Aggie women’s basketball snatch 15th straight win

Aggie women’s basketball struggle, snag 15th win in overtime.

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Photo by Derek Gonzales.

By Derek Gonzales

Staff Writer

The New Mexico State women’s basketball team inched one step closer to an undefeated record in conference play and tied the program record for consecutive wins in the process, beating the University of Missouri—Kansas City Kangaroos, 78-74, in overtime Saturday afternoon at the Pan American Center for their 15th straight win.

The Aggies struggled to shoot the ball in the first quarter, and UMKC capitalized, taking a 15-8 lead. The Aggies then went with a small-ball lineup, in hopes of spacing out the floor and creating driving lanes, but a 25-percent first quarter from the field dug the Aggies a 20-10 hole. UMKC forward Taylor Leathers, who is third on the team in scoring at eight points a game, had seven at the end of the first quarter.

The Aggies ramped up the full-court pressure at the start of the second quarter, playing UMKC ball handlers more aggressively, and went back to man-to-man in the half court, and forced the ‘Roos to call a timeout after causing four turnovers in less than three minutes of action. When UMKC wasn’t turning the ball over, they were knocking down shots, shooting 64 percent from the floor in the first half.

Leathers led the ‘Roos with 14, followed by Kristen Moore with six as they went to the locker room with the 37-30 lead. Last season’s WAC Player of the Year, Brianna Freeman, only saw six minutes of action in the first half due to foul trouble. NM State only made one three-pointer in their seven attempts, but kept their turnover number low, with four, while UMKC had nine.

The second half began with much of the same, with UMKC hitting timely shots and keeping the Aggies at bay, but their shooting percentage did dip down, shooting 41.7 percent in the third. Foul trouble worsened for the Aggies also, as Freeman, Salas, Weber, and Zaire Williams all had three fouls for most of the period as the ‘Roos took a 55-50 lead into the fourth quarter.

As the fourth quarter began, the Aggies had yet to have a lead in the game, but got within a possession numerous times, and were not able to get over the hump until late in the fourth. Aggie leading scorer Sasha Weber fouled out midway through the fourth, only scoring five points on the day. Moriah Mack went into the game, and along side Salas, Freeman, William, and Davis, the Aggies finally took their first lead with a couple of Tamera William free throws with a little bit over two minutes left.

After UMKC’s Samantha Waldron split a pair of free throws, Mack attacked the basket and finished the layup while being fouled. After she made the free throw, she then fouled Waldron in the backcourt, and after she made both, the Aggies still led 66-65.

The Aggies came back on the offensive end, got a layup from Shanice Davis, and after another Aggie foul, UMKC’s Kiana Law missed one of the two free throws, with the miss causing a foul, sending Brianna Freeman to the line where she missed both. UMKC’s Aries Washington drove the ball inside, scoring a floater over Freeman, tying the score at 68.

Brooke Salas missed inside on the ensuing possession for the Aggies, but Freeman caused a tie up, and with the possession arrow pointing the Aggies’ way, it set up NM State with a final chance to win. The possession started with 32.4 seconds left on the clock, and after the timeout by Coach Mark Trakh, the Aggies attacked immediately, missed, but William got the rebound and got it back out to Mack, and she was fouled driving to the basket.

She missed both free throws, but the Aggies got the offensive rebound and called a timeout with 5.3 seconds left. After the timeout, William drove to the basket, but got her shot blocked, sending the game into overtime.

“We do feel comfortable in late-game situations, and we don’t let it show that we might be uncomfortable, so we always stay composed,” said Mack after scoring six of the team’s 10 points in overtime.

She stole the show in overtime, scoring consecutive baskets to put the Aggies up four a minute into the extra frame. She then weaved through the defense for another score, putting the game on ice by giving NM State the six-point lead with less than a minute left. She finished with a game-high 21 points on an efficient 9-15 from the floor.

“We basically went without our best player for the last 15 minutes of the game (Weber), but we aren’t a one-man team, and we’ve had Brooke Salas step up,” said Trakh after the game. “I mean, a freshman went out there and made a big shot at the end, Mo (Mack) took the game over, and I mean, they don’t want to lose.”

NM State sits at 24-3 on the year, and the Aggies will go for their program record 16th consecutive win when they welcome the University of Texas—Rio Grande Valley Vaqueros to the Pan American Center next Saturday at two p.m., in which Senior Day festivities for Shanice Davis, Sasha Weber, and Abby Scott will also take place.

Troubled History: Slaton’s removal as A&S dean the latest in a 10+ story

Christa Slaton’s removal as College of A&S dean is the most recent development in turnover of deans at NMSU.

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Breland Hall houses the College of Arts and Sciences office.  Photo by Billy Huntsman.

By Billy Huntsman

Managing Editor

New Mexico State University has declined to comment on why former Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences Christa Slaton was reassigned—demoted—to senior administrator, working under Kevin Boberg, vice president for economic development, at Arrowhead Center, saying only it was “a personnel matter.”

The reassignment was announced early Wednesday, February 17, in a brief press release from University Communications.

Confusion is widespread and speculation abounds.

“That there was tension between the provost (Dan Howard) and the dean of arts and sciences was no secret,” Mark Medoff, a senior fellow in the Creative Media Institute in the A&S College, told the Las Cruces Sun-News.

One A&S department head, who requested anonymity, told The Round Up/Oncore Magazine both Slaton and Howard have “big personalities” and that the reassignment was a way of Howard showing Slaton, as well as faculty all over the university, “I’m your boss.”

This sentiment was echoed by a separate A&S department head.

“(The reassignment) sends a message to other deans to fall into line with Hadley Hall (the NMSU administration building),” he/she said to the Sun-News.  “I don’t think that the managerial style on display here rises to the level we should expect of a provost. I think it’s incredibly disappointing.”

The department head who spoke to TRU/OM said the fact that both he/she and the department head quoted by the Sun-News requesting anonymity speaks to the “atmosphere” at NMSU, wherein people are “afraid” to say anything negative for fear of repercussions.

“People in academics are like children,” the TRU/OM department head says.

The department head further described the administrative ecosystem at NMSU as “19th century.”

“Some folks really love to become administrators,” he/she says.

Some faculty who become administrators, the department head says, become “addicted to power,” though whether Dean Slaton, Provost Howard, and/or NMSU Chancellor Garrey Carruthers are addicted to power the department head would not comment.

The department head says becoming an administrator is “not very attractive.”

“You deal with a lot of nonsense, a lot of blame, a lot of BS,” he/she says.  “And sometimes administrators give up tenure.  And when that happens, they can’t say anything about their boss because if they get fired, they have nothing to fall back on.”

Given how “unattractive” becoming an administrator is, why would anyone choose or, in the department head’s case, volunteer for an administrative position?

“The only reason I became department head was I wanted to change this department, which I did through Dean Slaton’s support,” the department head says.

The department head described Slaton as critical to the A&S College’s “stability” over the last six years.

“She knew the value of arts and sciences,” the department head says.

What effect Slaton’s demotion as dean of NMSU’s largest college will have on students and faculty morale in that college, the department head declined to comment.

He/she only spoke to Slaton’s impact on his/her department, which, under Slaton’s deanship, grew 40-45 percent

“She never disapproved any requests I put in,” he/she says.

What effect Slaton’s demotion will have on the department head’s department, he/she was “unsure.”  The department head says the interim A&S dean, Enrico Pontelli, promised the department head’s department the same support it was given by Slaton.

“I speak for my whole department when I say Dean Slaton was important,” the department head says.

One faculty member in the department head’s department described Slaton’s demotion as “unprofessional” and “embarrassing” for NMSU.

Slaton had the second-longest running tenure as A&S dean in the last 20 years..  E. Rene Casillas served as dean from 1991 until his retirement in 2002.  Before Casillas, the position was held by Thomas Gale from 1971 to 1991.

Since Casillas’ retirement, however, there have now been seven A&S deans: Jeff Brown (interim, 2002-2003), Waded Cruzado (2003-2007), Greg Fant (interim, 2007-2008), Pamela Jansma (2008-2009), Fant again (interim, 2009-2010), Slaton (2010-2016), and now Pontelli (interim).

Why were Casillas and Gale able to hold the position each for more than a decade, yet none of the others could?

TRU/OM attempted to get into contact with Cruzado, president of Montana State University now, and Jansma, current dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Colorado – Denver, to get their comments on why they left, but our inquiries were not answered.

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Waded Cruzado.  Creative Commons photo.

Cruzado’s time at NMSU is well-documented by the New Mexico media.  She was hired to the deanship of the A&S College in 2003 and, three years later, was appointed as executive vice president and provost of NMSU.

In an NMSU press release announcing her appointment, Cruzado “passion about and dedication to NMSU and its students” favored her in the search for a replacement provost after William Flores left the position to become deputy secretary of education for the state of New Mexico.

Likely it was these qualities that made Cruzado the favored candidate to replace then-NMSU President Mike Martin.

After Martin’s departure to become chancellor of Louisiana State University, Cruzado was appointed by the NMSU Board of Regents as interim president—the first woman and second Hispanic to helm the university.

A week before a search committee was to begin interviews to find a permanent replacement for the president position, then-Regent and search committee member Laura Conniff held “a champagne brunch” at her house “to celebrate a woman of achievement; not just a woman, but women in general,” Conniff told The Associated Press.

However, the brunch, as well as a 50-student-and-faculty rally calling for Cruzado to be appointed as the permanent president the day before the interviews were to begin, had the effect of scaring off at least three finalists being considered for the position “because they felt it would hurt their current jobs” and “they also were concerned about getting a fair chance,” citing favoritism toward Cruzado on the part of the search committee.

This was in spite of the fact that Cruzado “has come out publicly on record on many occasions to state that, as interim president, she cannot and will not be considered for the permanent position of the 23rd President of NMSU,” wrote State Representative Bill McCamley in a 2008 editorial on NMPolitics.net.

Shortly after the finalists pulled out of consideration, the NMSU Board of Regents voted to call off the search, to begin from scratch in May 2009.  Then-Regent Robert Gallagher asked for Cruzado to step down as interim president in June and was replaced with Interim President Manuel T. Pacheco until January 2010, when Barbara Couture became the permanent president.

In October the Board of Regents at Montana State selected Cruzado—who remained NMSU’s provost—the presidency after the retirement of Geoffrey Gamble in March.

Jansma’s time at NMSU is less documented.  Coming from the University of Arkansas, she was selected as A&S dean in 2008 after Cruzado’s promotion to provostShe remained at NMSU for a year before moving on to become dean of the College of Science at the University of Texas—Arlington.

“Although I am sorry to see her leave, I understand her reasons and wish her the very best at UT—Arlington,” said Greg Fant, who took over as interim A&S dean, in a press release.

Jansma said she was leaving for “personal” reasons.  NMPolitics.net reported that she had been living apart from her husband since moving to New Mexico from Arkansas.

But Heath Haussamen with NMPolitics.net speculated that recent “turmoil” at NMSU might have contributed to Jansma’s leaving.

“Former President Michael Martin left last August. The university botched its first search to replace him. Gov. Bill Richardson replaced three of five regents. And the regents recently moved Interim President Waded Cruzado back to her previous job as provost and restarted the presidential search.  That’s a lot of turmoil and instability. Would it surprise anyone that, under such circumstances, some would opt to find employment elsewhere?”

At the time Jansma was one of three deans to leave NMSU.

“The university announced June 2 that Interim Provost Bob Moulton would become director of two colleges of the Higher Colleges of Technology in the United Arab Emirates city of Ras Al-Khaimah,” the Sun-News reported.  “Moulton was to return to his position as dean of the College of Education, a position he had held since 2000.  And in April, College of Engineering Dean Steve Castillo accepted a position as provost and executive vice president of the Colorado School of Mines, beginning July 1. Castillo joined the NMSU faculty in 1987 and headed the university’s Klipsch School of Electrical and Computer Engineering from 1998 to 2004, when he took his current position.”

The situation today is not too different from how it was then.

NMSU currently has three interim college deans: Enrico Pontelli for A&S, James Libbin for Agriculture, Consumer & Environmental Sciences, and Steven Stochaj for Engineering.

The effect of three interim college deans on students at NMSU is minimal, NMSU Provost Dan Howard told TRU/OM.

“Deans have important roles in setting direction for their colleges, which they determine in consultation with associate deans and department heads,” Howard told TRU/OM via email with University Communications Director of News Darrell J. Pehr.  “Deans also manage faculty, staff, and the college. Because of the time commitment associated with deans’ management roles, students and potential students rarely have contact with a dean, especially in a large college.”

Howard says he also anticipates no adverse effect of an interim dean being assigned in the middle of the semester.

“I do not expect the presence of an interim dean to have a noticeable effect on student enrollment or on the (A&S) college’s departments,” he says.  “The interim dean (Pontelli) is highly qualified and well-respected by faculty and staff.”

The occasional changing of a dean has little to no impact on a college, Howard says.

“Colleges are generally so well organized that the departure of a dean does not have a negative effect on teaching, which is the aspect of a college that most impacts students and potential students,” Howard says.  “However, if the turnover rate of deans within a college becomes too high, a vacuum of leadership can set in that makes it difficult for a college to sustain new initiatives and respond appropriately to the rapidly changing landscape of higher education.”

So does NMSU have difficulty retaining deans?

“Bill Eamon served the Honors College for 19 years, Lowell Catlett in ACES served for nine years, Library Dean Elizabeth Titus has served for 15 years, Engineering Dean Ricardo Jacquez served for five years, Education Dean Michael Morehead served for five years, Business Dean Garrey Carruthers served for 10 years, and Graduate School Dean Linda Lacey served for 11 years,” Howard says.  “I do not think NMSU has difficulty retaining deans.”

Do deans at NMSU have difficulty meeting the university’s standards?

“We have high standards for deans and most of our deans easily meet those standards,” Howard says.

Basketball and Politics: NMSU lobbying costs benefit cancer research, total budget

NMSU lobbying at the 2016 legislative session totaled more than $10,000, a portion of which went to a basketball game benefiting cancer research at UNM.

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Creative Commons photo.
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Creative Commons photo.

 

By Billy Huntsman

Managing Editor

New Mexico State University reported spending $10,340.85 in lobbying costs at the 2016 legislative session to the New Mexico Secretary of State’s Office.

The money was spent on ‘jerseys’ ($1,681.25) and ‘reception’ ($8,659.60).

“Each year, state lawmakers take part in a basketball game to benefit New Mexico cancer treatment and research,” says Minerva Baumann, director of media relations at NMSU’s University Communications, on behalf of the university’s Governmental Affairs Office.  “The team from the House of Representatives is the ‘Aggies,’ and the team from the Senate is the ‘Lobos.’ Each school provides the jerseys for the players to wear during that game.”

This ‘Hoops 4 Hope’ game is a 17-year tradition that, over the past five games, has raised more than $86,000 for UNM’s Comprehensive Cancer Center.  Tickets to the game, which this year was played on February 11 in the Santa Fe High School Gymnasium, were $5 and all proceeds, a pledged sum of $22,349, said Justin Schroer, director of development at the CCC, with checks still coming in, went to the CCC.

Like the basketball game, the reception is an annual event held for alumni, says Baumann, some of whom are also legislators, which is why the costs for the reception are reported.

“About one-third of NMSU’s total budget comes from money allocated by the state legislature,” Baumann says.

This fiscal year, that amounted to more than $200 million, Baumann says, which is used to fund instruction at NMSU’s Las Cruces, Alamogordo, Grants, Carlsbad, and Doña Ana campuses.

“It also funds general university business, as well as NMSU’s Cooperative Extension Service, the Agricultural Experiment Station, and other programs that impact people around the state,” Baumann says.  “It’s important for the university to continuously work with our friends in the state legislature, so they are aware of the great research and outreach being done by our outstanding students, faculty, and staff and how we are using the funds they entrust with us to benefit the people of New Mexico.”

NMSU’s $10,340.85 2016 lobbying costs were a little more than Eastern New Mexico University’s ($9,067.53, ‘dinner’) and less than UNM’s ($13,410.04, ‘reception’).

NBA Week 18

How did the NBA rebound after a less-than-exciting trade? Find out in The Round Up/Oncore Magzine’s weekly NBA column!

By Derek Gonzales

Staff Writer

The 2016 NBA trade deadline was expected to be as entertaining as the year before, when players like Goran Dragic, Isaiah Thomas, Reggie Jackson, Enes Kanter, and Kevin Garnett were traded minutes before the four p.m. Eastern Time deadline hit.

This year, rumors swirled around the league, from Kevin Love going to Boston, to Carmelo Anthony teaming up with King James in Cleveland. However, none of these came to fruition, with the most notable trades being Cleveland landing of one of the league’s best three-point shooting big men in Channing Frye, and Phoenix finally getting rid of their disgruntled power forward Markieff Morris, sending him to Washington for two expiring contracts and a protected first-round pick.

Let’s take a look at my three likes and dislikes of Week 18 in the NBA, as well as power rankings.

Like: Cleveland acquiring Channing Frye.

This was a low-cost move for the Cavs, sending a first-rounder and Anderson Varajao’s expiring contract to Portland in the three-team deal. Channing Frye, whom Cavs GM David Griffin is familiar with when both were in Phoenix, is a 7-foot center who in his 10th year and shoots 38.7 percent from behind the arc. His ability to spread the floor and pull opposing big men away from the basket to open up driving lanes for LeBron and Kyrie will be a huge plus for the Cavs as we inch closer to playoff basketball.

Dislike: Markieff Morris

Markieff Morris was given a four-year, $32-million contract by the Phoenix Suns.  And what did they get from him? Bad publicity: getting charged with assault with his twin brother and fellow Sun Marcus, throwing a towel at the Suns’ coach’s head, shoving a teammate during a timeout, and publicly asking to be traded after Marcus got traded.  The unprofessionalism Markieff showed as part of the Suns was wrong.  The organization deserved his 100 percent effort on the court, and did not get that, with his scoring average dropping four points from the season before, to add onto his off-the-court antics. Here’s to hoping he grows up in Washington.

Like: The ‘Brow puts up 59 and 20 on Detroit.

The New Orleans Pelicans have been decimated by injuries all year.  A team that snuck into the playoffs last year is 11 games under .500 and is falling out of the playoff picture, but Anthony Davis provided a memorable night for the team Sunday. He went 24-34 from the field en route to his 59 points in 43 minutes, and grabbed 20 rebounds against Pistons center Andre Drummond. A team with a special talent like this shouldn’t be 22-33 on the year. GET THIS MAN SOME HELP!

Power Rankings:

  • Golden State Warriors (49-5)—It took an unbelievable performance from Damian Lillard, scoring 51 points to knock off the Dubs. Sitting at 49-5, they are still on pace for 73 wins.
  • San Antonio Spurs (47-9)—These Spurs continue to fly under the radar, but they do still face Golden State twice before the end of the season. That’s their chance to get some attention.
  • Cleveland Cavaliers (40-14)—It was a toss-up for the third spot between them and OKC, but they knocked the Thunder in Chesapeake Bay Arena on Sunday, which is always tough.
  • Oklahoma City Thunder (40-16)—They would’ve liked to have gotten a signature win over LeBron and the Cavs, but this team is clicking. The addition of Randy Foye will only make it tougher for opposing defenses.
  • Boston Celtics (33-24)—Brad Stevens has gotten his team to buy into his defense-first mentality. “They’ve got a bunch of junkyard dogs that can play,” said Clippers Coach Doc Rivers after his team lost in Boston.
  • Los Angeles Clippers (36-19)—Speaking of Doc, his team just continues to put up better numbers offensively without Blake Griffin. Good win during the week against San Antonio, but they still cannot figure out a way to beat those Warriors.
  • Toronto Raptors (36-18)—They have the second-best record in the East, but it’s hard to give love to a team that, with Lowry, DeRozan, Valanciunas, hasn’t been able to get out of the first round of the playoffs.
  • Memphis Grizzlies (32-23)—Grit ‘N Grind continues to win games in Memphis. Let’s see if Lance Stephenson can channel that fire that made him popular in Indiana and be productive for the Grizz.
  • Miami Heat (31-24)—Chris Bosh has another blood clot-related issue, so let’s keep him in our thoughts and hope for a speedy return to the court. Hassan Whiteside just posted 25 points and 23 rebounds in a win in D.C. on Saturday, as the team sits at fifth in the East.
  • Indiana Pacers (30-25)—Paul George, who should win NBA Comeback Player of the Year, leads this team into a big game in Miami on Monday. The game will have playoff/tiebreaker implications.

Be sure to check next week for the next installment of the NBA Column.

Derek Gonzales can be reached at gordooo5@nmsu.edu

Make sure to follow Round Up Sports on Twitter at: @RoundUp_Sports

Huggins, Siakam lead Aggies to WAC glory

The Aggies baseball team defeated Seattle U to clinch the regular season WAC championship.

By Albert Luna

Sports Editor

NMSU basketball has been dominating the Western Athletic Conference for years now since the conference landscape changed in 2011. This year seems to be no different. The Aggies defeated Seattle U on Saturday night, 70-57, in their home finale at the Pan American Center and, in the process, locked up the number one seed for the conference tournament next month in Las Vegas.

The Aggies came into the match riding a 19-9 record and a 10-1 conference record, needing just one win to clinch the regular season WAC championship, inching them closer to a fifth consecutive NCAA tournament appearance.

The Aggies’ offense struggled for much of the first half of play to start off the game, essentially carrying over from the first half of Thursday’s game against CSU Bakersfield in which they struggled against the Roadrunners’ zone defense.

NMSU was able to benefit from the play of star Pascal Siakam, who had nine points and seven rebounds in the first half of play. However, the Aggies were not able to shake the dust off their offense and shot just 8-30 from the field and had seven turnovers in the process.

It seems this has been a trend for the better part of a week now, which could possibly be from their humbling loss last week at Wichita State. However, Head Coach Marvin Menzies does not think so.

“Sometimes our guys just play bad, they don’t have good games, that’s the way it goes,” he says.

The Aggies needed to cut down on turnovers and find a way to figure out the zone defense that bothered them in the first 20 minutes of play.

They figured it out in the final 20 minutes. The Aggies got things going in the right direction in large part due to Braxton Huggins’ big second half output. The sophomore scored 19 points and got to the line eight times in the half and was a huge boost the Aggies.

“I just went out and played my game, I don’t want to be viewed just as a three-point shooter, I can put the ball on the floor too,” Huggins says.

Siakam had a good second half too, while Ian Baker struggled for most of the night, going just 1-7 for his lowest amount of points (four) in the entire season. However, Siakam says he thinks it is in large part due to the lack of rest the Aggies have had lately.

“We played four games in seven days, and it is a good break that we have at this point in the season,” Siakam says.

The Aggies rode the hot-handed Huggins and outscored Seattle, 46-30, in the high-scoring second half.

The Aggies will next travel to Kansas City, Missouri, on Thursday, February 27, before they close up their season on March 5 at UTRGV.

Albert Luna may be reached at Aluna32@NMSU.edu

Make sure to follow the official Twitter of The Round up Sports: @RoundUp_Sports

Aggie softball falls to Sooners again, beat Campbell

The Aggies fell to the Oklahoma Sooners for the second day in a row, but for the second day in a row, the Aggies won their second match–this time against the Campbell Fighting Camels.

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Photo by Derek Gonzales.

By Derek Gonzales

Staff Writer

The New Mexico State softball team went into Saturday with a 6-1 record, after falling to the Oklahoma Sooners in the first day of the Troy Cox Classic at the New Mexico State Softball Complex, while being run-ruled in the process.

Today’s rematch showed yet again just how warranted Oklahoma’s ranking as 14th in the nation (The Associated Press) and 10th (coaches’ poll) is.

The Aggies, playing in front of a crowd of 607, which is a top-20 all-time crowd at the New Mexico State Softball Complex, were unable to get their offense off the ground for much of the game, as the closest they got to scoring through the first three innings was second base, on two separate occasions.

The Sooners were able to strike first, much like they did the night before, with the scoring beginning in the second inning. Senior Makayla McAdams gave off two quick hits in just four pitches as the Sooners were able to get the bats going, getting two players on base with no outs to show for it.

The home team also suffered through two separate errors, including one that would have turned a double play and stopped the bleeding at just one run. Instead, McAdams was able to get out of an impressive bases-full, full-count situation by getting a fly out, ending the inning with three runs.

NM State did not have nearly as much success with their own bats, as they had to work hard for their moderate success, with just one runner getting to third base—in the second inning—to show for it at the fifth inning stretch. T

The sixth inning proved to be the back-breaker for the Aggies as they allowed eight hits and five runs in the frame of play. The Aggies were effectively run ruled by the Sooners, 8-0.

The second game started 30 minutes later against Campbell University, and the Aggies were a completely different team. The bats were alive from the get-go, as NMSU spotted freshman pitcher Kayla Green with three runs in the first inning and four more in the second.

Campbell starting pitcher Courtney Roberts got roughed up in only 1.1 innings pitched, allowing five runs on five hits. After relieving Roberts, Campbell decided to use a plethora of different pitchers to try to slow the Aggie offense, but it was too late for the Fighting Camels. An off night for Campbell pitchers and an Aggie offense that was looking to get back on track after not scoring in an 8-0 defeat against Oklahoma was just the perfect storm for Troy Cox Classic host.

NMSU gave up a run in the top of the fourth, but answered right back with two of their own to extend their lead to 10-1, with an Alexis Maynez groundout that scored Haley Nakamura, and a single from Kennedy Johnson. Kayla Green came back out in the fifth inning and put Campbell away, and her stat line for the game included just one earned run in five innings, throwing an efficient 69 pitches while helping the Aggies improve to 7-2 on the year.

The Aggies will close out the Troy Cox Classic on Sunday with two games against Creighton and Western Michigan, at nine and 11:30 a.m. at the New Mexico State Softball Complex.

Sports Editor Albert Luna contributed to this report.

Make sure to follow Round Up Sports on Twitter at : @RoundUp_Sports

 

Aggies baseball beats Towson 2 times in 2 days

With their second win in as many days against Towson, the Aggies look to make it a hat-trick tomorrow afternoon.

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Photo by Derek Gonzales.

By Derek Gonzales

Staff Writer

The New Mexico State Aggies baseball team has already improved on their 2015 season, which started 1-15, in this, the 2016 season, with two wins thus far, defeating the Towson Tigers 17-3 on Saturday afternoon at Presley Askew Field.

Marcel Renteria took the mound for the Aggies, and his first start as an Aggie was efficient, going four innings, giving up only three runs, and only one was earned. The highly sought-after right-hander from Pima Community College was brought in to help the Aggie pitching staff improve its 7.35 team ERA in 2014, and had a great outing for the Aggies today. He threw 38 strikes and struck out four Tigers, and will be a vital for the Aggies going forward.

The Aggies got a run in the bottom of the first, when Jaron Balman was able to hit a single to score Trey Stine. Towson was unable to get anything going offensively early, and fell deeper behind in the bottom of the second when, after a couple of singles by Jason Bush and Brent Sakurai put two runners on base, Daniel Johnson smashed a three-run homerun, his first of two on the day, over the right field fence, jolting State to a 4-0 lead when the second inning came to an end.

Renteria was cruising until he found himself in a bases-loaded, no-out situation. He gave up a single to Towson outfielder Colin Gimblet, but brought the Towson momentum to a halt when he made Clark Catchey ground into a double play that saw the ball come up to Renteria at the mound. Renteria was then able to get the force-out at home plate, and they threw out Catchey at first, preventing a run from being scored on the play.

The next Towson batter was infielder Richie Palacios, and he hit into the gap between left and center field. Two Tigers scored and another was thrown out at third base. That ended the inning, but the Aggies lead was reduced to one, at 4-3.

Bush and Sakurai got on base again for the Aggies in the bottom of the fourth, and with Bush in scoring position, it led Towson to go to a pitching change, bringing in right-handed freshman Skylar Morris. With a runner in scoring position and facing Daniel Johnson, who already had a homerun, Morris hit Johnson, loading the bases.

L.J. Hatch was next up for NM State, and he hit a three-run double to the warning track in center, clearing the bases and adding to the lead, making the score 7-3. Morris gave up another run as Stine hit a double down the left field line scoring Hatch.

It worsened from there, when Aggie Joseph Koerper hit a homerun to center field, putting the Aggies comfortably ahead with the score at 12-3. Skylar Morris exited the game allowing eight runs and wasn’t able to record an out. Dean Stramara came into the game to relieve Morris, and gave up a solo homerun to the first batter he faced, Trey Bell. The fourth inning saw NM State score nine runs on seven hits, with three doubles and two homeruns.

The Aggies brought in 31 new faces last offseason, and it appears that the culture change will lead to a much-improved team to compliment the new facilities that Presley Askew Field has to offer.

The team has only given up eight runs through the first two games, and that’s a huge improvement from a year ago. NM State will look to complete the sweep against Towson on Sunday at one p.m. at Presley Askew Field.

Derek Gonzales can be reached at gordooo5@nmsu.edu

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Aggie softball loses one, runs away with second

After losing 11-1 to the Oklahoma Sooners, the Aggies beat Western Michigan, 15-5 in Friday’s dynamic softball doubleheader.

NMSU Softball

By Julian Martinez

Staff Writer

The Aggies softball team and their coach, Kathy Rodolph, have made it a point to face the best the nation has to offer. The problem is, every now and then you’ll hit a brick wall and that’s exactly what happened to the Aggies in their first game of a doubleheader Friday night.

The first game of the Troy Cox Classic was a very humbling experience against the #10 team in the country, the Oklahoma University Sooners. The Sooners threw the best pitcher on their staff at the Aggies and Sooner Parker Paige showed why she is the ace of the Oklahoma team and the returning pitcher of the year for the Big-12 conference.

Paige limited the Aggies to one run on three hits over five solid innings of work, and included eight strikeouts to top things off. As great a pitcher as Karysta Donisthorpe is, she struggled to limit the Sooners’ offense.

It started with the Sooners putting up three in the second inning and they added three and four in the third and fourth innings, respectively. All told, the final game score was 11-1 when the Sooners added one more in the fifth to be eligible for the mercy rule, giving the Aggies their first loss of the season.

One positive for the Aggies was catcher Tatum Reedy driving in the lone run off Paige with a homerun on a 1-2 count.

So the big question any team has to face in a young season is, how do you immediately rebound after a loss to try again?

The Aggies were obviously shaken up by the loss from the start of their second game, against Western Michigan. Michigan put up three runs in the first inning off a big homerun by their right fielder Erin Binkowski to take an early lead. Binkowski homered again in third inning to give the Broncos an early 5-0 lead.

Then, finally, in the fourth inning, things started to click for the Aggies.

Reedy got on base off a single and then, after having Stokes pinch-run for her, she scored on an error by Bronco shortstop Sabrina Gamboa. Brennalyn Nakamura added on with a single to drive in Amy Bergeson. The Aggies exited the fourth trailing, 5-2.

The comeback continued in the fifth inning with Kelsey Horton driving one deep down the left field for a two-run homerun. Trailing by one, the Aggies entered the fifth inning and came through with a quick 1-2-3 inning to put the Broncos away in the top of the sixth.

Then in the bottom of the sixth, things got explosive in the Softball Complex.

It started off innocently with a Nakamura single up the middle and then Emma Adams came up. Adams drove one in the right center field gap to bring in Nakamura and tie the game at 5-5. Fiana Finau was next up to bat and she made her presence felt with a big homer just above the right fielder’s head to give the Aggies the 7-5 lead.

There was no settling down after that. Western’s Binkowski couldn’t do enough to keep runs off the board. She was only able to record one out and allowed four unearned runs.

The Aggies loaded the bases in the inning and scored off a hit batter, a walk, and multiple poor decisions by fielders. Eventually the lineup rolled all the way back to Finau with the bases loaded.

For the second weekend in a row, Finau mercy-ruled a team on a home run. With a big grand slam, her second homerun, and sixth RBI of the inning, Finau gave the Aggies a 15-5 victory.

The Aggies will be back in action in day two of the tournament on Saturday, February 20. They will have another day of doubleheaders as they play Oklahoma at four p.m. with a chance of redemption and then take on the Campbell Fighting Camels at six p.m.

Aggie baseball struggles against Towson, pull off a comeback

After an intense rehaul of the team over the summer, the NMSU baseball team starts their season with a dramatic comeback against Towson.

By Albert Luna

Sports Editor

New Mexico State’s baseball season got off to a nailbiting start on Friday night as they came back from a four-run deficit to win their season-opener against Towson, 8-5, at the Presley Askew Field.

The Aggies came into the year after an 11-38-1 record just one year ago. They had a massive roster overhaul over the summer, bringing in 31 new faces, including eight freshmen. Towson was 17-35-2 a year ago.

Friday’s game is the first in a three-game series that will conclude on Sunday afternoon. The game also marked the first match to be played in the newly renovated ‘Skew Field, with new locker rooms and press boxes.

The Aggies were led primarily on the mound with freshman Kyle Bradish who got the start.

Both teams struggled to find their offensive grooves, especially in the first three innings with just two hits and a run from Mason Fishback to show for it. However, the fifth inning changed the entire facet of the game.

“We were nervous, we were tight, we really wanted to perform well,” says Head Coach Brian Green.

Coming into the fifth inning, Bradish and the Aggies’ defense held up pretty well and allowed the Tigers no hits or runs. For the Tigers, however, once you get one bat to swing, the rest will usually follow suit. The Aggies gave up five runs on five hits in the inning before stopping the bleeding.

At the time, it looked like the Aggies’ chance of mounting a comeback was slim, especially with a four-run deficit. However, they began chipping away successfully in each of the innings to follow, starting just minutes after in the bottom of the 5th inning.

“I’m proud of our hitters, they didn’t get phased or overreact by the circumstances and they stayed confident,” Green says.

The Aggies scored a run in every inning the rest of the way, including one in the fifth that saw senior Jay Sheely start off the comeback with an RBI. NMSU also found some success in the bottom of the sixth inning, after Brandish redeemed his fifth inning performance by allowing no hits in the next. The Aggies were then able to take advantage of a tired Towson, which walked two Aggie players in a row.

With no outs and runners on first and second, the Aggie offense was able to muster two runs in the inning with Daniel Johnson and Brent Sakuari both getting credited with the two RBIs. Another 1-2-3 pitching inning in the top of the seventh, up went a game-tying Trey Stine homerun that went far left field.

With the game tied, the Aggies switched pitchers to Tyler Erwin, who had to work to get out of the eighth inning, which was the setting for the Aggies getting their biggest offensive performance of the game, with three runs highlighted by a two Johnson-RBIs on the first pitch.

The Aggies got the win in the next frame, needing just four batters to finish the comeback.

“We worked hard and I’m proud of them for this game, and now we need to clean the slate and move on tomorrow,” Green says.

The team will be back in action on Saturday, with the second in the three-game series scheduled to take place at two p.m.

Albert Luna may be reached at ALuna32@nmsu.edu

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Opinion: Thank God Steven Moffat is leaving ‘Doctor Who’

Under Moffat “Doctor Who” tries too hard to be conventional when we fans are used to the unconventional. We want the show back the way it used to be!

By Nani Lawrence

Staff Writer

Before I dive into this opinion piece, just let me say I’m a certain kind of viewer. When I watch something on TV or Netflix, my aim is to enjoy it. Mainly, I’m not much of a thinker. If anything, I’m a ‘feeler.’ Especially, I think, with Doctor Who, I want to feel his alien pseudo-humanity.

One of my favorite episodes I absolutely had to re-watch before Netflix (and every other streaming service) took down all seasons of Doctor Who is probably one of every fan’s favorites: “Vincent and The Doctor.” Not only am I a huge fan of art—painting in particular—and of Van Gogh, but the very last scene in which Amy and the Doctor hope that showing Van Gogh how beloved he is in their time will extend his short life is fantastic to me. That moment and the Doctor’s comment that even though they didn’t save him, they were still important “good things” chokes me up every single time. That alien is more human than many humans I know.

Having said all that, I am pretty happy that Steven Moffat is leaving. I really do appreciate many of the episodes he wrote for. “Blink” and “Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead” are also some favorite episodes of mine. Since he took over as head writer, though, I just cannot follow a single thing.

In groups online full of fellow fans, it seems my opinion is in the minority. People actually like trying to guess what kind of alien-science is at play.

More power to them.

Every time I try to guess, even at times based on past episodes, I’m wrong. Sure, it keeps it interesting, but it really doesn’t keep the show consistent.

Even story arcs didn’t exactly stay consistent. The biggest example that gives me hope while at the same time I’m pretty sure won’t hold up is “River.” When we first meet her in “Silence in the Library,” the Doctor’s and her timelines have reversed. River dies the first time Ten meets her.

In the most recent episode, Twelve sees her for what he says should be the last time. However, River knows him and in fact gripes about how he abandoned her. Is it all because of that diary she carries? It definitely didn’t seem so to me with her very raw emotions (I love Alex Kingston’s acting abilities).

These are both episodes Moffat was deeply involved with!

Please tell me I’m not the only one troubled by this.

I guess it’s someone else’s job to write their way out of this one now.

It almost seemed as if Moffat was trying to force Doctor Who to be cool, which is ridiculous because the fans always did and probably always will think it’s cool. He took over for season five. I absolutely loved Matt Smith’s Doctor, especially with Amy, and even more so for me with Rory.

I really enjoyed the episodes with James Corden as Craig. From season five to now seems to have changed quite a bit, though. The show feels more modern and a bit gimmicky. Gone are the days of more simplistic storylines and more down-to-Earth production quality. I wouldn’t mind getting back to that.

I have no idea who this new head writer is, beyond his involvement, somehow, with Broadchurch. I just hope Chris Chibnall—with his fresh eye and an entire year—is more consistent and can craft better stories and better-developed characters. I think we fans deserve at least that.