The New Mexico State softball team is geared up and ready to kick off its 2022 season.
The Aggies are coming off a relatively good 2021 season. The team finished with an overall record of 31-21 (14-4) and clinched the Western Athletic Conference regular-season title. In the WAC tournament, the team made it all the way to the championship game, but fell to Seattle University, where the Aggies brought the score within two runs after trailing by six.
Head coach Kathy Rodolph says the team is prepared and eager to start playing games. “We have been through five weeks of tremendous preparation for the season to start,” Rodolph said. “Now we need to put someone in the other dugout and see whether we’re ready and what things are going towards our strengths and what we are going to have to work on.”
With WAC player of the year Nikki Butler graduating and Matalasi Faapito transferring to Mississippi State University after her sophomore year, coach Rodolph says she has many talented kids to fill their roles. Rodolph says she sees Felicia De La Torre coming out strong in the circle along with Laurali Patane.
Offensively, Rudolph is excited to have Hailey Tanori back, who hit lead-off for the Aggies last year. She will be accompanied by Maya Martinez and Ramsey Lopez, who also received some laudation from their head coach after all three hit above .270 last season.
NMSU will host nine straight home games to start off their season. Rodolph says the team is exuberant to see themselves back in Las Cruces. “A lot of people like to come to Las Cruces in February,” Rodolph said.
Rodolph is excited to have a harder non-conference schedule for their upcoming season. “We hope every single year to be in the postseason,” Rodolph said. “Those are the teams you would normally play against. I like to see what we have, what they have and what we need to improve on before postseason,” Rodolph said.
Coach Rodolph does not see any challenge with this upcoming season. “Right now, it’s 2022. We haven’t won and we haven’t lost,” Rudolph said. “We’re gonna start from a blank slate.”
With the Aggies playing in Florida last year for half the season, coach Rudolph stated that the team is eager to be playing in front of the Aggie faithful. “[The team] is getting excited that we get to play in front of our home fans.”
NMSU will host a three-game slate, starting off against Texas State on Feb. 11 and Feb. 12. The team will welcome Oregon State into town on Feb. 13.