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Las Cruces, NM — The New Mexico State softball team won both games in their doubleheader against Utah Valley on Friday, April 25, in Orem, Utah. The Aggies' record improves to 28-21 and 10-4 in Western Athletic Conference play.
NM State entered the series with Utah Valley having dropped their last five games to Grand Canyon and the University of Arizona.
Sophomore Makayla McAdams got the start in the pitcher's circle for the Aggies in game one of the doubleheader but struggled to find the strike zone early on and made it through two innings before being replaced by senior Celisha Walker in the third inning.
NM State started the game strong by posting the first run of the game in the top of the first inning to take the early lead. The Wolverines answered in the bottom of the inning with a two-run home run that gave them the early 2-1 lead.
The Aggie offense struggled to find its footing in the game as they did not pick up their first hit until the fifth inning. NM State's defense kept the game close however, and after the fifth inning the Aggies trailed the Wolverines 3-1 heading into the sixth inning.
NM State finally found a successful inning offensively as they put two runs on the board in the sixth to tie the game up 3-3. Walker was able to keep Utah Valley off the scoreboard in the bottom of the inning to move into the final inning tied up 3-3.
In the top of the seventh junior Staci Rodriguez drew a walk with two outs but the Aggies were unable to bring her home for a go-ahead score.
Both teams remained scoreless until the top of the ninth inning when the Wolverine defense struggled and committed three errors in the inning. The Aggies took advantage of these miscues and scored three runs to take a 6-3 lead into the bottom of the ninth.
Walker was able to shut down the Wolverines in the bottom of the ninth, sealing the win for the Aggies. Walker pitched seven full innings, striking out seven batters and allowing just one earned run after entering the game.
Redshirt sophomore Karysta Donisthorpe was called on to pitch in the second game against the Wolverines. She pitched 2.1 innings before being replaced by McAdams, who pitched two innings. Walker came in to get the final two outs of game two.
The Aggies got things started quickly in the second game as they put up six runs on five hits in the first inning. Things got started when sophomore Emma Adams hit a double. She was brought in a few batters later when junior Malena Padilla also hit a double, giving the Aggies their first score of the game. The Aggies would hit two more doubles in the inning to give them a 6-0 lead.
Utah Valley did get two runs back in the bottom of the first inning, but NM State answered right back by scoring two more runs in the top of the second with the help of a Wolverine error.
In the third inning, Adams came up to bat with the bases loaded and no out and connected on a single to left center field that drove in two more Aggie runs. This was just the start as NM State kept up the offensive power and was able to bring three more runs across the plate in the inning. Heading into the bottom of the third, the Aggies held a commanding 13-2 lead over the Wolverines.
Utah Valley threatened in the third inning as they connected on a couple of hits off Donisthorpe, prompting the Aggies to bring McAdams in to pitch in relief. The Wolverines loaded the bases on the Aggies but good defense and pitching got the team out of the jam without surrendering a run and holding on to a 13-2 lead.
Scoring continued to stay easy for the Aggies in the second game as they had yet to have a scoreless inning heading into the fifth inning. The scoring continued in the final inning as the Aggies were able to put another run on the board, extending their lead to 15-2 as the Wolverines came up to bat to try and avoid the run-rule loss.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, the Wolverines were able to mount some offense as they were able to get four runs across the plate. The Aggies' lead proved to be too much however as they were able to hold on and end the game in five innings and win 15-6.
NM State wraps up its three-game series with Utah Valley on Saturday, April 26. Game time is set for 12 p.m. (MDT).
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