NM State falls short in Bear Down Fiesta against internationally reknown squads

The+Aggies+put+together+some+strong+showings%2C+but+can%27t+snatch+a+win+against+Arizona+or+Team+Mexico+over+the+weekend.+%28Photo+courtesy+of+NMSU+Athletics%29

The Aggies put together some strong showings, but can’t snatch a win against Arizona or Team Mexico over the weekend. (Photo courtesy of NMSU Athletics)

The New Mexico State softball team dropped all four of what will likely be their toughest matchups across the span of the entire season, losing both games played against Team Mexico and both games against No. 8 Arizona.

U of A is consistently a powerhouse in the college softball landscape and Team Mexico ranks fifth in the World Baseball Softball Confederation and will be a Olympic medal contender this summer, so the opportunities to play top notch competition have been exciting for head coach Kathy Rodolph and her squad, who often challenge themselves in the scheduling. She wants to make an elite team and to do so she has truly put these players to work to be their greatest.

“Our hitters are working as hard as they can getting in a lot of individual work and really trying to keep their confidence with the play and swing like they have never missed. Defensively, we are trying to make sure that we really communicate well and we try to eliminate the other team from getting momentum because we make the moments too big,” Rudolph said. “In the circle, where really trying to focus on the two strike approach, we are doing a good job at getting ahead of them, we are doing a great job of getting the first out, we have too work on finishing them and two strike pitches.”

Both teams came out aggressive in the Bear Down Fiesta opener against Team Mexico. Ramsay Lopez hit a dinger to get this going in the first, but Team Mexico made sure to respond boldly, tying things up in their first chance at the plate. Lopez stayed on fire, notching a second home run under her belt for the game giving the Aggies a 2-1 lead in the fourth. The fire quickly spread to Chloe Rivas, who hit a home run smack dab into the center field in the fifth inning widening the gap to 4-2. Matalasi Faapito rounded out a fourth home run for the Aggies in the sixth inning making it 5-3. Mexico would persevere, however, scoring three in the seventh and winning in walk-off fashion.

Quickly transitioning into match two against No. 8 ranked Arizona, the Aggies struggled giving up four in just the first inning. Finally, in the top of the fourth Kayla Bowen got a RBI on a fielder’s choice, and finally put the Aggies on the board after some serious damage from Arizona 5-1. Redshirt Freshman Gabby Aragon made a special appearance hitting her first home run of the season to help the Aggies claim some momentum back, but Arizona is a top-10 team for a reason, and held off any comeback effort in a comfortable 11-5 victory where they outhit NM State 13 to 4.

Saturday proved to have similar outcomes, with the first match against Team Mexico proving very close at the beginning, but lost as the game went on. A lot of firsts this weekend for the young members of the program, with Briana Gallegos getting her first homer of the year as well in the third inning giving the Aggies a 5-3 lead. From then on it proved a struggle for the NM State, not being able to get the edge over elite Team Mexico. The maturity in play of this Mexican National Team proved superior, scoring nine straight runs to handedly defeat the Aggies. Moving to the final match of the weekend, the Aggies tried to shake it off, but couldn’t seem to get going, falling behind early and failing to put any stretch of success together in a grueling 8-0 five-inning, series ending loss.

A tough weekend for NM State won’t look great in the win column, but the Aggies were able to pick up valuable experience against premiere teams in the world, and held their own for a big portion of the two-day stretch. The Aggies will continue to find their rhythm as they head back home for their three game series against Tarleton State on Friday, April 16th.

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