By Derek Gonzales
It’s safe to say the New Mexico State softball team is on a mission to repeat last year’s success. After defeating Incarnate Word three times and UTEP once in the first two days of the Aggie Invitational, the Aggies capped off the weekend with a 12-4 win in six innings over the UTEP Miners on Sunday at the New Mexico State Softball Complex.
Karysta Donisthorpe took the mound for the Aggies, and the Preseason All-WAC first teamer was outstanding once again, striking out five of the 14 batters she faced, throwing strikes on 55 of 75 pitches. She was 3-0 this weekend, and is well on her way to another phenomenal year similar to the 21-5 record she put together last spring.
“From the very beginning, I said that how we are going to do this spring is dependent on Karysta (Donisthorpe) and Mac (Makayla McAdams) as senior pitchers and leaders in the circle, and their ability to allow us to settle in and play defense behind them is allowing the young offense to come together,” says New Mexico State Head Coach Kathy Rodolph.
The Aggies got off to a fantastic start, taking a 3-0 lead in the first inning, with the first four hitters all reaching base before UTEP was able to record an out. Fiana Finau and Emma Adams both recorded a first inning RBI, with Finau stealing home on a double steal. UTEP starting pitcher Taylor Grohmann struggled to record outs, as the Aggies had eight hits at the end of the second inning, and Grohmann was pulled after surrendering five runs, three of them earned, in 1.2 innings.
Erika Harrawood came into the game to relieve Grohmann, and got UTEP out of a bases-loaded jam. Harrawood got herself in another bases loaded, one out situation, but she was able to get out of the inning, limiting the damage and not allowing a run in the bottom of the third.
NM State loaded the bases in each inning from the second to the fourth, and the Aggies opened the floodgates with a grand slam from pinch hitter Corrin Green. The Aggies were not threatened from that point forward, up nine runs.
The Aggies sent freshman Kayla Green to the mound for the top of the fifth inning, hoping that she could put the bow on the game and the undefeated opening weekend, but she allowed UTEP to put four runs on the board to extend the game and stave off the run-rule.
Green was unable to get to the end of the inning, allowing four runs, three of them earned, in only two-thirds of an inning. Senior Makayla McAdams relieved Green and ended the fifth with just one pitch. UTEP reliever Danielle Pearson came into the game at the top of the sixth, and walked three batters, gave up three hits, including a walk-off single from freshman Victoria Castro.
“From top to bottom, I think there is amazing power and great speed on the team, and there’s big shoes to fill this season, and I think that with the freshmen coming in, they are stepping in and doing a great job,” says Castro, who had a hit in all three plate appearances in the game.
New Mexico State is off to a perfect start, and will welcome Oklahoma, Creighton, Western Michigan, and Campbell University to Las Cruces for the annual Troy Cox Classic this coming weekend.
NMSU faces the national power Oklahoma Sooners on Friday February 19 at four p.m., and follow that game with a matchup with Western Michigan at six p.m. at the New Mexico State Softball Complex on the first day of the three-day round robin tournament.
Derek Gonzales can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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