By: Derek Gonzales
The 2017 softball season got off to a solid start for the New Mexico State softball team. After a disappointing end to last season, this year’s bunch, which includes nine freshmen and seven sophomores to rank as the second-youngest team in the nation, took both games of the Saturday doubleheader 9-1 and 4-1 before dropping the series finale 11-3 to the Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners on Sunday.
In the first game, NMSU fell behind 1-0 before a fourth-inning rally put the Aggies ahead for good. With two runners in scoring position, Amy Bergeson reached first base safely after first baseman Angelica Nino dropped the ball for the error, scoring the runner at third. Victoria Castro singled next to put NMSU up 2-1.
With the bases now loaded, Fahren Glackin grounded into a fielder’s choice, but Bergeson slid into home plate, beating the throw and scoring another run for the Aggies. Haley Nakamura and Misty Hoohuli both singled in runs, capping off the seven-run inning.
Preseason WAC Player of the Year Kelsey Horton hit her first home-run of the season in the next inning to increase the score to 8-1. Sophomore Kayla Green went five innings, giving up just two hits and one earned run to pick up her first win of the season.
Head Coach Kathy Rodolph decided to give the visiting Roadrunners a different look in the second game, starting four of her nine freshmen on the roster. The Aggies wasted no time taking the lead, as Caity Szczesny churned out a triple in the bottom of the first inning, scoring Castro and Glackin to give NMSU an early 2-0 lead. Jeanelle Medina returned the favor, hitting a single that scored Szczesny to increase the Aggie lead to three. That’s all pitcher Samaria Diaz would need, keeping the UTSA at offense at bay, allowing just one run and seven hits while going the distance. The other run scored came from a Horton double that brought Hoohuli home.
“Kayla Green, Samaria Diaz, and Fahren Glackin were very composed for our team and did a nice job staying pitch to pitch,” Rodolph said. “Our defense was consistent in both games as well.”
The series finale did not go as well as NMSU would have liked. With Green back in the circle for the Aggies, the Roadrunners appeared to have figured out the puzzle on how to generate offense against the talented Tucson, Ariz. native, scoring three first-inning runs after the Aggies did the same thing to UTSA the day before. It was not until the lead had swelled to five before NMSU would get on the board via a Horton home-run. Six of the 11 UTSA runs were unearned due to three untimely errors by the Aggie defense. Green took the loss for the Aggies, her first of the season and the team’s first loss of the year.
Horton earns WAC Hitter of the Week
Horton had at least one RBI in each of the Aggies’ first three games of the season and earned the recognition after posting a .667 batting average with two home-runs and four RBI’s during the opening weekend.
After hosting the annual Troy Cox Classic inside the NM State Softball Classic this past weekend, the Aggies will hit the road for the first time this season to Cathedral City, Calif. Returning to the Mary Nutter Classic for the second season in a row, NMSU will face LSU, NC State, Michigan, Oklahoma State and San Diego State in the five-day round-robin event. For NMSU, it presents another opportunity for the Aggies to experience the challenge of facing power-5 opponents before conference play begins next month.