Albuquerque, N.M. – The San José State softball team saw New Mexico get five hits, including a pair of home runs, and score five times in the first inning, but then came back for a 7-6 win on Friday afternoon.
Starter Katelyn Linford, in her shortest outing of the year, surrendered four runs on three hits, including an RBI double and two-run homer, in a third of an inning and left with a runner on first base.
Colette Riggs came in got the second out of the inning, and then gave up a two-run home run of her own to put San José State (30-15, 10-6 MW) in a five-run hole after one inning.
Entering the third with the score still 5-0, SJSU loaded the bases with one out and pushed across its first run of the game.
Alyssa Avila (1-for-4, RBI) led off the top of the inning with a single followed by a Kristen Heffley walk. Both were replaced by pinch runners. New Mexico (20-21, 6-10 MW) loaded the bases on the first of four errors they would commit in the game. Cassidy Clark then (1-for-2, RBI, 2B) lifted a ball to centerfield, which was caught adn SJSU scored a run on the sacrifice fly.
New Mexico came right back in the bottom of the inning with a pair of one-out walks and a single to load the bases. Like the Spartans, they got a sacrifice fly to center to push their advantage back to five runs, 6-1. It would be the last run Riggs (8-3) would allow.
In the fourth, the Spartans put up a crooked number. Georgia Blair (1-for-4, 2R) got on via an error at short to lead off. Madison Aurin (3-for-4, 2R, RBI) followed Blair with a single and two outs later Makayla Englestad (2-for-4) laid down a perfect bunt single to load the bases. Avila singled in Blair keeping the bases loaded. Then with Brittany Abacherli in the batters box, UNM pitcher Tess McPherson was called for an illegal pitch scoring the second run of the frame and cutting the Lobos lead to 6-3.
In the bottom of the frame, New Mexico got the first two batters on and then nearly ran themselves into the triple play. With runners on first and second and no outs, the UNM batter popped out the first baseman Madison Aurin ,who caught the ball with her back to the infield. The runner on second then tried to get to third, but Aurin spun and threw a frozen rope to third. Emma Entzminger made the tag for the second out. Seeing the throw going across the diamond, the runner on first took off for second and got in just under the tag, narrowly avoiding a triple play.
In the fifth, Casey Watt walked to lead off the inning. After a Blair single, Aurin singled over the centerfielder’s head driving in Watt to make it 6-4. Chelsea Jenner (1-for-3, RBI) hit a sacrifice fly to right scoring Blair from third and it was a one-run ballgame, 6-5.
In the sixth SJSU tied the game 6-6. Abacherli (1-for-3, R) opened the inning with a single. It ended the day for McPherson who was relieved by Krissy Fortner. Abacherli stole second on Fortner’s first pitch and after a ground out, Watt flied out to center moving Abacherli to third.
On an ill-advised throw to try to get Abacherli at third, the ball bounced away from the third baseman and Abacherli scampered home with the tying run. The comeback was complete and the Spartans could on seizing game one of the three game series.
In the seventh, Aurin and Jenner singled to get things started and Englestad flied out to right. On the fly out both Aurin and Jenner moved up on a throwing error by the Lobos right fielder. With Avila at the plate, Marissa Bethke, who entered the circle earlier in the inning, uncorked a wild pitch. Aurin came home to put the Spartans in front the first time in the game.
New Mexico did not go quietly in the bottom of the seventh. With two outs and a runner on first, the Lobos picked up a single to center. Riggs then induced what should have been the game ending ground ball to second. Clark was momentarily blocked by the runner going to second and couldn’t handle the ball cleanly. The error loaded the bases with two outs. On the first pitch she saw, the next hitter popped a ball into foul territory, which Watt safely gloved to end the game in the Spartans favor.
Riggs went 6.2 innings scattering eight hits and giving up two runs. She struck out four, but walked five in earning her eighth victory of the season.
Fortner (5-4), who pitched 1.0 inning, gave up three hits and a run in taking the loss.
Game two of this three game series is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. on Saturday.
San Jose State 7, New Mexico 6 (Apr 28, 2017 at Albuquerque, N.M.)
San Jose State...... 001 221 1 - 7 11 2 (30-15, 10-6 MW)
New Mexico.......... 501 000 0 - 6 11 4 (20-21, 6-10 MW)
Pitchers: San Jose State - Linford, Katelyn; RIGGS, Colette(1) and Avila, Alyssa. New Mexico -McPHERSON; FORTNER(6); BETHKE(7) and JOHNSON.
Win-RIGGS, Colette(8-3) Loss-FORTNER(5-4) T-2:22 A-534
HR NM - JOHNSON (6); SMITH, D. (2).
Weather: 47 degrees, rainy, cloudy
McPHERSON faced 1 batter in the 6th.
FORTNER faced 2 batters in the 7th.