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Two big innings in the middle of the game led the New Mexico State softball team to a 5-1 win in the series opener against Western Athletic Conference opponent UT Arlington on Friday, April 5.
The Aggies improve to 24-13 on the season and 6-1 in conference play with their eighth consecutive win.
“I think Alex (Newman) did a great job staying in the game and doing what needed to be done in the circle,” head coach Kathy Rodolph said. “I think that she kept us in the game until we were able to pick it up offensively and then Emma (Adams) and Kelsey (Dodd) came up with some key hits for us. I think it was a great way to start the series, and we are looking forward to tomorrow.”
Newman went the distance in the circle with just four hits allowed and only one unearned run on the day. She had two strikeouts and did not allow a single walk to her 26 batters faced. Newman improves her pitching record to 12-8 this season with her eighth complete game this season.
The teams were scoreless through the first two innings with UTA picking up a hit in each of the first and second. In the home half of the third, NM State kick started things with two runs off two hits.
After Alyssa Ruiz reached base on a walk, pinch runner Chelsea Dohrwardt stepped onto first in time for Adams to come to the plate. Dohrwardt made the steal to second and was brought around for the first Aggie run off a double to left center by Adams.
Senior Amber Olive came up with an RBI single that scored Adams. With the runner in scoring position, Kristi Covarrubia came to the plate for her fourth sacrifice hit of the season to move Olive over to third before the inning was shut down off a strikeout and a grounder to second.
UTA came back for a run of its own in the top of the fourth. After reaching on a fielding error, the catcher Rachel Forshaw made her way around the bases for an unearned run off the bat of shortstop Nina Villanueva.
NM State continued to make a run for the win in the fourth as Dodd went yard with a solo shot over the left center field wall. The bomb was her sixth of the season and third in WAC play.
After Malena Padilla reached on a walk, senior Tehani Kaaihue came up with a single and Ruiz took a sacrifice bunt to advance both the Aggie runners. Padilla was brought across the plate off Adams second big hit of the day – a single up the middle.
Olive earned her second hit of the day for another RBI when she squeezed a bunt in front of the circle to bring Kaaihue around to score the Aggies fifth run of the night.
NM State finished the day with seven hits and five runs with Adams and Olive each getting two RBIs on the game. The freshman went 2-for-3 at the plate while Olive was 2-for-4.
NM State continues against the Mavericks on Saturday for a doubleheader to close out the series. Game one is set for 4 p.m. and is live on KSNM AM570 in Las Cruces with Jay Sanderson making the call.
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