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Day'Mian Johnson swings at a pitch during Wednesday night's rivalry matchup between the Lobos and the New Mexico State Aggies at Lobo Softball Field. Johnson, a freshman, recorded the first hit of her career. The Aggies won 12-7.

Day'Mian Johnson swings at a pitch during Wednesday night's rivalry matchup between the Lobos and the New Mexico State Aggies at Lobo Softball Field. Johnson, a freshman, recorded the first hit of her career. The Aggies won 12-7.

Softball: Lobos fall to New Mexico State

Wednesday night was an emotional one for new University of New Mexico softball coach Paula Congleton, as she participated in her first Rio Grande Rivalry matchup since her playing days at UNM ended in 1983.

The Lobos were unable to deliver a win in the matchup, as New Mexico State used a four-run fourth and a seven-run sixth to claim a 12-7 victory over the Lobos, but that didn’t detract from what the night meant to her or what her new job means to her.

“It’s emotional, because I left this program, and it was a great program, and I’m excited to be back,” Congleton said. “(I’m excited to be) bringing this program back to the tradition that it deserves. To be proud to wear ‘Lobos’ across the chest. I think it’s been lost a little bit, and I’m so excited to bring that back.”

Jensen Main (4-10) got the start in the circle for the Lobos and was tagged with 12 hits, four earned runs (eight total), one walk and three strikeouts in five official innings, but she faced six more batters in the sixth and failed to record an out before being relieved by Krissy Fortner.

The Lobos opened the scoring in the third inning on a Cameryn O’Grady single that scored freshman Day’Mian Johnson from third following a pair of hit batters.

New Mexico State countered with a four-run in the top of the fourth, Main was able to record the first two outs in the inning before a miscommunication on a pop up between Main and two infielders allowed the ball to drop and the first run for the Aggies to score, with three straight batters who followed scoring as well.

“It’s about communication — we’ve talked to our players about that. We’ve worked on those drills daily,” Congleton said. “Those are tough situations, and everyone gets uptight and a little flustered about that.”

In the bottom of the fourth, the Lobos were able to respond with a four-run inning of their own, as Andrea Howard and Kasey Halleen both produced two runs batted in, Howard on a two-run home run following leadoff hitter D’Andra DeFlora being hit by a pitch to open the inning. Halleen recorded her pair on a single which hit third base and took a friendly bounce into the air, allowing Salas and D. Johnson, who recorded her first collegiate hit in a double that advanced Salas to third, to score. After four, the Lobos led 5-4.

After both sides failed to score in the fifth, the Aggies were able to bust the game open with a seven-run sixth inning. The damage began with a two-run home run from Nikki Butler gave the Aggies the lead back for good. Albuquerque native Victoria Castro from third on a single up the middle, and the next three batters for the Aggies reached to load the bases. An error allowed another run for NMSU before it took an 11-5 lead after another double, effectively ending the game.

The Lobos added to more runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, as Chelsea Johnson made the Aggies pay for walking three straight batters with a single to left that scored Salas and Halleen to bring the score to 11-7.

In the top of the seventh, the Aggies added one more run to bring their total to 12 on the day, and quickly shutdown any thoughts of a comeback that UNM might have had, holding the Lobos scoreless in the bottom half of the inning to secure the victory.

The Lobos head back on the road to take on Nevada in a three-game series in Reno that will feature a double header on Friday, with the final game of the set taking place on Saturday due to weather concerns. The Pack are 12-14 on the season and are led offensively by right fielder Erika Hansen, who is hitting .375 with seven home runs and 27 RBI so far this season.

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The games will be available to stream through the MW Network.

Cameron Goeldner is a sports beat reporter and photographer for the Daily Lobo. He primarily covers men’s soccer and softball but also contributes content for baseball, basketball, football and track and field. He can contacted at or on Twitter 

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