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Saturday, February 12, 2011 - 11:35pm
The New Mexico State softball team opened day two of the Hotel Encanto Invitational in grand fashion with a 6-1 win over Northern Colorado highlighted by a grand slam from Teresa Conrad in the first inning.
Conrad entered the batter's box with the bases loaded and two outs but used the opportunity to belt her third career home run and first career grand slam to put the Aggies up 4-0 early in the first. The Aggies batted first as a "visitor" in the team's third game in the Hotel Encanto Invitational.
NM State starting pitcher Sydney Williard retired the side in the bottom of the first to keep Northern Colorado off the board. Williard kept the Bears at bay for over five innings as part of a solid six innings of work.
The Aggies maintained the 4-0 lead through four innings. In the top of the fifth the Aggies added two more.
Hoku Nohara drew a one-out walk to start the rally. Sophomore Tehani Kaaihue came on to pinch run for the senior. Senior Ashley Maroda ripped a double to advance Kaaihue to third. Conrad popped up to third for out number two before freshman Valerie Swedberg came up to the plate as a pinch hitter. Swedberg slugged a two-RBI double to give NM State a 6-0 lead.
Northern Colorado got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the sixth. The Bears broke Williard's dominance in the circle.
Erin Geddis singled for UNC to open the inning. Williard's pitches strayed to hit load the bases. The Bears scored on a fielder's choice in the next at-bat for its lone run of the game.
Senior Alex Villalobos came on in relief in the seventh to close out the game for the Aggies.
NM State posted eight hits and held UNC to just two in the game. The win gave the Aggies their third win of the year to move to 3-0 this season.
In the second game against Minnesota, NM State jumped out to a 10-0 lead highlighted by back-to-back home runs by junior Tiare Jennings and Nohara. Sophomore Alex Newman held the Golden Gophers off the scoreboard in the first half of the contest.
Freshman hurler Celisha Walker came on in relief of Newman and the Minnesota bats awakened late. NM State held on for a 15-7 victory to move to 4-0 on the year.
NM State gets a rematch with Minnesota on Sunday at 11:30 a.m. at the Aggie Softball Complex and finish the Invitational with a contest against Colorado State slated for a 2 p.m. start.