The New Mexico State softball team hosts Minnesota in a three-game series this weekend. The Aggies begin the battle with the Golden Gophers with a contest on Friday, March 16, at 6 p.m. MT. NM State closes out the series with a doubleheader on Saturday, beginning at 4 p.m. MT.
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WHERE TO WATCH
Fan that are unable make the contest on Friday can watch the game with Adam Young on the call on FOX Sports Arizona, FOX Sports North PLUS, FOX College Sports Pacific, Comcast New Mexico and ESPN3. Saturday’s doubleheader can be viewed for free on the WAC Digital Network.
LAST TIME OUT
NM State went 1-4 at the Rebel Classic in Las Vegas last weekend. The Aggies picked up an 11-8 victory against Portland State but fell to DePaul, host UNLV and No. 1 Washington while at the tournament.
In the 11-8 victory over the Vikings, Kelsey Horton hit a two-run home run to open the contest and a pair of crucial doubles by Amy Bergeson scored three runs for the team. Kayla Green picked up the win, moving the junior to 7-5 at the time. The pitcher currently sits at 7-6 for her 2018 campaign.
In the team’s second contest with top-ranked Washington, New Mexico State was defeated in heartbreaking fashion, falling 3-2 in extra innings to the Huskies. In the loss, Horton and Nikki Butler posted a pair of homers in the fourth inning to put NM State ahead 2-0. The 2-0 lead for the Aggies tied Washington’s second largest deficit this season. The previous time the Husky squad had trailed was against the Aggies of Texas A&M when the TAMU squad was ranked sixth in the nation. Washington’s ace Taran Alvelo had previously given up just a single long ball before the solo shots by Horton and Butler.
KNOW YOUR FOE: MINNESOTA
Minnesota is receiving votes in both the NFCA/ USA Today Top 25 Poll and the USA Softball/ESPN Top 25 poll as the team enters the series with a 14-10 record this season. The Gophers post a .240 batting average and a 2.60 earned-run average as a team during their 2018 campaign
Leading the Minnesota squad in the circle is Amber Fiser who posts a 9-5 record and a 2.31 ERA. The sophomore pitched 11 complete games this season and has a single individual shutout recorded. Carlie Brandt has also been a force in the circle for the Golden Gophers as she posts a 3-1 record and a 0.56 ERA. On offense, Ellee Jensen is batting .373 with 22 hits including a pair of doubles. MaKenna Partain leads the team with 24 hits including three doubles, three triples, three home runs and 21 RBI.
One of Minnesota’s assistant coaches holds a special connection with NM State as Cat Heifner was the associate head coach for Kathy Rodolph until the 2018 season. During her time with the Aggies, Heifner helped New Mexico State to four Western Athletic Conference regular season titles and three WAC tournament titles. She coached three WAC Freshman of the Year honorees including Kelsey Horton, who was also a Top-10 finalist for the Schutt Sports / NFCA National Freshman of the Year award. Under Heifner’s guidance, the Aggies had also won five-straight WAC Player of the Year honors. Heifner coached NM State to one of the biggest accomplishments in New Mexico State softball history when the Aggies capped the 2009 season ranked first in the nation with a .341 batting average. It was the first time any WAC team led the country in the category.
COMING UP: BATTLE OF I-25
Following the series with the Gophers, NM State hits the road to take on Battle of I-25 foe New Mexico. The contest between the rivals is set for 5:30 p.m. MT, on Wednesday, March 21 in Albuquerque, N.M.