LAS CRUCES, New Mexico – Despite a big boost from a Hannah Lindsay grand slam in the fifth, NM State (10-32, 5-14) was unable to earn the win as the visiting Lancers (27-24, 9-10) won by a score from 9-6 Friday night.
California Baptist sprinted out of the blocks with a three-run first inning that saw Laurali Patane enter the game after just three batters at home plate. A single off the left field line from CBU’s Sydney Soto was the hit that did the most damage as she netted a pair of runs to start the game.
After a single down the middle from NM State’s first batter Hailey Tanorithe Aggies struggled to find success as Lancer starter Alyssa Argomaniz put aside the next nine batters to keep NM State off the scoreboard for the first three innings.
However, after a big first inning, California’s Baptist offense was also limited by the arm of Patane who allowed only two combined hits in the second and third innings. That streak was capped off by the elimination of number eight hitter Molly Kolander to close out the top half of the third inning.
Both teams scored a single point in the fourth but took opposing approaches to do so. CBU played a small ball to move Mackenzie San Pedro around the bases and eventually through home plate. Meanwhile, the NM State race went down in one fell swoop as Jillian Taylor smashed his fifth race of the season to give the Aggies their first race of the day, leaving the home team in trail position by three runs.
After Patane got through a clean top half in round five, NM State opened up their half with a pair of walks. Pinch runner Savannah Bejerano then forced the problem by stealing second and causing a throwing error that allowed Riley Carley to go third.
Senior Melika Ofoiawho made him 18and start of the season, then earned the Aggies the third walk of the fifth inning to load the bases. Beating from ninth place, Hannah Lindsay entered the batter’s box with ill intentions as she hammered a ball off the center field wall to give the Aggies a one-run lead in one quick motion.
B5 | No team should have all that 𝐏𝐎𝐖𝐄𝐑. It’s home run #2️⃣ on the day of the @WACsports home run leaders! 💪
Hannah LindsayThe grand slam gives the advantage to the Aggies!
— NM State Softball (@NMStateSoftball) April 30, 2022
However, Aggie’s advantage was short-lived as California Baptist posted a five on the scoreboard in the sixth inning to regain the lead. The Lancer defense then held NM State scoreless in the bottom half to enter the seventh inning with a 9-5 lead.
Entrance Jordan King would eventually get into the circle and fabricate a 1-2-3 inning in the seventh to keep the Aggies within four runs with an opportunity on the left. A slow-rolling single from Tanori to the right side of the infield would give the Aggies a one-out base runner. Jillian Taylor then picked up her second RBI of the day as she knocked a ball off the center field wall to bring Tanori home from her spot at first base – bringing the Aggies one run closer to the Lancers. Unfortunately, that would be NM State’s only run in the bottom of the seventh, giving CBU the 9-6 victory in Game 1 of the series.
The Aggies and Lancers return to NM State Softball Complex tomorrow night as the two WAC programs compete in a doubleheader with the series on the line. Game 1’s first pitch is scheduled to be thrown at 4 p.m. after the end of the first match. Aggie fans can watch both matches at WACsports.com/watch.