Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.
OGDEN, UT - The New Mexico State softball team increased its win streak to five Wednesday with a sweep of Weber State defeating the Wildcats 10-1 and 6-3 at the WSU Softball Field.
Unlike last weekend, NM State (24-10, 3-0 WAC) used small ball to take an early lead in game one without a home run. The Aggies clinched the game by exploding for seven runs in the fourth and fifth innings to put the game out of reach after five. In game two, sophomore Tehani Kaaihue's three-run home run sparked a four-run 1st inning for NM State and held off a late rally by Weber State to claim the nightcap.
"We scheduled these games to give us experience on the road," said associate head coach Cat Heifner. "For our first true road series, I thought we did what we needed to do. We just need to keep attacking. Coming up this weekend is Utah State. Every conference series is huge. We just need to play our way on every pitch. We have to show up ready to battle."
Weber State (3-18) pitcher Sarah Clark kept the Aggies off the board in the first inning of game one.
Sophomore Alex Newman started in the circle for the Aggies and held the Wildcats to just one run on six hits.
After a scoreless inning, NM State rallied in the top of the second. Senior Ashley Maroda reached on a walk and junior Brittany Clinton got on base after being hit by a pitch. With two outs and two on, senior Kylie Randall hit a two-RBI triple down the left field line to score Maroda and Clifton. Next up senior Kandis Jones singled to the right side to bring Randall across home plate to give the Aggies a 3-0 lead.
In the bottom of the inning, Weber State got one back after three consecutive singles to cut the NM State lead to 3-1 after two.
In the top of the fourth, Kaaihue opened with an infield single. Randall followed with a single through the left side. Jones reached on a fielder's choice that saw Kaaihue out at third. Randall and Jones then stole third and second, respectively. Junior Tiare Jennings then blooped a single over the first baseman to score Randall and move Jones to third to make it 4-1 NM State.
The Wildcats then intentionally walked the nation's home run leader Hoku Nohara for the second time in the game to load the bases. Junior Shaleese Javillo came into the game to run for Nohara at first. Sophomore Teresa Conrad singled to left center to score two runs and move Javillo to second. Up 6-1, Maroda singled to the pitcher to load the bases. Freshman Valerie Swedberg reached on a fielder's choice as Conrad was ruled safe at home to make it 7-1 heading into the bottom of the fourth.
In the top of the fifth, Kaaihue opened with a single. Randall followed with her third hit of the game with a single to center field. The base runners moved up on a wild pitch. Jones rifled a single to left center to score Kaaihue and move Randall to third to make the score 8-1 NM State. Randall then scored on a wild pitch as Jones moved to second to put the Aggies up 9-1.
Jennings then drew a walk and Nohara was intentionally walked for the third time in the game to load the bases. Senior Tiffany Autry singled to score Jennings to make it 10-1 going into the bottom of the fifth.
Newman improved to 15-2 on the year with the win.
In game two, senior Alex Villalobos started in the circle for the Aggies.
Randall started the Aggies off with a walk to begin the game. The NM State all-time steals leader then stole second and subsequently third as Nohara drew another intentional walk. With runners at the corners, Maroda singled to score Randall. Nohara moved to third and Maroda moved to second on the throw. With two outs and two on, Kaaihue ripped her third home run of the year over the left field fence to clear the bases and make it 4-0 Aggies.
In top of the fourth inning, Jones singled to left with two outs. Nohara blasted a ball to deep left field for a double to score Jones and give the Aggies a 5-0 lead. However, Nohara came up gimpy after rounding second and was tagged in the base path for the third out. She would not return in the game.
Maroda doubled to right center to start the fifth inning. Swedberg followed with a single to left center to move Maroda to third. Swedberg then stole second base. Next up, Kaaihue hit a sacrifice fly to right to score Maroda and put NM State up 6-0.
Weber State opened its half of the fifth with a solo home run to center to cut the Aggie lead to 6-1. After holding NM State scoreless in the fifth, the Wildcats added another run in the top of the sixth with a trio of singles to make it 6-2 NM State after sixth. Junior Kelsey Schueler came into the game in relief of Villalobos to get the final out of the inning for the Aggies.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Wildcats added another score to their total with a solo shot to left center to cut the Aggie lead in half, 6-3, but could not bring any more across.
Villalobos earned the win to move to 2-0 this season.
NM State travels to Logan, Utah this weekend for a three-game WAC series at Utah State. The Aggie squads battle Friday, April 1 at 3 p.m. MT. They conclude the series with a Saturday doubleheader beginning at noon.