Las Cruces, N.M. — A battle of the pitchers ended with the New Mexico State softball team falling 2-1 to the San Jose State Spartans on Friday evening, May 3, in a Western Athletic Conference battle.
The Aggies move to 35-16 on the season and 16-3 in WAC play. Senior hurler Alex Newman worked her 14th complete game of the season with three strikeouts and not a single earned run. NM State opened the game with a solo home run by sophomore transfer Lacey Rother, marking her fourth home run of the season.
“We came out here expecting a battle and that’s what we got from San Jose State,” head coach Kathy Rodolph said. “I think it was a solid effort from us. Lacey (Rother) came up with a key hit when we needed it and gave us a spark and Alex (Newman) pitched very well for us in the circle today. We know what we have to work on and we will come out ready tomorrow.”
Both teams took a slow offensive start to the game, but two strikeouts in the first inning by each pitcher proved it to be a rubber match. NM State finished the day with four hits that included a single, two doubles and the home run.
Sophomore Staci Rodriguez got the first Aggie hit of the day with a double to left center in the top of the fourth and Rother came up with her big hit in the Aggie half of the fifth inning.
A single by redshirt junior Kristi Covarrubia in the sixth and a two-base hit in the final inning by Malena Padilla put the Aggies in motion.
San Jose State struck out six Aggies on the day and came up with two unearned runs off six hits for the first win of the series.
A run scored off a fielder’s choice in the fifth after runners reached base on a single and an error. The final SJSU run came in the bottom of the seventh after NM State let one on base off a fielding error. She was eventually brought around by a single and a sacrifice fly to end the game.
The Aggies are still in the running for the WAC regular season title and need one win on Saturday to claim the title. Two wins on Saturday secures the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament in Ruston, La., May 8-11.
The series wraps with a doubleheader on May 4, at SJSU Field. Game one is set for a 1 p.m. (MT) first pitch with game two following.