The University of New Mexico softball program has added a local player to the roster as Rio Rancho native and Cleveland High School graduate Aalijah “Chiple” Alarcon returns home to play for the Lobos.

“It’s time to come home and represent my hometown,” Alarcon said.

“She’s going to add experience to our pitching staff,” said UNM head coach Nicole Dickson. “She brings 200-plus innings over the last two seasons and has a competitive demeanor and growth mindset. I’m excited to add her to our pitching staff.”

A right-handed pitcher, Alarcon appeared in 60 games with 40 s­tarts and 16 complete games in two seasons at UTEP, throwing a total of 220 innings. She was the winningest pitcher this season, with a 5-11 record for the Miners (11-34) this season.

As a freshman, she made 32 appearances with 24 starts and 12 complete games. Alarcon struck out 72 batters in 132.0 innings in the circle and recorded five or more strikeouts in four games with a season-high eight in an 8.0 inning outing. Among her season highlights was a one-hit shutout, striking out three and allowing one walk. She finished the season with 10 wins, three saves and a shutout and carried a 4.67 ERA, leading the pitching staff in appearances, starts, complete games, innings pitched, ERA and strikeouts.

In her latest season with the Miners, Alarcon threw 88 innings while appearing in 28 games with 16 starts and four complete games. She added 29 strikeouts to her career total following at least one strikeout in 16 games, with a season-high seven strikeouts in an eight-inning complete-game win against Western Kentucky.

Coincidentally, a doubleheader between the Lobos and Miners, to be played in El Paso in February, was cancelled.

A 2021 graduate of Cleveland High School, the new Lobo went 21-2 with a 1.14 ERA and 152 strikeouts in 123 innings her senior year, capped by winning the 5A state championship. She was named the 2021 Defensive Player of the Year and a 2021 All-State pitcher as well, and was named all-district first teamer three times.

Alarcon intends to major in organizational and corporate communications at UNM.