LAS CRUCES, N.M . (UND Athletics) -- Highlighted by offense in the early innings, the University of North Dakota softball team fell, 5-2, to New Mexico State on Sunday afternoon in the final contest of a three-game series at NM State Softball Complex in Las Cruces.
UND (15-20) jumped out to a 2-0 lead heading to the bottom of the second, but the Aggies (14-12) responded with five runs over the next pair of frames to rally for the 5-2 victory and sweep the series.
Jailene Carpio was a force at the plate from the top of the order for the Fighting Hawks, collecting three hits and an RBI in her four plate appearances on the afternoon. Kayleen Schneider and Deja Miller also tallied a base hit each to help pace the visitors to five hits while Marina Marzolino drove in the other run for UND.
Emily Rosas earned the start in the finale for the Fighting Hawks, but was tagged for six hits and five runs over 2.1 innings while also walking a pair to exit with her fifth loss of the season. Nikki Pica and Jannay Jones were solid in relief as Pica allowed only two hits, two walks, and struck out three over 2.2 frames and Jones surrendered just a single hit in her lone stanza of work.
It was strong play with two outs that got the scoring started for the Fighting Hawks, as an error by the Aggies allowed Angel Love to reach and advance to second before Dani Romero forced a second throwing error to bring home Love and put the visitors in front, 1-0, after an inning of play.
After a tailor-made double play helped the Hawks escape the bottom of the first, UND tacked on another run in the next half inning. Victoria Minor and Lexi Mayhood each earned bases the hard way after being plunked by pitches to place runners on first and second with one out, but a pop out held the runners stagnant with two away. It was Carpio at the top of the order who came through with the clutch, two-out single to left field, bringing home Minor and doubling the advantage for UND.
New Mexico State rallied in the next pair of frames, however, striking for two runs in the bottom of the second to tie the game at two before adding on three more in the bottom of the third to take a 5-2 lead after three.
The UND pitching kept the Aggies at bay for the remainder of the game, allowing a chance for the visitors to knot the game at five in the top of the seventh. Singles by Schneider, Miller, and the third of the day by Carpio loaded the bases for Marzolino with only one out and the tying run at first; however, Schneider was called for leaving the base early on Marzolino’s fly out to give the Aggies an unusual double play and the 5-2 victory.
North Dakota won’t have to wait long to get back into action, taking on New Mexico in a doubleheader on Tuesday to close out nonconference play.