
How It Happened
NM State (7-2) fell behind early when starting pitcher Analise De La Roca surrendered a home run to the Braves (5-5) in the opening frame. The Aggies fired back in the bottom of the first with a solo homer of their own when Kelsey Horton hit one over the right-field fence. Following the long ball, the bases were loaded quickly as a result of two singles and a hit batter. Kayla Bowen singled to left field, bringing home two runners and giving the team the 3-1 advantage.
A two-run homer in the top of the second tied the contest but another long ball by Bradley in the following inning put NM State behind by a run. Head Coach Kathy Rodolph went to Chloe Rivas to contain the Braves’ offense and the freshman allowed another run to cross before striking out a pair to end the inning.
Trailing 5-3 after a pair of scoreless innings, Victoria Castro began a rally with a leadoff double and Mya Felder brought the senior home with a double of her own. After Felder advanced on a passed ball during Bowen’s at bat, another passed ball while Kennedy Johnson was at the plate brought the freshman home while also tying the game.
The bats stayed hot in the following inning when Rivas singled though the right side to start the Aggie sixth. Shelby Shultes followed with a pinch hit single but a fielder’s choice stalled the offense and added an out to the board. A walk to Castro loaded the bases before Felder broke the stalemate with a groundout that brought in a run. With Nikki Butler at the plate, the Braves catcher allowed a passed ball, scoring Horton from third and Castro advanced as well before stealing home on the play to extend New Mexico State’s lead.
The Braves did not go away quietly and Green struggled to close out the victory when she allowed a run to score cutting NM State’s lead to just a pair. Rodolph went to Diaz and despite the junior allowing a single to score another Bradley run, she struckout the final batter to secure the 8-7 win.
Green picked up her fourth win of the season when she allowed two runs on two hits in her 0.2 innings of work. Diaz got the save, pitching 0.2 innings and striking out two. Starter De La Roca pitched 2.0 innings and allowed four runs on four hits while striking out two. Rivas tallied four strikeouts in her 3.2 innings of work.
The Aggies hit the road for the first time this season as the team travels to the prestigious Mary Nutter Classic. New Mexico State is set to face No. 19 Oregon, North Carolina, Missouri, California and Ohio State from Feb 21-24.