Playing its first games inside Hixson Park this season, the Nevada softball team split its doubleheader contest with the New Mexico Lobos on Saturday. After winning the first game of the day by a score of 16-8, the Wolf Pack (13-15, 2-3 MW) fell to the Lobos (8-23, 2-3 MW) 6-7. The 16 runs Nevada scored the first game tied a season high for most runs scored in a game.

Senior Erika Hansen but together one of her best days of the season on Saturday, going 5-for-7 with two home runs and five RBIs to go along with her four runs scored. She was one of three players on Nevada’s roster who hit a home run on the as senior Aaliyah Gibson and redshirt junior Jennifer Purcell both connected on long balls. Saturday’s contests also marked the first time Purcell played at Hixson Park since 2016, after suffering a season-ending injury in 2017.

Sophomore Sadaria McAlister collected a pair of hits in both games, scoring a total of four runs in the process. McAlister and Hansen were the only players who recorded multiple hits in both games for the Pack. In the first game, Nevada’s top of the order accounted for much of the offense, as its one through five hitters batted 13-for-20 (.650) with three home runs, 13 RBIs and 11 runs scored.

The day began with the Pack’s offense quickly getting itself going as Nevada plated three runs in the bottom of the first, courtesy of one swing of the bat from Purcell who launched her first home run of the season with two runners on, giving the Pack an early 3-0 lead. After the Lobos responded with five unanswered runs to claim a two-run advantage, Nevada came back with a pair of runs in the bottom of the third to knot the score at five.

Nevada then reclaimed the lead with another multiple-run inning in the fourth, after three runs crossed the plate. Following a single from sophomore Kenzi Goins that plated a run, Hansen then stepped up to the plate and hit a scorching fly ball off the wall that scored two more runs, giving the Pack an 8-5 advantage.

New Mexico showed its fight throughout the game as the Lobos wasted no time coming right back in the top of the fifth with a trio of runs to tie the score again. After a scoreless frame from Nevada in the bottom of the fifth, the Pack’s bats exploded in the sixth, scoring eight runs of seven hits.

The inning saw the Pack’s first five batters reach base that included two doubles and a pair of singles as all came around to score. With four runs already cashed in, McAlister singled home sophomore Sierra Mello from third to push Nevada’s lead to five with just one out in the inning.

After Goins brought McAlister around to score, Hansen then launched a two-run home run to the opposite field, which capped off an eight-run, seven-hit sixth inning for Nevada, sealing the 16-8 win in the process. The victory also marked the second time in three years that Nevada has won its home opener.

In the second game of the doubleheader, New Mexico jumped out early in the top of first, scoring a run to claim a quick 1-0 lead over Nevada. The Lobos took advantage of the Pack putting up scoreless frames through the first three innings, as New Mexico held a 7-0 lead heading into the bottom of the fourth.

Nevada slowly chipped away though, scoring a run in the bottom of inning to trim the Lobo lead to six runs. After New Mexico responded with a run of its own in the fifth, Hansen led things off in the bottom of the inning with a solo shot to dead centerfield to keep the Pack within striking distance.

With Nevada plating a run in the sixth to trim New Mexico’s advantage to four runs, the Pack entered the bottom of the seventh determined to not go down without a fight. Nevada’s comeback efforts began with freshman Lauren Gutierrez tripling home sophomores Haley Burda and Kwynn Warner to bring the Pack within a pair.

McAlister then singled home Gutierrez to trim the Lobo lead to just a run, but back-to-back outs from Nevada ended the Pack’s comeback bid as New Mexico took the second game by a score of 7-6. The rubber match of the three-game series between the two teams is slated for Sunday at noon.

Nevada Press Release