After rain and hail washed out the first day of the Diamond Devil Invitational on Friday, the New Mexico State Aggies took back to Farrington Stadium on the Arizona State campus for a 4-2 win over the UC Davis Aggies, but then dropped 2-1 to the Notre Dame Irish on Saturday, March 9. The Aggies move to 15-8 on the season and 1-1 in the tournament.
“I was good to finally get back on the field after the weather delay yesterday,” head coach Kathy Rodolph said. “I thought we did a great job sticking to the game plan that we laid out yesterday and we brought a lot of energy and we had a good team effort in game one.”
With a slow start to the first game of the tournament, the NM State Aggies and the UC Davis Aggies were finally able to pick up in the bottom half of the first inning after inclement weather washed out all games on Friday. The Aggies were able to get out of the top of the first inning before rain and hail halted the game.
When play resumed Saturday morning, both teams were slow to get a hit. It was UC Davis that picked up a hit in the second and one in the third, but the Aggies were able to strand the runners on base.
Sophomores Kelsey Dodd and Staci Rodriguez hit back-to-back solo home runs to break up UC Davis’ attempt at a no-hitter and give the Aggies a 2-0 lead going into the fifth inning.
The UCD Aggies came back with a three-base RBI after the runner reached on a walk. With the score in favor of the Aggies 2-1, The Aggies were able to keep UCD from plating the tying run with a play at third to get the third out of the inning.
NM State went into the bottom of the fifth for a pair of doubles by Malena Padilla and Tehani Kaaihue. Padilla scored off Kaaihue’s hit to increase the Aggies lead, and a fielder’s choice play at the bat of Amber Olive plated the Aggies fourth run of the day for NM State.
UC Davis came up with a late solo home run in the top of the seventh. The shot over the center field fence was not enough to rattle the Aggies as relief pitcher Alex Newman closed the game for her first save of the season.
Sophomore Karysta Donisthorpe worked for six complete innings in the opening game of the day for six strikeouts and just four hits on the day. She moves to 5-1 on the season.
“The Notre Dame pitcher (Laura Winter) is a very talented young lady and she really moved the ball well. ND is a very solid ball club,” Rodolph said. “I feel like we probably need to continue to get better under pressure, but all-in-all, I was pleased with the performance and I am confident that we can make the corrections needed for tomorrow.”
Both teams got off to an equally sluggish start in game two of the Aggies double bill on Saturday. Notre Dame started things off with a single to center field in the bottom of the first, but NM State held the Irish without a run until their half of the fourth inning.
The Aggies picked up a single to left by senior Teresa Conrad in the top of the second and she moved herself into scoring position with a stolen base at second. Notre Dame’s pitching proved to be the strength of the Irish as Laura Winter pitched 13 strikeouts against the Aggies with three of those resulting in the end of the Aggies at bat in the second inning.
ND was first on the board with a two-run fourth inning off four hits. A pair of doubles and singles scored two for ND, putting the Aggies behind 2-0.
It did not take much for the Aggies to come back with a run of their own as sophomore transfer Lacey Rother drove herself around the bases with a home run out to left field, just to the right of the scoreboard. The bomb marks the third this season for Rother with her eighth RBI. She went 2-for-4 on the day with a walk in the Aggies first game against UC Davis and two hits in the loss to Notre Dame.
As the Aggies went down in order in their half of the sixth, the team came back in its half of the seventh for two more hits. Rother had her second hit of the game with a single to left and Kaaihue finished the day with two hits as she hit a shallow ball up the middle to the pitcher.
NM State was unable to turn those hits for runs in the top of the seventh, giving the Aggies their first loss of the tournament to break a five-game losing streak.
The Aggies take back to Farrington Stadium on Sunday to play host Arizona State at 3 p.m. (MT). The team then looks for revenge against the Irish at 5:30 p.m., to close out the Diamond Devil Invitational.