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NMSU softball falls to Liberty 8-7 in extra innings

NMSU softball falls to Liberty 8-7 in extra innings

LYNCHBURG, Va. – A 10-inning Friday night thriller ended in heartbreak for the Crimson & White. After taking the lead twice in extra innings, Liberty took the final lead on a walk-off passed ball in the 10th inning. Despite 10 hits and two home runs, the Aggies couldn’t put the Flames away in a three hour and 15 minute game. With the loss, NM State fell to 25-18 overall and 10-6 in CUSA play.

HOW IT HAPPENED

The game began with a bang from Jillian Taylor. On the sixth pitch of the game, the senior launched her seventh home run of the season to dead center field, giving the Crimson & White a lead right out of the gate.

For the next three-plus innings, neither team recorded a hit and only one runner advanced to scoring position. In the bottom of the fourth, Liberty tied the game with an RBI-double to right center.

After a quick top of the fifth, Liberty had its longest, most productive inning of the day. Despite just one single, the Flames loaded the bases with no outs. Back-to-back fielders’ choices scored a run apiece before a double scored the inning’s third run. Emily Dix entered for the starting Mancha, getting out of the inning with a flyout to right field.

Kayla Lunar’s sixth-inning single to right field scored Desirae Spearman for NM State’s second run. A pair of Flames found their way to scoring position in the bottom of the frame, but failed to score.

Kendal Lunar opened up the top of the seventh with an infield single down by two runs. Savannah Bejarano pinch ran for Lunar and promptly stole second. A Jillian Taylor triple would score Bejarano, pulling the Aggies within one run. Dezianna Patmon then walked up to the plate with two outs. The junior took the first two pitches of the at-bat for balls before unleashing on the third. Patmon’s swing sent the ball well over the fence in left center, clearing the netting behind the wall. The blast gave NM State a 5-4 lead entering the bottom of the seventh inning.

CUSA Preseason Player of the Year Rachel Roupe came to the plate with two outs for Liberty. Roupe sent a drive into left center, tying the game at five runs apiece and signaling the start of extra innings.

After a scoreless eighth inning, a pair of Aggie singles started off the top of the ninth. After both Jillian Taylor and Jessica Carreon stole bases, A Liberty wild pitch scored the first run of extra innings, granting the visitors a 6-5 lead. Dezianna Patmon followed up the score with a single up the middle, extending the lead to 7-5.

Roupe once again was due up with two outs, but with a runner on in the bottom of the ninth. She once again sent a ball over the outfield wall, tying the game at 7-7. A pich-running Xophia Venegas entered the game for Kayla Lunar after getting hit by a pitch. A Jayleen Burton bunt advanced Venegas to second, but consecutive strikeouts followed, ending the visitors’ half of the 10th inning.

The home squad began the inning with a double, and later advanced the runner with a sacrifice bunt. With two outs, the Flames advanced the runner home to score on an Aggie passed ball, ending the 195-minute game at 8-7 in favor of Liberty.

NUMBERS OF NOTE

  • The matchup was just the fourth meeting all-time between Liberty and NM State. The previous three affairs all came on neutral fields.

  • Jillian Taylor extended her hitting streak to nine games with the leadoff home run. The senior launched her fourth homer in the past six games, extending her career-best hitting streak.

  • The loss snapped a four-game winning streak, including three games in CUSA play.

  • 10 innings marked the longest game of the season. The last time a game went into the 10th or further was when NM State went to the 12th inning against South Florida March 10, 2021. The Aggies lost 4-3 for the second straight game of a doubleheader with the Bulls.

  • Dezianna Patmon’s home run in the seventh inning gave the Aggies a 7-5 lead. Patmon launched a pitch well over the left field wall for the ninth home run of her 2024 campaign, and racked in her 33rd RBI of the season to lead all Aggies.

UP NEXT

The two sides will play the second part of a three-game series tomorrow, Saturday, April 20, at 12:00 PM MT. The entire weekend of action will be streamed on ESPN+ and available to follow via nmstatestats.com.

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