New Mexico Lobos Softball – at New Mexico State
Wednesday: New Mexico 4, New Mexico State 3
Up Next: Friday-Saturday-Sunday -- San Diego State at New Mexico
LAS CRUCES -- The New Mexico Lobos got a lot of help from a single swing by Chelsea Anaya and a little more help from the New Mexico State Aggies as UNM left Las Cruces with a tense 4-3 non-conference win.
The Lobos rallied out of a 2-0 deficit in the fourth inning when Anaya drove a pitch low in the strike zone and deep into left field that carried over the wall for a opposite-field, three-run bomb that put the Lobos up 3-2.
The Aggies could have ended the damage at three UNM runs, but fielding errors by the NMSU pitcher and the shortstop allowed the Lobos to leave the diamond with a 4-2 lead. The Lobos squeezed that lead into the 4-3 final and into their ninth win over the season against 18 losses.
“As a coach, you always love it when you team can rally out of a hole, take the lead and then hold onto it,” said Lobo Coach Erica Beach. “It was a good win and it gives us some momentum heading into conference play.”
It’s always nice when the Lobos beat their in-state Rio Grande rivals down in Las Cruces, but UNM’s win at State also provided a psychological boost to carry into the Lobos’ Mountain West opener.
The San Diego State Aztecs hit Lobo Field on Friday for the first of three games to open MW play. The Aztecs, the two-time defending MW champions, are the preseason pick to do it again.
The Aggies made it interesting in the bottom of the fifth and seventh but failed to score. The Aggies had bases loaded with one out in the fifth, but UNM’s Anaya snared a screaming Aggie line drive and flipped it over to Jordan Sjostrand at first for the inning-ending double play.
The Aggies led off their half of the seventh with a double, but decided not to bunt that potential game-tying score to third. The Aggies made three straight outs to end their final threat.
The Lobos ended with 10 hits and NMSU had eight hits. Sjostrand was 3-of-4, Anaya was 2-of-4 and Naomi Tellez was 2-of-4. Anaya had three RBIs and UNM’s winning run was unearned, produced by Aggie miscues. NMSU’s Staci Rodriquez had two hits, two RBIs and scored twice for the Aggies.
Lisa Rodrigues (4-4) got the start and the win for UNM and pitched 4.1 innings allowing three runs on seven hits. Carrie Sheehan came on in relief and finished the game giving up one hit with no walks.
The Lobos had scoring threats on the bags in each of the first three innings, but left those runners on base. Anaya finally pushed a couple of teammates around the bases and onto the scoreboard in the fourth. It was Anaya’s fourth home run of the season and pulls her into a tie for the team lead with Jasmine Casados.
New Mexico had two runners on in the first with two out but lost the opportunity when Jasmine Casados struck out. UNM again placed two runners on the bags in the second inning off back-to-back singles by Michala Erickson and Jordan Sjostrand. The Lobos then made three straight outs and did not score.
The Aggies had a good threat in the bottom of the second inning. NMSU reached first on a walk and backed that with a Dodd single off UNM pitcher Lisa Rodriques’ right knee. Aggie Emma Adams, an Albuquerque Cibola High produce, dropped a bunt down third base and advanced Aggies to second and third with one out. Rodriques got the important second out on a strikeout and ended NMSU’s threat by inducing an infield grounder to Casados that produced the third out.
UNM reached the bags again in the third. Shelbie Franc walked and Mariah Rimmer singled with one out. Casados fouled out to third and Erickson struck out looking to end that threat.
The Aggies reached the board first using their half of the third inning to push across two Aggie base runners.
Aggie Malena Padilla led off with double from Malena Padilla, who advanced to third on an infield out. NMSU’s Staci Rodriquez slashed a single to left field and NMSU had the 1-0 lead. Rodriguez made it 2-0 scoring from third on a deep grounder to short by Lacie Rother that became an RBI single.
Again, the Lobos had no trouble placing runners on the bag. Sjostrand led off with an infield single and Brandi Heimburg knocked a floating single into center field. Those hit knocked Karysta Donisthrope out of the circle and Makavia Adams took over the pitching chores.
McAdams got a strikeout but then Anaya scooped a ball deep into left field that carried over the wall. UNM was up 3-2. The Lobos used two infield errors to go up 4-2.
The Lobos stranded two runners again in the fifth – Sjostrand and Anaya, who reached on infield singles. Celisha Walker, NMSU’s third pitcher, quieted the threat with three Ks in the inning. She finished the game with five strikeouts.
NMSU inched closer in the bottom of the fifth when Rodriquez bombed a pitch over the right centerfield fence to make it 4-3. The Aggies loaded the bases and Carrie Sheehan took over the mound with one out. NMSU’s Adams slashed a liner at Anaya at second and she made the catch and then flipped the ball to Sjostrand at first for the inning-ending double play.
The Aggies are now 17-15 on the year.