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After taking the early lead in the first inning, the New Mexico State Aggies fell 10-9 to the New Mexico Lobos in the second edition of the Battle of I-25 on Tuesday afternoon at the NM State Softball Complex.
Senior Teresa Conrad led the Aggies in the rivalry game by going 2-for-3 on the day with two RBI and a run of her own in the third inning. Fellow senior Tehani Kaaihue boasted three RBI in the loss and reached base four times, twice on a fielder’s choice once on an error and a single to right in the final inning of the night.
“Rivalry games are always a challenge. UNM is a good team and they played hard tonight,” head coach Kathy Rodolph said. “I feel like we gave up too many opportunities tonight and that is something we will be working on before the weekend.”
The Aggies pitchers worked for a combined seven strikeouts and just one walk on the day, with veteran right-hander Alex Newman getting her ninth start of the season and striking out the Lobos in order in the second inning. It was Makayla McAdams that worked for three complete innings of her own and picked up the loss, moving the freshman to 1-2 on the season.
The rivalry battle got off to a late start as the first pitch was delayed just over an hour due to the rain on Las Cruces. Once the Aggies took the field, the team sent the Lobos back to the dugout in order before scoring three runs in the home half of the inning. The Lobos allowed the first run to score for NM State with an illegal pitch, and the next two crossed the plate off a throwing error from the bat of Teresa Conrad.
The Lobos hurler Lauren Soles had five illegal pitches in her 2.1 innings in the circle for UNM and two Aggie runs scored of that fault. Conrad plated her only run of the night off one of Soles’ illegal pitches in the bottom of the third, giving the Aggies a 4-0 lead over the Lobos.
New Mexico came back for five scored runs in its half of the third with a three-run homer and three hits in the inning. Each of the runs were unearned, however, as a fielding error by the Aggies would have ideally closed out the half inning.
The Aggies came up with four runs in their half of the third with base hits by Conrad, Tina Cisneros and Amber Olive and the quickness of pinch runner Brennalyn Nakamura. A hit out to right by Kaaihue plated three of those Aggie runs, but went in the books as a fielding error by the Lobos.
Scoreless through the next two innings, both teams lit up the board in the fifth with the Lobos plating five more runs off five hits and two NM State errors to take the 10-8 lead over the Aggies.
Three straight hits in the bottom half of the sixth; Conrad’s second base-hit of the night was deep enough in center field to bring pinch runner Chelsea Dohrwardt around the bags after sophomore Kelsey Dodd hit a single to center to get on base.
The late comeback attempt fell short for the Aggies as they went down 10-9 to the Lobos. The team’s split the series this far, but meet again on March 19, in Albuquerque, N.M., to decide the series.
The Aggies now look at two days of double headers in El Paso, Texas over the weekend.
Beginning on Saturday, Feb. 23, the Aggies face South Dakota before rekindling the rivalry with I-10 foe, UTEP. NM State meets both teams again on Feb. 24.
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