Las Cruces, NM - New Mexico State travels to take on the host and No. 2 overall seed Arizona at 7:30 p.m. (MT) on Friday, May 19. South Carolina will face St. Francis on the other side of the bracket in the double elimination regional.
Fans can watch the Aggies battle it out with the Wildcats on ESPNU or ESPN3.
To stay connected with the softball team and catch all of the up-to-date information and breaking news, follow the Aggies on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, @NMStateSoftball.
New Mexico State won the 2017 Western Athletic Conference in thrilling fashion. The Aggies opened play against CSU Bakersfield and defeated the Roadrunners 7-2. After falling behind 2-0 in the first, The Aggies cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the inning. It took until the sixth inning for the Aggies to score again when the NM State loaded the bases with two outs in the inning. Rachel Rodriguez scored the tying run on an infield single and Haley Nakamura walked, giving the Aggies a 3-2 lead. Kelsey Horton added insurance runs for New Mexico State with a grand slam, which tallied the final 7-2 score.
NM State followed its win against CSUB by falling to Seattle U 6-4 in the tournament semifinals. Despite scoring consistently in the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth innings, New Mexico State stranded nine base runners in the loss.
The Aggies took on UMKC in an elimination game following their loss to Seattle U. NM State defeated the Roos 15-3, scoring eight runs in the seventh. Haley Nakamura scored four runs in the game. Horton and Victoria Castro each had a home run.
New Mexico State went into Championship Saturday needing two wins over Seattle U to claim the WAC Tournament title. The Aggies and Redhawks slugged it out, starting with a grand slam by Nikki Butler in the first. After battling to an 11-11 tie, SU took the lead in the fifth with a three-run homer to left field. The Aggies were down to their final three outs in the bottom of the seventh. After Horton and Fahren Glackin walked, Castro singled loading the bases with no outs. Butler and Caity Szcesny hit back-to-back singles, putting NM State within one. Nakamura battled in the batter's box and walked to tie the game. Rodriguez hit the game-winner, a single up the middle, giving the Aggies the 15-14 walk-off win.
Despite the slugfest in the first game of the day, the second game was dominated by New Mexico State. The Aggies defeated SU 10-0 on six innings to claim the tournament title. Samaria Diaz and Glackin pitched a combined shutout in the victory. NM State scored seven runs in the top of the sixth to put the game out of reach for SU.
ALL-WAC AND THEN SOME
New Mexico State finished conference play as the Western Athletic Conference Regular Season Co-Champions. Both NM State and Grand Canyon finished the season with an 11-4 record in conference play. The Aggies won the 2017 WAC Softball Tournament, earning their third NCAA tournament bid. NM State defeated Seattle U 15-14 and 10-0 on Championship Saturday to claim the title. Victoria Castro, Samaria Diaz, Misty Hoohuli, and Rachel Rodriguez won All-Tournament honors with Rodriguez being named the Tournament's Most Valuable Player.
The Aggies landed six players on the WAC All-Conference teams. Victoria Castro, Fahren Glackin, and Kayla Green were named Second Team All-Conference. Nikki Butler, Kelsey Horton, and Rachel Rodriguez were named to the First Team with Horton winning Player of the Year recognition.
NM State posts a 29-23 overall record this season. As a team, NM State leads the WAC with 52 home runs and 65 stolen bases. WAC Player of the Year, Kelsey Horton leads the conference with a .424 batting average, an .816 slugging percentage, and a .515 on-base percentage. She also leads the league with 16 home runs and 129 total bases.
KNOW YOUR FOE: NO. 2 ARIZONA
Arizona comes into the Regional with a 48-7 overall record and an 18-6 record in Pac-12 play. The Wildcats post a 26-2 record at home this season and a 30-1 record against non-conference opponents. UA is led on offense by Mo Mercado, who posts a .391 batting average this season. She has started all 55 games for Arizona this season and enters the tournament with 49 runs batted in, Katiyana Mauga leads the team with 22 home runs and 55 RBI
In the circle, Danielle O'Toole comes in with a 1.08 ERA and a 27-4 record. She's also pitched eight individual shutouts this season. Taylor McQuillin enters with a 1.87 ERA and a 15-3 record. In her 105 innings pitched, she's allowed only 70 hits and 18 earned runs.
The Aggies and Wildcats have met twice already this season. UA took two from the Aggies in a doubleheader in Las Cruces, where NM State fell 8-0 and 11-1. Kelsey Horton hit a solo home run for the Aggies' lone run.
Friday's winner will play either South Carolina or St. Francis (Pa.) at 3 p.m. on Saturday while Friday's losers will play at 5:30 p.m. in an elimination game. The loser of game three and the winner of game four will play at 8 p.m. on Saturday.