NM State continues winning ways, sweeps Trailblazers for sixth straight


The Aggies improve to 9-3 in the WAC with three wins over Dixie State. (Photo courtesy of NMSU Athletics)

The New Mexico State softball team (24-18, 9-3) made sure work of Dixie State (18-24, 6-9) at in St. George, Utah as they extended their winning streak to six games to stay atop the WAC standings with a 9-4, 10-7 and 8-6 sweep.

WAC Pitcher of the Week Matalasi Faapito started Friday’s doubleheader off in elite fashion with her WAC-leading 13th homer out of center field giving the Aggies an early lead 1-0 in the top of the first before Kayla Bowen added on another run later in the inning. The fire kept burning with WAC Hitter of the Week Nikki Butler going to work hitting one off the fence only for Bowen to follow with an RBI sac fly widening the NM State lead to 5-2 in the third.

The consistency of runs kept flowing, maintaining a lead for the game’s entirety and holding Dixie State to two more runs for the game to seal a 9-4 victory.

Headed into match two, the Aggie offensive remained productive, churning out eight runs in the first four innings. Highlighted by a SportsCenter Top-10 worthy triple-play initiated by freshman utility player Jayleen Burton’s pickoff at third before turning second and first respectively, the Aggies held-off a late game push by the Trailblazers to secure a seventh straight conference-victory.

Rolling into the finale on Saturday, the Dixie State Trailblazers started off the match in a classy manner by honoring lone Aggie senior Nikki Butler on their senior day. Starting off a little rocky giving the Trailblazers a three run lead, redshirt freshman Hailey Tanori righted the ship for NM State in the top of the third with two good hits to help get head coach Kathy Rodolph’s team on the board.

Phenomenal plays would only continue for this NM State team, earning back-to-back walks and forcing a pitching change in the top of the fifth. Nikki Butler kept rolling in the runs as she hit her second grand slam of the year to send the Aggies on top with a 7-4 lead in the top of the fifth. This was the first time that Butler has hit two grand slams in a season in her illustrious Aggie career, making it a day of records.

It was all NM State from then on, with Brianna Gallegos extending the lead to four with a nice hit through the gap and making it three hits for the day, a career high as an Aggie. With the addition of Chloe Rivas getting a line-out and strikeout in the bottom of the sixth, the Aggies secured the win, 8-6.

If these last two weekends have shown anything, it’s that good things take time. This young team has displayed that in some of the most well played games of all season, hitting their stride at the perfect time as the regular season draws nearer to an end. With two series left before the postseason, NM State will look to keep their hot form going in their home finale against Utah State next weekend before closing things out with CBU on May 7 and 8.

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