OREM, Utah – After opening the season with an 11-9 record through the non-conference slate, NM State opens WAC play with a doubleheader against Utah Valley on Friday afternoon in Orem, Utah. In the first game, the Aggies led most of the way, but a pair of costly errors in the seventh inning led to a 5-4 loss. In the second, NM State was unable to produce much offensively, falling 9-2. Paige Knight led the way for the Aggies offensively, totaling three hits, three RBIs and a pair of home runs. Emily Dix (1-4) took the loss in both games, but was the most productive pitcher for NM State on the day, compiling eight strikeouts in 4.2 innings of work.
FIRST GAME | NM State 4 Utah Valley 5
No stranger to doubles this season, Kendall Lunar decided to go the extra mile in her first at-bat of the game, blasting a ball into left field for a solo home run, her second of the year, to put NM State ahead 1-0 early. Kayla Bowen got on the board with one before scoring on a Utah Valley error when Hannah Lindsay came to the plate, making it a 2-0 ball game headed into the bottom half of the frame.
Aidan Brown was given the go-ahead cue, promptly racking up three straight hits to give the Aggies a clean frame and a two-run lead through one.
Following a lead walk Gillian Taylor, Kendall Lunar recorded his second hit of the day, a single through the left side, giving NM State a runner in scoring position. Three straight Crimson & White strikeouts ended the scoring threat and sent it into the bottom half of the inning.
Utah Valley opened the bottom of the third with a walk, the runner advanced to second on a wild pitch and moved to third as the Aggies recorded their first out of the inning. A hit by a pitch put two on in a one-out game, prompting the head coach Cathy Rodolph to hand things over to Lauralee Patane to try to protect the lead. A stolen base put Utah Valley baserunners on second and third with two outs, but Patane was able to rally and get the Wolverines swinging for the second out. Needing one hit to end the inning, Utah Valley’s first hit of the game turned into a two-run situation on an NM State error, tying things at two. Patane’s second hit of the inning put a needle in the Wolverines’ surge.
After witnessing Utah Valley tie the game with one swing of the bat Paige Knight committed to returning the favor by ripping one to left field for a leadoff home run, her fourth of the year and 11th as a member of NM State. Now leading 3-2, Kristen Boyd kept the offense going with a double to the left field wall, later advancing to third on a wild pitch. Gillian Taylor strikeout, swinging at the plate to end the top of the inning.
A pair of singles and a bunt single loaded the bases for the Wolverines with two outs, but Lauralee Patane was able to force Utah Valley into a groundout to end the inning unscathed.
A pair of quick outs in the top of the inning putt Riley Carly at the plate, who smashed his third home run of the season and the Aggies’ third solo hit of the afternoon to double the lead (4-2) and give NM State an insurance run in the bottom half of the inning.
Not getting away easily, Utah Valley doubled to put a runner in scoring position with one out. The next hit went to left field, deep enough for the Wolverines to attempt a play at the plate, but the strong arm of Gaby Aragon get the ball Kendall Lunar for the second out of the inning. Running out of the inning after a groundout, the Aggies held their 4-2 lead into the sixth inning.
Utah Valley added a run in the sixth inning to make it a 4-3 ball game, leaving the Aggie bats with one last chance to add some insurance runs before the home half of the inning. Unfortunately, NM State couldn’t do it, heading into the bottom of the seventh with a one-run lead and Emily Dix in the circle. Utah Valley put a runner on first on an error, followed by Dix’s third hit of the game. The next batter hit a double to score the tying run. Two batters later, the Wolverines singled to complete the comeback and hand the Aggies a crushing 5-4 loss.
Numbers to note
- 3 – Three individual Aggies (Kendall Lunar, Paige Knight, Riley Carly) hit a solo home run; fourth time this season NM State has hit at least three home runs in a game.
- 3 – NM State recorded three errors in the game, the most in an Aggie softball game this season.
- 9 – All three NM State pitchers who appeared in the game (Aidan Brown, Lauralee Patane, Emily Dix) recorded three hits; the nine total strikeouts are the third most by an Aggie this season.
SECOND GAME | NM State 2 Utah Valley 9
Hoping to emulate their opening innings from game one, Kayla Bowen hit a double off the left field wall to give the Aggies a runner in scoring position with two outs. NM State failed to convert and sent the game into the bottom half of the inning tied 0-0.
Emily Dix got the start in the circle after throwing the end of game number one, leading off the first Utah Valley batter of the game. The Wolverines’ number two hitter followed with a two-out blast to left field, giving UVU an early 2-0 lead.
Kayla Bowen opened the sixth inning with a single – her second hit of the game and NM State’s fourth in game two. With one out and one on, Paige Knight stepped up to the plate, hungry for some action. Connecting on the first pitch she faced, Knight lined it to left field for a two-run home run, her second of the day and fifth of the season. Making it a five-run game (7-2), Gillian Taylor stepped up to keep the Aggie offensive momentum going. A pair of follow-up strikeouts ended the top half of the inning.
Numbers to note
- 1 – Number one jersey Jessica Carreon recorded a single for his first hit since February 18th.
- 2 – Paige Knight hit a two-run home run in the sixth inning, her second of the afternoon.
- 4 – NM State is 3-11 when producing four runs or fewer this season.
- 5 – Emily Dix recorded five strikeouts over three innings, tied for the most in an outing during her short time at NM State.
- 6 – Kayla Bowen recorded two hits, her sixth multi-hit game of the season.
The NM State softball team will return to action tomorrow (Saturday, March 18th) for the final game of their three-game series against Utah Valley. First pitch is scheduled for noon (MDT). For updates and exclusive content throughout the season, follow the Aggies on Twitter (@NMStateSoftball), Instagram (@nmstatesoftball) and like us on Facebook (NM State Softball).