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Zoe Malen / The Nevada Sagebrush

The Nevada softball team took on New Mexico  — 10-27 overall, 2-4 Mountain West Conference — on March 28 to 29, beating the Lobos in all three games for their second sweep of the season.

The first day of the faceoff featured a double header between the Wolf Pack and the Lobos, one that the Pack took both games in. The first of the two games was headlined by Pitchers Carley Brown for Nevada and McKenna Guest for New Mexico, who both threw complete games.

New Mexico got the game started by scoring in the first inning. DeNae Vasquez-Dickson, New Mexico outfielder, reached home after a pitcher’s choice single and a wild pitch got her to third. Ashley Archiuleta, New Mexico second baseman, hit the sacrifice ground-out to bring Vasquez-Dickson in.

Both sides left one base runner each on the bases while not scoring any runs for about two innings. Then, Chelie Senini, Nevada outfielder, hit an RBI triple that brought in Bailie Clark, Nevada outfielder, who was on second after being hit by a pitch and stealing the base. Two batters later, Senini was brought in after Bridgette Gilliano, Nevada second baseman, hit an RBI single.

Two more innings passed before Nevada added onto their lead. Senini scored once again, this time being brought in by Gabby Herrera, Nevada outfielder. However, New Mexico quickly answered back in the sixth inning, as Vasquez-Dickson hit an RBI double and Macie Andrews, New Mexico outfielder, hit a two-RBI single to claim a 4-3 lead for the Lobos.

In the bottom of the sixth, Nevada rallied with one out. After Charlie Hawkins, Nevada catcher, hit a double and Matlyn Leetch, Nevada pinch runner, subbed in for her, Maile Olsen, Nevada shortstop, hit an RBI triple to tie the game. Right after, Clark got an RBI of her own off of a single to get the lead back for the Wolf Pack.

Brown came in and retired the next three New Mexico batters, propelling Nevada to its first win of the weekend 5-4.

The second game of the double header was not as close as the first. New Mexico went through three pitchers, but the result went to Taylor Snow. Blake Craft, Nevada pitcher, got the start and pitched a complete game for the Pack.

Both teams got on the board in the beginning inning, as Herrera and Hailey Painter, Nevada third baseman, hit solo home runs and Vasquez-Dickerson hit a two-run home run.

After the first inning, Nevada took over the rest of the game. Blake and the rest of Nevada only allowed New Mexico to get five runners on base for the remainder of the game. Only one of those was from a hit, which was from Sydney Carithers, catcher, in the last inning.

While Nevada flourished on defense, the team was also producing on offense. Over the next two innings, the Pack tacked on three more runs. The first was from Olsen, who hit a solo home run in the second inning. In the third inning, Herrera and Clark both got RBI singles to bring the score to 5-2.

After back to back innings of not scoring, Nevada began to get more insurance runs in the sixth inning. Clark scored once again, scoring on a wild pitch from Guest. Then, after Painter and Gilliano got walked, Herrera got a two-RBI double to bring both of them in to push the score to 8-2.

Blake did allow one hit in the seventh inning, but struck out the other three batters to end the game in Nevada’s favor.

After the Thursday doubleheader, the Wolf Pack had one more game to play against the Lobos on March 29. This was the most lopsided matchup of the series, which put Guest against Tyra Clary, Nevada pitcher.

Rachael Hathoot, New Mexico shortstop, got a lead off single in the beginning of the first. However, that would be the only hit for the Lobos in the entire game, as Clary only allowed one other batter to get on base from a walk. 

While Clary and the rest of Nevada kept the Lobos on ice, the team continued their offensive prowess from the day before. Painter got things started with a solo home run in the first, which was followed up by a solo home run by Aaliyah Jenkins, Nevada designated hitter, and a two-run home run by Olsen in the second inning.

After the carnage of the first two innings, Clark sent a hit out to right field, which scored Aaliyah Jenkins in from third base in the third inning. Then, in the fourth inning, Taryn Jenkins, Nevada first/second baseman, got an RBI off of a fielder’s choice single, Aaliyah Jenkins hit an RBI sac-fly and Olsen hit a two-run home run that pushed Nevada’s lead to 10-0 after just four innings.

Clary came into the fifth inning and retired the side with three groundouts, capping off the Wolf Pack’s sweep with a 10-0 mercy rule win.

The Pack’s series sweep against the Lobos marks the second series sweep in a row for the program this season. This is the first time the team has completed back to back series sweeps since 2008.

Nevada’s performance also pushed the team further along in the record books. The team now sits at 53 total home runs on the season, which is two shy of the all-time team record for most home runs in a single season. In terms of individual records:

  • Senini tied LSU alumni See Douglas for the 24th most stolen bases in NCAA D1 history with 155
  • Aaliyah Jenkins took sixth place for most RBIs in Nevada history with 122
  • Taryn Jenkins tied Megan Sweet, Nevada alumni, for the seventh most RBIs in a single season with 48

Nevada’s capability to bring in runs, a quality the team has flexed over the course of the season so far, shined during the spring break series. However, the main cause of Nevada’s dominant performance was their pitching and defensive performances. The Pack, through Brown, Blake and Clary, only gave up six runs across the three game series, a season low against conference teams. 

With the series win, Nevada maintained control of first place in the Mountain West conference, sitting at 8-1 against conference opponents and 30-7 overall. The Pack’s next contest will be a double header against the Utah State Aggies (19-15 overall, 3-6 MWC) on April 3 starting at 12 p.m.

Derek Raridon can be reached via email or via Twitter @TheBigCountry14

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