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Sunday, March 20, 2011 - 9:12pm
The New Mexico State softball team dropped the final contest of a four-game series against No. 14 Nebraska 6-3 at the NM State Softball Complex Sunday afternoon.
For the third straight day it was senior Hoku Nohara that led the NM State (19-10) offense. Nohara, who came into the game with a personal record of 17 home runs, hit powered her 18th homer of the year to score three runs in the bottom of the sixth. With her shot over the fence Nohara broke the all-time single-season home run record of 17 set by teammate Tiare Jennings in 2009.
Nebraska (24-3) scored first Sunday for the first time in the four-game series with three runs in the top of the first. The Huskers added three in the top of the fifth before Nohara's three-run homer in the bottom of the sixth yielded the final result. NU pitcher Ashley Hagemann improved to 17-2 on the season with her second win of the weekend in three starts. Sophomore starting hurler Alex Neman suffered just her second loss of the season for the Aggies to drop to 12-2 in 2011.
Nebraska connected on eight hits with a pair of home runs while NM State notched seven hits. NU left eight runners on base while NM State was more efficient, stranding a pair.
Newman struggled early to find her spots in the first, walking three batters to load the bases after an NU ground out. She then recorded a strike out before surrendering a double that cleared the bases for Nebraska to give the visitors an early 3-0 lead.
Hagemann retired the first six Aggies she faced in the game to keep the NM State offense at bay.
After three scoreless innings, NU doubled its advantage in the fifth inning. The Huskers hit a one-out home run to force an NM State pitching change as freshman Celisha Walker came in for Newman. NU then hit a home run off of Walker to account for the second run of the frame. The Aggies threw one Husker out at home to record the second out but a couple of NM State errors helped Nebraska push across its final run to lead 6-0.
NM State got on the board in the sixth when senior Kandis Jones hit a one-out single. Jennings followed with a single to move Jones to second. Then Nohara rifled her record-breaking home run to center field to account for the Aggies' three runs in the game. NM State could only muster one hit off of Hagemann the rest of the way as NU held on for the win.
The Aggies open Western Athletic Conference (WAC) play at home next weekend when they host San Jose State for a three-game series beginning Friday, March 25 at 6 p.m. MT on the grounds of the NM State Softball Complex. The Spartans and Aggies wrap up the series with a doubleheader on Saturday with first pitch slated for 2 p.m.