The Independent Student Voice of NMSU Since 1907

NMSU Round Up

The Independent Student Voice of NMSU Since 1907

NMSU Round Up

The Independent Student Voice of NMSU Since 1907

NMSU Round Up

NM State softball falls to WKU in three-game series

Photo courtesy of NMSU Athletics.

In their first conference matchup of the season, New Mexico State softball battled against the Western Kentucky University Hilltoppers in a three-game series and fell in the final contest 11-0 in just five innings. In the first game, the Hilltoppers pulled out a 2-1 win after nine innings, but the Aggies returned on day two with an aggressive offense and took home a 9-0 victory in five innings. Responding to the loss, the Hilltoppers put Katie Gardner in the circle, who proved to be an impenetrable force as the Aggies only recorded three hits in the five innings on day three.   

The Aggies returned to powerhouse senior pitcher Emily Dix to start the contest, but the Hilltoppers had a new game plan after her shut out from the day before. With a three-run home run from Taylor Sanders, the Toppers quickly made their presence known and tacked on another home run before the Aggies could secure three outs. With the 4-0 deficit, the Aggies desperately needed to piece together some action in the bottom of the first but were unable to get runners in scoring position.  

In an effort to throw the Hilltoppers off their game, the Aggies brought in junior Jaileen Mancha to pitch in the top of the second. Thanks to a crucial double play, Mancha sent the Aggies into the bottom half without allowing any runs, but her offense had no luck getting on the scoreboard.  

Photo courtesy of NMSU Athletics.

Riding their momentum into the third, Sanders notched her position as the playmaker of the game with another home run, this time adding two runs to give the Hilltoppers the 6-0 lead. After the Aggies went three up and three down, the Hilltoppers took the opportunity and notched two more runs after a double from Morgan Sharpe for a comfortable 8-0 lead in the top of the fourth.  

The Aggies finally saw some relief in the bottom half with a single from sophomore Devin Elam to center field. With the Aggies unable to bring her home, they desperately needed a defensive stop and brought in freshman Haiven Schoolcraft in the fifth, who was met with roars from the crowd calling for better strike calls from the umpire.  

Despite Schoolcraft’s effort, the Hilltoppers grew their lead to 11-0 after an RBI pop fly and a two-run RBI single from Sharpe. After another scoreless bottom half from the Aggies, the Hilltoppers hit the road with the 11-0 victory.  

“I felt like that was probably the top pitcher in Conference USA,” said head coach Kathy Rodolph after the game about the tough loss. “Very talented. So, I feel like first I’m going to tip my hat to her. And then second of all, we’re going to get back after it and work on really staying within ourselves in each at bat.”  

Continuing ahead, the Aggies still have plenty to look forward to.  

“I feel like this team really plays for each other,” coach Rodolph said. “And so, whether we get down or we get up, they continue to fight.”  

The Aggies will now finish this spring break week up in Huntsville, Texas to face their second conference opponent, Sam Houston State. The first pitch is set for Friday, March 15 at 5 p.m. with another 5 p.m. contest on Saturday, and will be capped off on Sunday at noon. All updates will be posted on the official NMSU Athletics website.  

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About the Contributor
Juliana Trujillo
Juliana Trujillo, Sports Editor
Juliana Trujillo is in her first year as Sports Editor and third year with Student Media. She graduates this year with a bachelors in Journalism and Media Studies with minors in Sports Marketing as well as Social Media Management. She is excited for the opportunity of Sports Editor as a previous sports writer. She plans on attending graduate school and earning her masters in Strategic Communication with the hopes of working for the MLB. In her free time, she enjoys spending time outside, watching sports, and spending time with her friends. Her dog, Hazel, is also the mascot for The Round Up and is appreciated by the entire staff.

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