Saturday , April 29 2017
Home | Tag Archives: utep softball

Tag Archives: utep softball

HP Sports In-Depth: UTEP to Play at UAB Following Bye Week

The UTEP softball team will continue its 2017 campaign with a trip to Conference USA West Division foe UAB April 29-30. The Miners (11-31, 5-13 C-USA) are coming off their bye week, while the Blazers (16-29, 7-9 C-USA) are coming off a loss at Middle Tennessee on April 22.

The Miners and Blazers will play a doubleheader starting at 1 p.m. CT/Noon MT on Saturday, while the series finale will be played on Sunday (1 p.m. CT) at Mary Bowers Field.

The weekend series in Birmingham will be the first of six final regular season games leading up to the C-USA Tournament May 10-13 in Hattiesburg, Miss. UTEP will close out the regular season against the defending C-USA Champions Florida Atlantic May 6-7.

MINERS FOLLOWING A BYE WEEK

UTEP is 4-2 the last two seasons following a bye week. In the 2015, following three losses at no. 25 UABMarch 14-15, the Miners responded by winning two of three against Southern Miss in El Paso (March 28-29). Last season, UTEP won two of three at Middle Tennessee (April 16-17). UTEP did not have a bye week in 2014 as it was scheduled to play at Colorado State in a three-game set April 5-6.

POSTSEASON PICTURE

UTEP is currently on the outside looking in the postseason outlook. Marshall (15-3 C-USA East) and LA Tech (13-5 West) have clinched spots while there are six spots remaining for the C-USA Tournament. The top three programs in each division will clinch a spot and the next two schools with the best record will seal the final two spots.

FIU (11-6 East), Florida Atlantic (10-8 East), North Texas (11-10 West) and UAB (7-9 West) are the next best four teams regarding league record, while WKU (10-10) and UTSA (9-12 West) would clinch spots if regular season ended today. Charlotte (7-10 East), Southern Miss (7-13 West), Middle Tennessee (5-11 East) and UTEP round out the list.

LAST SERIES

UTEP lost three contests at LA Tech April 14-15. The Miners fell in a pair of close contests on Friday, 4-2 and 4-0. The Lady Techsters took game three 8-0 in five. Taylor Sargent kept a hot bat as she hit .375 (3-8) with a double and a two-run triple. Kaitlin Ryder hit .333 with a run scored, while Lindsey Sokoloski also hit .333 and did not strikeout during the weekend.

ALL-TIME SERIES VS. UAB

The Blazers are 21-9 all-time against the Miners since May 6, 2006. UTEP has lost its last nine contests against UAB (April 20, 2013-April 24, 2016). UTEP last defeated UAB on April 22, 2012 in El Paso by the score of 7-0. The Miners were swept last season by the Blazers in El Paso. Cortney Smith went 4-for-10 with a pair of home runs and four RBI, while Courtney Clayton hit .545 (6-11) with a long ball and a pair of RBI.

UAB pulled away late in game one with the score knotted at 1-1 through four innings. The Blazers scored five in the fifth, three in the sixth and another run in the seventh to claim victory.

The Miners and Blazers slugged one out in game two as both squads each recorded 12 hits. The Miners took an early 3-0 lead after a Danielle Pearson RBI double and a Smith two-run single in the first frame. After UAB took a 4-3 lead, the Miners would tie the score in the second on a Kaitlin Ryder solo home run. After the Blazers took a 7-5 lead after three frames, Kiki Pepi scored on an error in the fourth that brought the Miners within a run.

But the Blazers used two runs in the seventh to put the game away. The Miners would go on to lose a heartbreaker in the series finale as UAB scored three runs in the seventh to claim a 4-2 victory. Following a run by the Blazers for a 1-0 edge in the fourth, the Miners would score runs in the fifth (Smith solo home run) and the sixth (Hope Moreno RBI single) for a 2-1 advantage.

UTEP is also 2-13 all-time in Birmingham, as the Miners took two of three from the Blazers during the 2009 season.

SCOUTING UAB

The Blazers are coming off a pair of losses, the first to no. 9/10 Washington, 6-0, on April 20 and another to at Middle Tennessee, 3-1, on April 22. UAB and Middle Tennessee were rained out on April 23 and rescheduled the two-game set for May 3 in Murfreesboro.

UAB is 16-29 overall and 7-9 in Conference USA. The Blazers are 8-9 on their home field and 3-2 in their last five home games – won two of three against North Texas (April 14-15), defeated Samford 4-3 [8] (April 18) and fell to Washington.

UAB ranks last in the conference with its .219 batting average, while its 132 runs are the least. UAB ranks eighth in the ERA (3.55) and walked a league-high 188 batters but have struck out 223 (ranked fourth in C-USA). UAB also ranks last in slugging (.314), on-base percentage (.298), hits (258) and RBI (114). The Blazers rank last in fielding percentage (.949) while their errors (73) are the most in the league. UAB has turned 22 plays, the third most in C-USA. Analyse Petree leads the team with a .278 batting average, while Madison Millsaps leads the squad in RBI (17).

Joanna Fallen and Millsaps each lead the team with five home runs apiece; Petree leads in doubles (seven) and Destini England leads the squad in runs (20) and hits (38). Claire Blount (7-10) leads the staff in wins, ERA (2.84), walks (88), innings (138.0) and Ks (114). Blount’s 114 strikeouts rank tied fourth in C-USA. Cara Goodwin (4-11) has a 3.85 ERA in 91.0 frames of work with 37 BBs and 70 Ks.

#TURNUP

UTEP turned three more double plays at LA Tech during Easter Weekend. The Miners lead Conference USA with 27 double plays turned, while they rank second nationally in double plays per game (.64) behind Auburn (.77). Auburn as turned a national-best 36 double plays, while Campbell has turned 29. UT Arlington has been part of 28 double plays, and UTEP and UC Riverside have turned 27 each.

Taylor Sargent andCourtney Clayton have each been part of 12 DPs to rank tied fourth with Florida Atlantic’s Lauren Whitt.Cortney Smith (11) ranks tied seventh with LA Tech’s Katie Smith and Kiki Pepi (10) is tied ninth with three other players.

SECOND MOST DOULBE PLAYS

UTEP’s 27 double plays turned in 2017 is already the second most turned in program history. Last season’s squad turned a program-best 30 double plays. In fact, since Tobin Echo-Hawk arrived to UTEP, the Miners have turned 96 doubles plays in 201 games (.48 per game).

The 2007 squad turned 21, while 19 double plays were turned during the 2005 season. The previous four seasons (2010-13), 46 double plays were turned.

BAT GIRLS

UTEP is hitting .299 to rank fourth in Conference USA and no. 58 nationally, while it would rank the third best average in program history if the season ended today. UTEP hit .307 in 2016 and .303 in 2007. UTEP’s slugging (.415) ranks fifth, while its hits (342) rank sixth. Marshall leads C-USA in batting (.321), while UTSA leads with 396 hits.

UTEP RANKINGS IN C-USA ONLY GAMES

The Miners rank second in batting average (.308) and hits (152) in Conference USA games only behind UTSA (.310 average & 181 hits). UTEP ranks fifth in runs scored (76), on-base percentage (.363), RBI (73) and fourth in total bases (200). UTEP ranks third in slugging (.405). LA Tech leads the way in runs scored (96) and RBI (89).

EXTRA BASE HITS

UTEP tallied a triple and double at LA Tech. The Miners rank fourth in Conference USA with 10 triples and seventh with 49 doubles. The Miners rank third in C-USA and no. 49 nationally with .24 triples per game.

Binghamton leads the nation with .49 triples per game and Florida State leads the nation with 20 triples (.42 per game). Marshall and LA Tech are tied for the lead league with 12 triples and Southern Miss (11) ranks third.

5 IN THE TOP 25

UTEP has five players ranked in the top 25 in Conference USA in batting. Taylor Sargent (.351) ranks 13th,Kaitlin Ryder (.350) ranks 14th, Kiki Pepi (.339) ranks 15th, Cortney Smith (.336) ranks 16th, andCourtney Clayton (.315) ranks no. 25.

UTEP has the most players in the top 25, while Marshall, Charlotte, North Texas and FIU each have three. Middle Tennessee and UTSA each have two. Florida Atlantic, WKU, LA Tech and Southern Miss each have one.

RACKING UP HITS

The Miners have connected on 342 hits, ranking sixth in Conference USA. UTEP’s 17 hits at UTSA (April 1) are tied for the most during the Tobin Echo-Hawk era, as 17 hits were recorded against Incarnate Word on Feb. 11, 2016. The 17 knocks are tied for eighth on the all-time list. Last season, the Miners set a single-season record with 451 knocks.

MORE ON THE HIT PARADE

UTEP has recorded 10-plus hit games 79 times during the Tobin Echo-Hawk era. The previous four seasons, the Miners tallied 10-plus hits in 50 contests. Since Echo-Hawk took the helm at UTEP, the Miners are hitting .298 (1,611-5,415), while the previous four years saw a .268 average (1,462-5,462). The Miners have connected on 15-plus hits in 14 different contests from 2014-17 and eight different times from 2010-13. The most hits recorded the last eight seasons were 24 at Brown on March 3, 2012 – tied most in program history.

UTEP Softball Announces the Addition of Pitcher Julia Wright

UTEP softball head coach Tobin Echo-Hawk announced on Wednesday that pitcher Julia Wright will join the program prior to the 2017 fall season. Wright has played the last two seasons at Ranger College.

“We’re super excited to bring Julia onto the pitching staff for next season,” Echo-Hawk said. “Since we’ll be three pitchers short heading into next season, she’ll definitely add depth to the roster. Julia throws hard and places the ball well. We know Julia is excited to play at the Division I level and it’s great to add someone with collegiate experience in the circle.”

Wright, a native of Langley, British Columbia, will have two years of eligibility with the Orange and Blue and will add to a pitching staff that will lose three senior pitchers (Kaitlin Fifield, Taylor Grohmann & Erika Harrawood) following the 2017 campaign. Wright will join current freshmen hurlers Devyn Cretz and Allie Johnson.

Wright (17-11) ranks tied no. 36 nationally among NJCAA Division I pitchers in wins and has fashioned an ERA of 3.52 in 151.1 innings of work with 89 Ks. Wright has started 28 games with 32 appearances and registered 16 complete games. She has also tallied a save and 60 walks. Wright has four at bats with an RBI single.

One of Wright’s highlights in 2017 was tossing a no-hitter during a victory against Western Oklahoma State College on Feb. 25. She threw 5.0 frames, stuck out five and walked one during the 15-0 triumph. Wight hurled a season-high seven strikeouts in only 3.0 frames of work in a win against Mountain View College (April 19).

She tallied six Ks in 5.0 innings against Northern Oklahoma College-Enid (Feb. 18). Wright registered five strikeouts and allowed only one hit in 5.0 frames during a victory versus Cloud County Community College (Feb. 17). Wright went 1-for-3 with a RBI during an 8-0 win at Rose State College (March 18), while recently tossing a one-hit win in 5.0 innings against Vernon College (April 22).

She earned her lone save on March 1 at North Central Texas College, throwing an inning with a strikeout during Ranger College’s 7-5 win.

In 2016, Wright threw 213.0 innings and recorded 134 Ks. She finished 17-18 in 35 starts (41 appearances) and saved a pair of games. Wright recorded a career-high nine Ks in 6.0 innings, while allowing only three hits at Western Texas College on Feb. 29. She tallied seven strikeouts in three different contests, while registering six Ks in four different games her freshman season.

UTEP Softball Falls at LA Tech 8-0

Taylor Sargent’s bat has stayed hot but UTEP (11-31, 5-13 Conference USA) fell at LA Tech (29-16, 12-3 C-USA) on Saturday at Lady Techster Softball Complex.

The Lady Techsters jumped on the Miners in the first two frames, scoring a pair of runs in the first frame after Pauline Tufi connected on a two-run single up the middle. In the second, LA Tech took a 6-0 on a back-to-back two-run knocks by Jazlyn Crowder (ground rule double to left center) and Morgan Turkoly (single to left).

With the score 7-0, LA Tech would cross the dish in the fourth on a bases loaded walk.

The Miners registered six hits led by Taylor Sargent’s 2-for-2 outing. Sargent is hitting .553 with seven doubles (10 extra base hits, including three triples) the last 11 games.  The junior singled in the second and doubled in the fourth. Kaitlin Ryder went 2-for-3, while Lindsey Sokoloski and Cortney Smith each recorded knocks.

UTEP will have its bye week and will continue action at UAB April 29-30.

LA Tech Edges UTEP in Softball Doubleheader

RUSTON, La. – Taylor Sargent connected on a two-run triple in game one that gave UTEP an early 2-0 lead, but LA Tech rallied to win 4-2.

The Lady Techsters (28-15, 11-3 Conference USA) then came out on top 4-0 against the Miners (11-30, 5-12 C-USA) in the second game of the Friday doubleheader at Lady Techster Softball Complex.

The series finale will be played Saturday at noon CT/11 a.m. MT. UTEP will have its bye week following the contest.

UTEP 2, LA Tech 4
Sargent, who is hitting .528 the last 10 games (including Friday’s contests), came up with a two-out triple on a 2-2 pitch during the first frame. The junior sent the ball over right and off the wall as Kaitlin Ryder and Cortney Smith each crossed the dish to give UTEP a 2-0 advantage. Ryder drew a walk to reach, while Smith was hit by a pitch.

LA Tech scored a run in the bottom first off a Marilyn Rizzato RBI single, while the Lady Techsters took a 3-2 lead in the fourth after a Karlee Jensen RBI double.

The Miners would get base runners in innings five, six and seven, but couldn’t convert them into runs. Pauline Tufi recorded an RBI single in the fifth that gave her squad a 4-2 lead.

Prior to Tufi’s knock in the fifth, Kiki Pepi made a spectacular diving out on an attempted bunt by Rizzato. Pepi dashed from third base to dive for the bunted ball in front of the batter’s box and made the stretching tag in rhythm.

The Miners recorded five hits as Ryder, Smith, Sargent, Lindsey Sokoloski and Mallorie Cross each recorded knocks.

Sargent has registered nine extra base hits during the last 10 contests, which includes her team-leading three triples. Sargent has scored seven runs and tallied 12 RBI during the stretch (April 1-14).

UTEP 0, LA Tech 4
Kaitlin Fifield threw a solid outing, but LA Tech came up with a three-run second inning. Ali Galaz recorded a pair of RBI and Morgan Turkoly registered an RBI in the second.

The Miners tallied a pair of hits – a Pepi single in the second and a Sokoloski single in the sixth.

Sokoloski’s was big as she reached third on an error, but the Miners struggled to get runners across the dish. Tori Charters tacked on another run on an RBI single in the sixth to solidify the win.

Fifield recorded four assists in 6.0 innings of work, while tallying a strikeout looking.

UTEP Softball to Play at LA Tech Easter Weekend

The UTEP softball team will travel to Ruston to take on Conference USA West Division foe LA Tech April 14-15. Friday’s doubleheader will start at 2 p.m. CT/ 1 MT, while Saturday’s series finale will start at noon CT/ 11 a.m. MT.

The Miners (11-28, 5-10 C-USA) are currently tied with Southern Miss (5-10), while standing one game behind UTSA (6-9) in the West Division. The Lady Techsters (26-14, 9-3 C-USA West) are in first place and currently the no. 2 seed behind Marshall (14-1 East). FIU (8-4 East), Florida Atlantic (7-5 East), North Texas (8-7 West), Charlotte (5-7 East), WKU (6-9 East) and UTSA round out the standings. Middle Tennessee sits in last place (3-9 East).

The top eight schools, out of 12, will advance to the C-USA Tournament in Hattiesburg, Miss, May 10-13. The top three teams from each division, while the next two schools with the best records will advance to the four-day championship. Seeds three and four will receive a bye, while the top two seeds earn a double-bye to advance to the second day.

UTEP won game one against WKU, 10-2 (6), while recording 30 hits during the weekend series. The Miners and Hilltoppers game two scoring fest ranks most runs (26) between both teams in C-USA. The Miners are ranked second in C-USA in team batting average (.307), while their 329 hits rank second. Lindsey Sokoloski is ranked no. 1 in the nation in toughest to strikeout after a K-less weekend and Taylor Sargent is ranked 17th in the C-USA with a .349 batting average. Sargent was hitting .250 after March 26.

In the 2015, LA Tech took care of UTEP in three games, while the Miners returned the favor by sweeping the Lady Techsters in El Paso last season. In 2014, during Tobin Echo-Hawk’s first season, her squad swept LA Tech in Ruston as it was the first ever sweep of a conference opponent in program history.

The Miners will have their bye week following the LA Tech series and will continue play at UAB April 29-30, while the regular season will conclude in El Paso against Florida Atlantic May 6-7 (Senior Weekend).

WKU Uses Eighth Inning to Top UTEP, 7-2

After a total of 38 runs during Saturday’s doubleheader, UTEP and WKU played seven scoreless frames before the top of the eighth. The Hilltoppers (22-21, 6-9 Conference USA) put up seven runs on seven hits to pull away from the Miners (11-28, 5-10 C-USA), 7-2, in the rubber match on Sunday afternoon at the Helen of Troy Softball Complex.

UTEP set itself up for a possible walk-off win in the bottom seventh when two runners were on second and third with one out.

Lindsey Sokoloski reached first on an error to lead off the seventh and Mallorie Cross used a sacrifice bunt to advance to Sokoloski to second base. Pinch hitter Mariah Ellis connected a single hit to left, while advancing to second on the throw. The top of the order came around with Kaitlin Ryder at bat with two runners on and one out. Ryder reached on a fielder’s choice as Sokoloski was thrown out, but Ellis advanced to third. Courtney Clayton then grounded out on a 1-1 pitch to end the frame.

In the eighth inning, WKU’s Brittany Vaughn and Kelsey McGuffin each tallied a pair of RBI.

The Miners tacked on two runs in the bottom half.

Kiki Pepi connected on her second hit in an eighth, a one-out single to left and advanced to third on an error by the fielder. Taylor Sargent then drove Pepi home on a ball crushed to deep right center for her second triple in as many days. Pamala Baber followed with a sacrifice fly to center that plated Sargent to make the score 7-2. But after back-to-back singles by Sokoloski and Cross, Ariel Blair grounded out to short to end the contest.

Kaitlin Fifield (2-6) made her second start of the weekend, holding WKU’s bats in the check for the first seven frames. Fifield got out of jams throughout the contest, hurling 7.2 innings and striking out a trio of Hilltoppers – all looking. Fifield worked her way out of bases loaded situation in the third, while finding herself with a pair of runners on second and third in the sixth, but forced back-to-back groundouts to the pitcher’s circle.

Kathryn Downing (12-8), a day after losing game one, threw a complete game victory on Sunday, tallying four Ks and allowing nine hits.

Pepi and Sargent each finished 2-for-4, while Cross produced a 2-for-3 outing. Sargent added her 17th RBI of the season and raised her average to .349 to rank third on the squad. Sargent was hitting .250 after the March 26 contest versus Southern Miss. The junior is hitting a team-best .600 (18-30) the last eight games with 10 RBI and six doubles – both team highs during the stretch.

UTEP is hitting .307 as a team after producing nine hits on Sunday and a total of 30 knocks during the weekend.

UTEP will travel to Ruston to take on LA Tech during Easter Weekend (April 14-15). The Lady Techsters (9-3) stand in first place in the West Division after sweeping UAB this past weekend.

Friday’s doubleheader is set for a 1 p.m. MT/2 CT, while Saturday is set for an 11 a.m. MT/noon CT start.

UTEP Tops WKU 10-2 in Game 1 During Saturday Doubleheader

Senior Kaitlin Fifield pitched a complete-game victory and freshman Mallorie Cross registered a career-high three RBI as UTEP took care of WKU in six innings, 10-2, in the first game of aSaturday doubleheader at the Helen of Troy Softball Complex.

The Hilltoppers (21-21, 5-9 Conference USA) responded with an 18-8 (5) victory over the Miners (11-27, 5-9 C-USA) in game two.

The series finale will be played Sunday with the first pitch slated for a noon start.

UTEP 10, WKU 2 [6]

The Miners came out firing in the first inning as Kaitlin Ryder led the game off with a single to left on a 0-2 pitch. Courtney Clayton drew a walk to set up a Taylor Sargent two-out, two-run single hit to left on a full-count pitch to give UTEP a 2-0 advantage.

Sargent had also advanced to second on the throw and after taking third base on a passed ball, Cross recorded the first of her three RBI on a double smacked to right center for a 3-0 lead.

UTEP took a 4-0 lead when Pamala Baber drew a lead-off hit by pitch that set up a Clayton sacrifice hit to left.

The Hilltoppers cut the lead to 4-2 as Jordan Mauch and Adarian Gray tallied back-to-back RBI doubles in the third. But the Orange and Blue got the pair of runs back in the home half as Pepi and Sargent crossed the dish on a throwing error to home with bases loaded (6-2).

The Miners would tack on another run in the fourth when Cross singled in Kiki Pepi on an infield single on a 2-2 pitch to put the Miners ahead, 7-2. Pepi had reached on a fielder’s choice earlier in the frame.

After a scoreless fifth, the Miners put the game away in the sixth.

Cortney Smith reached second base on an error with one out, while Pepi singled in Smith on a hit to shallow left for an 8-2 advantage. Sargent would reach on a fielder’s choice as out no. 2 was recorded, but Cross connected on her third hit of the afternoon on a single to center that plated Sargent (9-2).

Cross, who had reached second on the throw, was replaced by pinch runner senior Miranda Gutierrez. Lindsey Sokoloski, who rates no. 1 in the nation in toughest to strikeout, drew a walk on a 3-1 toss that set up Baber. After a wild pitch advanced Gutierrez to third, the freshman drove a ball through the left side that plated her teammate for the game-winning run.

UTEP produced another double-digit hit (12) performance led by Cross’s 3-for-4 effort (tied career high). Sargent’s bat stayed lit as she produced a 3-for-4 outing with a pair of RBI and a career-high three runs scored.

Sargent is hitting .615 (16-26) with nine RBI, five doubles, six runs and two stolen bases the last seven games (including game two). Clayton (including game two) has reached base in nine consecutive games after she drew a walk during game one.

“[Taylor Sargent] is doing a great job and she’s starting to stay within herself and not try too hard,” fourth-year head coach Tobin Echo-Hawk said. “At the beginning of the year she was struggling a bit and it’s always a mental challenge. If they just keep working like we tell them, sooner or later things are going to fall into place. Your swing is going to make sense and you’ll start to feel comfortable. She’s done a great job with that.”

Fifield (2-5) won her second game of the season after hurling her team-leading third complete game. Fifield kept WKU’s big bats in check (leads C-USA in home runs), only allowing five hits and striking out a trio of Hilltoppers.

“[Kaitlin Fifield] did a great job and she kept [WKU] off the bases,” Echo-Hawk said. “Even when she got herself into a couple of jams, she did a nice job working out of it. She’s hitting her strides and we’re hoping she can keep consistent.”

One of those jams happened in the third after the back-to-back doubles. Fifield forced a ground out and struck out Rebekah Engelhardt to end the inning that left two runners on base.

Fifield now has 24 wins in the career, ranking tied third with Kelly Curran on the program’s all-time list. Danielle Pearson recorded 25 wins to rank no. 2. Stacie Townsend won 64 contests during her illustrious career.

The Miners also turned their 23rd double play of the season in the sixth (L54 DP), while it was the seventh double play turned the last six games.

UTEP 8, WKU 18 [5]

The Hilltoppers poured on the runs in the first inning as they took an 8-0 lead on five knocks.

The Miners never recovered but did score some runs to make the game interesting the first few frames.

After Clayton singled to left to reach base for the ninth consecutive game and Pepi drew a two-out walk, Sargent’s lumber did more work as she plated her teammates with her second career triple hit to right field off the fence to make the score 8-2. It was Sargent’s first triple since her freshman season.

After WKU scored a trio of runs in the second (11-2), the Miners responded with two more runs after Baber whaled on a 1-1 pitch and drove a liner down the leftfield line for her third home run of the season, getting the Miners within seven runs. The dinger was Baber’s first since March 8 at New Mexico.

With the score 12-4, Ryder drove in Sokoloski on a single slammed to right center. Sokoloski had reached base with her speed on a single hit to the short stop.

After WKU scored another six runs in the fifth, the Miners came up with three more runs in the bottom half. With bases loaded with one out, Sokoloski grounded out, but paved the way for Smith to cross the dish. A wild pitch then plated Pepi and Baber came up with her career-high third RBI on a hit to center field that scored Sargent.

UTEP registered nine knocks led by Baber’s 2-for-3 performance (tied career high). Prior to game one, Baber was hitless the previous eight games. Sargent tallied two more hits and Ariel Blair went 2-for-2.

“[Pamala Baber] and I worked pretty hard on timing this week,” Echo-Hawk said. “And she did a good job of paying attention to it and trying to do different things. She’s buying into what we are trying to tell her. It helps that she’s super coachable which helps us a lot.”

Blair made a spectacular catch to steal a Engelhardt home run the third inning with two outs. Engelhardt connected on a towering ball that just kept going. However, Blair made a nice read on it and made a leaping attempt to steal it over the fence. The ball hit her glove to ricochet back into the field of play and Blair snagged it while falling to the ground.

UTEP Softball to Host WKU as Two Programs Will Meet for First Time Ever

The UTEP softball team will continue Conference USA action as it hosts WKU April 8-9 at the Helen of Troy Softball Complex.

The Miners and Hilltoppers will compete for the first time ever in a doubleheader starting at 3 p.m. on Saturday. Sunday’s contest has been changed to a noon start.

Tickets are $3 for kids and $5 for adults, while ‘Bark in the Park’ is the weekend theme.

The Miners (10-26, 4-8 C-USA) are tied with Southern Miss (4-8) and UTSA (4-8) in the West Division, while the Hilltoppers (20-20, 4-8) stands in fifth place in the East Division. WKU is one game up on Middle Tennessee (3-9) and a game behind Charlotte (5-7).

UTEP will play all league games from here on out, which includes trips to LA Tech (April 14-15) and UAB (April 29-30). The Miners will end the regular season hosting Florida Atlantic (May 6-7).

The C-USA Tournament will be held in Hattiesburg (Southern Miss) May 10-13 as the top eight programs will advance to the postseason to play for an automatic bid to the 2017 NCAA Tournament.

LAST WEEK

UTEP took a three-day road to San Antonio April 1-3 to play at league foe UTSA, while playing its final nonconference contests at Incarnate Word. The Miners forged a 2-3 record during the weekend in East Texas, which included an epic game two, 7-6, victory in 10 innings at UTSA and a run-rule, 11-3 (5), win in game two against UIW.

Against the Roadrunners in game two, the Miners were down 3-0 after four innings before Cortney Smith connected on her seventh home run in the fifth frame – a solo shot over right center. UTEP took a 4-3 lead it the sixth as Smith tallied her second RBI of the contest on a single to left and Kiki Pepi connected on a two-run single to right.

The Roadrunners tied the score in the bottom half and the two teams traded runs in the innings eight and nine before Pepi came up with a solo blast down the left line for the go-ahead lead in the 10th. Sargent gave the Miners a 5-4 lead in the eighth, while Clayton homered in the ninth for a 6-5 advantage. Kaitlin Fifield threw all 10.0 frames (career high) to earn her first win of the season. UTEP fell in game one, 8-1, while UTSA rallied from 5-3 down to win 8-5 during Sunday’s series finale.

At Incarnate Word, UTEP rebounded from a 5-2 loss in game one to storm back with a 11-3 victory in 5.0 innings. Kaitlin Ryder blasted a career-high two dingers on a 3-for-4 performance with four RBI. Taylor Grohmann won her first game of 2017, throwing a complete game with no earned runs.

ALL-TIME SERIES VS. WKU

The two programs will meet for the first time ever on Saturday.

SCOUTING WKU

The Hilltoppers are currently at an even 20-20 record, while tallying a 4-8 conference record. WKU started off its conference run with sweeping Middle Tennessee but falling short to FAU, Marshall and UAB. WKU leads Conference USA with 32 home runs, but is hitting a .203 as a team to rank last in C-USA.

The Hilltoppers lead the conference in hit by pitch (60) and leads the way by striking out 237 times to leads the league. WKU has scored 144 runs, ranking tied ninth in C-USA. Jordan Mauch is shining through in the lineup with a .289 average, 18 RBI and a team-best 10 home runs.

Brittany Vaughn (.271) leads the team with 24 RBI, while ranking second with six dingers. Kara Brewer (.226) leads the team with nine stolen bases. Adriana Gray (.176) has hit five home runs with 18 RBI. On the defensive side of the game, the Hilltopper pitchers are recording a 3.15 ERA as a staff, ranking in the middle of the pack in conference. Kathryn Downing (11-7) has won the most games and has kept her ERA down to a staff-leading 2.09 and striking out 75 batters.

EXTRA INNING AFFAIRS

UTEP played in an epic 10-inning contest in game two at UTSA – in which the Miners won 7-6 over the Roadrunners. It was the longest game since playing 11 frames at Florida Atlantic on April 19, 2014. The April 1 contest at UTSA is tied for fourth longest in UTEP history. The most innings played was a 13-inning battle on May 7, 2009 against East Carolina at the Conference USA Tournament in El Paso with UTEP coming out on top 4-3.

The Miners have played 11 innings twice in program history, as the second was on April 7, 2013 at UCF. UTEP and Southern Miss went 10 frames on April 16, 2011, while another 10-inning contest was played on March 20, 2007 against no. 5 Arizona State – an 8-7 Miners’ victory. UTEP is 3-3 all-time in games that go 10-plus innings.

#TURNUP

UTEP turned six more double plays in San Antonio this past weekend – five at UTSA and another at Incarnate Word. The Miners have turned 22 double plays to lead Conference USA and rank tied no. 4 nationally. UTEP also ranks no. 9 nationally in double plays turned per game (.61). Auburn leads the nation with 28 double plays turned and turned per game (.78).

Courtney Clayton ranks third in C-USA in fielding double plays with 11, while Cortney Smith (nine) and Taylor Sargent (nine) rank tied sixth.

BAT WOMEN

UTEP ranks third in Conference USA with its .301 batting average is one of four league programs hitting .300 or better. Marshall (.322), UTSA (.312) and Charlotte (.300) are the other three teams. Nationally, UTEP ranks no. 55 as no. 1 Florida State leads the nation in hitting (.367).

UTEP RANKINGS IN C-USA ONLY GAMES

The Miners rank second in batting average (.316) and hits (109) in Conference USA games only, behind UTSA (.329 & 114 hits). UTEP ranks second in slugging (.447) and RBI (54), tied second in runs scored (54), third in doubles (14) and total bases (143), and fourth in on-base percentage (.369).

5 IN THE TOP 25

UTEP has five players ranked in the top 25 in Conference USA in batting. Kaitlin Ryder (.365) ranks 13th,Cortney Smith (.354) ranks 14th, Kiki Pepi (.349) and Courtney Clayton (.346) ranks no. 17 and 18, andTaylor Sargent (.316) ranks 24th. UTEP has the most players in the top 25, while UTSA has four players. Charlotte, FIU, Marshall and North Texas each have three, and Florida Atlantic and Middle Tennessee has two each.

Ryder & Grohmann Lead UTEP past Incarnate Word, 11-3 in 5 Frames

SAN ANTONIO, Texas – Kaitlin Ryder blasted a career-high two home runs and Taylor Grohmann threw a complete game (no earned runs) as the Miners clipped Cardinals, 11-3 [5], in game two on Monday afternoon at Cardinal Softball Field.

The Miners (10-26) split their two contests against Incarnate Word (7-29) as the Cardinals won game one 5-2.

UTEP 11, UIW 3 [5]

Courtney Clayton, who registered her 13th multi-hit game of the season, led the contest off with a single that set up Ryder for her first dinger of the afternoon. The junior cranked a two-run shot on a 2-1 pitch over center to give the Miners an early 2-0 edge.

The scoring onslaught happened in the second frame as the Miners batted around the order and racked up seven runs on six hits.

In the second, Lindsey Sokoloski, who was perfect at the plate, singled to right on a one-out, first pitch toss. Clayton knocked Sokoloski across the dish after she singled to right to make the score 3-0, while an error in right advanced Clayton to third. Ryder registered another RBI, this time on a single to right that scored Clayton.

Cortney Smith was hit by a pitch to put two on base for Kiki Pepi. Smith and Ryder recorded a double steal before Pepi came up with a two-run double through the left side to make the score 6-0.

The inning continued when Taylor Sargent singled on a bunt, advancing Pepi to third. Sargent went on to steal second and Pepi took home when the fielder dropped the ball on Sargent’s steal attempt, giving the Miners a 7-0 advantage. Cross and Bryanna Molina drew back-to-back walks that set up back-to-back RBI by Sokoloski and Clayton to make the score 9-0.

Incarnate Word would score a run in the bottom second and tacked on two more in fourth (9-3).

But the Miners wanted to finish the contest early as Ryder led off the top fifth with her second long ball of the contest over center on a 3-1 hurl. Following a pair of outs, Sargent doubled off the fence in center and Cross connected on an infield single that took a crazy bounce away from the first baseman that paved the way for Sargent to score for the eight run lead.

Starting pitcher Grohmann (1-1) allowed a lead-off single by Danielle Ramirez, but Marcela Lopez and Christy Trevino each popped out to Smith. Alex Alonzo grounded out to end the contest.

Grohmann won her first contest of 2017, walking none on 84 pitches.

Ryder tied her career high in knocks with a 3-for-4 effort, while recording four RBI in the process. Sokoloski also tied her career high in hits with her 3-for-3 game, along with scoring a run and registering her fourth RBI of the season. Pepi upped her RBI total to a team-best 30, while Ryder ranks second with 26 RBI. Clayton scored a pair of runs and tallied a pair of RBI on her 2-for-3 outing. Clayton is tied for no. 5 with Kayla Oranger on the program’s all-time hit’s list (174). Sargent also tied her career high in hits (3-for-4) and scored two runs.

UTEP 2, UIW 5

The Cardinals used a four-run second as the Miners couldn’t dig themselves out of the hole. Ryder put her squad on the board with a sac-fly to center that scored Ariel Blair to make the score 4-1.

Incarnate Word got the run back in the sixth.

Clayton used her first hit of the game to plate pinch runner Brianna Red, but the Miners couldn’t figure out Cardinals’ pitcher Joanna Velencia. The starting hurler struck out nine batters in a complete game effort.

Blair and Clayton tallied the Miners’ only two hits.

Up Next

UTEP will return to Conference USA action as it hosts WKU for the first time in program history. The Miners and Lady Toppers will play a doubleheader on April 8, starting at 3 p.m., while Sunday’s series finale is set for a 1 p.m. start. WKU (20-20, 4-8 C-USA) stands in fifth place in the East Division.

Sargent Tallies Career-High 3 RBI, but UTSA Rallies Past UTEP

SAN ANTONIO, Texas – Taylor Sargent recorded a career-high three RBI on a pair of doubles and Kiki Pepi hit her second home run in as many days, but UTSA came up with timely hits in the sixth to earn an 8-5 victory on Sunday afternoon at Roadrunner Field.

The loss puts the Miners (9-25, 4-8 Conference USA) and the Roadrunners (14-22, 4-8 C-USA) tied in the West Division. The series finale got off to a late start (4 p.m. CT) due to rainy conditions in the morning. The game was scheduled for a 1 p.m. first pitch.

In the first, Pepi connected a two-run liner over center to give the Miners an early 2-0 advantage. With the score 2-2 after UTSA tied the game in the second, Sargent helped her squad go up 3-2 with a hard double hit to center that plated Kaitlin Ryder during the third. Ryder had walked with one out and eventually reached second after Pepi reached first on an error.

The Roadrunners would tie the contest again in the fourth, but Sargent crushed her second double of the afternoon that scored Courtney Clayton and Pepi in the fifth. Clayton led off the inning with a single to right and Pepi drew a two-out walk to set up the runners in scoring position.

UTSA would go on to score five runs on four hits, a pair of walks and a fielding miscue in the sixth to run away with the win.

UTEP tallied seven hits led by Sargent’s 3-for-3 day, while she tied her career best with the two doubles. Sargent, who made the start at first base, came up with an amazing diving catch on a pop fly in the fourth. Kaley Pyles connected on a towering hit in the which the other infielders lost the ball in the sun and Sargent made a mad dash towards the circle to come up with the extended snag for the out.

Starting pitcher Erika Harrawood threw 5.0 frames (four earned runs), walked none and struck out a batter.

Up Next
UTEP will continue its San Antonio tour as Incarnate Word is on the Monday slate. The doubleheader will begin at 1 p.m. CT/Noon MT. It was mark the final nonconference contests for the Miners. UTEP will continue C-USA action on April 8-9 when it hosts WKU.

UTEP Rallies to Beat UTSA, 7-6, in 10 Innings; Moves One Game Up in C-USA West

SAN ANTONIO, Texas – In a wild game two contest, Courtney Clayton and Cortney Smith each slammed solo home runs and Kiki Pepi gave UTEP the go-ahead lead in the 10th on a solo shot, lifting the Miners to a 7-6 victory after trailing 3-0 early in the game on Saturday afternoon at Roadrunner Softball Field.

“It was a battle all day and it’s one of those where after the first game we could’ve just laid down and chalked up a bad day,” fourth-year head coach Tobin Echo-Hawk said. “The kids were just resilient; kept fighting and kept coming back with their backs against the wall. That is all I ask of them and they did a great job today.”

It was a great triumph following a Miners’ (9-24, 4-7 Conference USA) game one, 8-1, loss to the Roadrunners (13-22, 3-8 C-USA). With the game two win, UTEP moves one game ahead of UTSA in C-USA West and snapped a five-game losing streak in the process.

“Sometimes life doesn’t care what happens to you,” Echo-Hawk said. “It’s all about how you respond because no one will ever feel sorry for you. You just need to keep fighting because it’s easy to quit and make yourselves victims. Short-term memory also comes into play. A few of our girls were having bad games and then came up with big hits.”

UTEP racked up 26 total hits in the two games, including a season-high 17 hits in the second contest – tied most during the Echo-Hawk. Clayton went 3-for-5 as it was her 12th multi-hit game of the season and no. 54 of her career, while Pepi (3-for-4) and Taylor Sargent (3-for-6) tied their career highs in hits.

Kaitlin Fifield won her first game of the season, as she threw a career-high 10.0 innings. Fifield now has 23 wins in her career, ranking behind Kelly Curan (24) and Danielle Pearson (25) on the program’s all-time list.

The series finale is Sunday, starting at 1 p.m. CT/Noon MT.

UTEP 7, UTSA 6 [10]
The Roadrunners took an early lead, scoring three runs in the second inning. But instead of rolling over, the relentless Miners fought back.

Smith started the comeback when she connected on her seventh home run of 2017, a solo shot over right center on a 2-1 count to get within two runs (3-1). It was Smith’s first home run since March 4 at Texas Tech. Smith finished the contest 2-for-5 with a pair of RBI and two runs.

UTEP then took a 4-3 lead in the sixth on five hits. With one out, Ariel Blair used one of her two hits to single to left. Clayton and Kaitlin Ryder singled to center on back-to-back at bats to load the bases for Smith. The sophomore singled in Blair to bring the Miners within a run. Pepi, who tallied three RBI in game two, singled to right center, plating Clayton and Ryder to give her squad a 4-3 lead.

In the bottom sixth, UTSA tied the contest 4-4 after Kaley Pyles knocked in Bailee Baldwin, who led off with a single to right. Pyles, though, was thrown out at second base for the second out. Taylor Oberg doubled, but Fifield forced Angelica Nino to ground out to Smith to end the inning.

After a scoreless seventh, the runs started the cross the dish during the nail-biting last three frames.

Smith reached first after being hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. Pepi advanced her teammate to second on a sac-bunt and then Sargent doubled down the left field line, plating Smith for a 5-4 advantage.

But the Roadrunners would answer in the bottom eighth. Baldwin doubled to right field off the fence with one out and Hailey Garza singled down the left line, advancing pinch runner Erica Sanchez to third. Pyles, as she did in the sixth, came up with another big hit that scored Sanchez to tie the contest 5-5.

In the ninth with two quick outs, Clayton launched a towering solo shot over left on a 1-2 pitch to give the Miners a 6-5 edge. It was her first dinger since March 11 at North Texas.

But the contest would not end there as UTSA tied the score in the bottom ninth. Lindsey Stewart led off the home half with a single up the middle, while proceeding to steal second base. Celeste Loughman reached on a bunt single and also followed by snagging a base to put runners at second and third with no outs. Rylee Rodriguez grounded out to Smith, but Randee Crawford tied the contest with a sac-fly hit to center in which Stewart scored. Fifield then forced Sanchez to pop out the second base as Clayton made an over-the-shoulder catch to halt the game-winning run from scoring.

The 10th inning drama was set up for Pepi, who had not homered since March 1 at NM State. Pepi saw seven pitches and finally connected on the eighth pitch, a liner over left on a 3-2 count that put the Miners ahead for good.

Fifield used only five pitches in the bottom 10th as the final three batters went down in order to conclude the epic contest. Fifield helped her cause on the defensive side when she recorded four assists from the circle.

The 10-inning game was the longest since the Miners fell at Florida Atlantic on April 19, 2014 in 11 frames. Saturday’s extra inning nail-biter is tied for fourth longest in UTEP history. The longest was a 13-inning affair on May 7, 2009 against the East Carolina at the Conference USA Tournament in El Paso with UTEP coming out on top 4-3. The Miners played 11 innings twice, as the second was on April 7, 2013 at UCF. UTEP and Southern Miss went 10 frames on April 16, 2011, while another 10-inning contest happened on March 20, 2007 against no. 5 Arizona State – an 8-7 Miners’ win.

UTEP 1, UTSA 8
The Roadrunners scored five runs the second inning to pull away from the Miners. Crawford connected on her sixth home run of the season, a solo shot and Loughman doubled in a pair of runs in the second.

Loughman gave her squad an 8-0 lead after she hit a three-run home run over right center.

The Miners received a RBI single from Taylor Sargent in the fifth; Brianna Red scored the run in the pinch-run situation for Kiki Pepi, who drew a walk to lead off the inning. It was Sargent’s first RBI since Feb. 25 when she connected on a two-run single at UC Riverside.

The Miners connected on nine hits on the day, led by Courtney Clayton, Cortney Smith and Taylor Sargent who each finished 2-for-4. Sargent tallied her first multi-hit game since March 18 against Middle Tennessee.

UTEP Hits Road to San Antonio to Take on UTSA & Incarnate Word

The UTEP softball team, after its eight-game home stand, will take the road again as San Antonio is the next destination point for five games.

UTEP will take on Conference USA West Division foe UTSA on April 1-2 and will follow with a two-game set at Incarnate Word on April 3.

The Miners (8-23, 3-6 C-USA) and the Roadrunners (12-21, 2-7 C-USA) will start their two-game set on Saturday, starting at noon MT/1 p.m. CT, while the series finale is at noon MT on Sunday. The Miners will then play their final nonconference contests, facing the Cardinals (5-26) in a doubleheader starting at noon MT.

UTEP is coming off its first home stand of 2017. The Miners tallied a pair of victories against Middle Tennessee, a 7-6 win on March 18 and a 10-7 triumph on March 19. The Orange and Blue registered a run-rule win over Southern Miss, 12-2 (5), on March 25.

Following the San Antonio road trip, the Miners will return to Helen of Troy to host WKU April 8-9 and will hit the road again at LA Tech on Easter Weekend prior to the bye week (April 22-23).

UTEP is coming off a pair of losses to rival NM State. The Miners fell in game one, 8-4, but did gather up 14 hits in the contest. It was tied for second most hits against the Aggies during their rivalry. UTEP then fell in game two, 13-4 (5).

ALL-TIME SERIES VS. UTSA

UTEP is 7-12 all-times versus UTSA dating back to Feb. 11, 2005, but has won the last two of three contests. Last season, the Miners won the first two contest on April 2, 5-3 and 9-2. Lindsey Sokoloski was the game one hero when the Miners were down. With the score 3-1 in favor of the Roadrunners, Sokoloski came up with a pinch-hit inside-the-park grand slam in the sixth that propelled the Miners to a 5-3 victory. Kaitlin Fifield picked up the win, throwing a complete game with three strikeouts.

In game two, UTEP won the series on a 9-2 victory.Hope Moreno finished 2-for-5 with a career-high five RBI. Moreno surged the Miners to victory when she connected on a three-run home run during a five-run sixth frame. UTSA rebounded to win game three, 10-5. Kiki Pepi went 2-for-3 with a pair of RBI in the loss. Prior to the two victories last season, the Miners had lost five in a row and eight of nine contests dating back to Feb. 12, 2010. UTEP defeated UTSA, 7-6, during Tobin Echo-Hawk’s first season (2014).

SCOUTING UTSA

The Roadrunners are coming off a 9-1 (5) loss against Texas on March 29 and have fallen to 12-21 overall on the season. UTSA also came off a sweep at North Texas and is now 2-7 in Conference USA action. The Roadrunners’ two C-USA victories came against UAB on March 17 (6-3, 8-0 [6]). UTSA is hitting .304 to rank third in C-USA.

Rylee Rodriguez (.336 avg.) has provided power, leading UTSA with eight home runs (tied fourth in C-USA) and 33 RBI (tied third in C-USA). Lindsey Stewart leads the team with a .395 batting average (45-114) and ranks tied third in C-USA with 45 hits. Lizzy Fox (9-11) leads the pitching staff in wins, ERA (4.26) and innings (97.0). Nicole Merrill leads the team in strikeouts (44) and walked batters (45) in 84.0 innings. As a team, UTSA ranks second to last in ERA (4.74).

ALL-TIME SERIES VS. INCARNATE WORD

UTEP is 5-1 all-time against Incarnate Word dating back to Feb. 14, 2014 – Tobin Echo-Hawk’s first season. The Miners and Cardinals opened the 2016 campaign with Incarnate Word coming out on top, 4-1, on Feb. 11.

The Miners answered with a game two, 13-3 (5), run-rule victory. Kiki Pepi established her career high with five RBI on a 2-for-4 outing, while Courtney Clayton went 4-for-4 and tying her career best with four RBI. Two days laterin Las Cruces, the Miners clipped the Cardinals again, 5-3, behind a RBI each from Clayton, Danielle Pearsonand Taylor Sargent.

SCOUTING INCARNATE WORD

The Cardinals are currently standing at a 5-26 overall record. One of these wins was over UTSA who the Miners will face in conference play this upcoming weekend. The Cardinals edged their way past the Roadrunners 5-4 in nine innings. Incarnate Word is hitting .228 as a team with senior Danielle Ramirez leading the squad, hitting .400 on 32 hits and three triples.

The Cardinals pitching staff has totaled an ERA of 6.19. Freshman Joanna Valencia has the lowest ERA at 4.87 with two wins and 20 strikeouts.

Aggies Sweep Miners in Softball Battle of 10

The UTEP softball team registered 21 hits in it two contests against NM State, but the Aggies (12-16) took both games, 8-4 and 13-4 (5), on a chilly and windy Tuesday night at the Helen of Troy Softball Complex.

The Miners (8-23, 3-6 Conference USA) will continue league action at UTSA on April 1-2, followed by a pair of contests at Incarnate Word on April 3.

UTEP 4, NM State 8
The Aggies took an early 5-1 advantage, but the Miners cut the deficit to one run after a three-run sixth. With one out, Mallorie Cross doubled up the middle and Bryanna Molina recorded her first collegiate hit, a single to right. Miranda Gutierrez was inserted as a pinch runner for Molina. Kaitlin Ryder, whose bat has been on fire, came up with a two-run double, while Blair crossed the dish later in the frame on an error by the catcher. But with two runners on and two outs, UTEP couldn’t sustain anymore offense.

NM State scored three runs in the top seventh to pull away for the victory.

The Miners racked up 14 hits in the contest, led by Ryder’s 3-for-4 outing (tied career high in hits). Lindsey Sokoloski went 2-for-4, while Blair finished 2-for-3. Cross registered a pair of hits on a 2-for-4 performance, while throwing two more base stealers out.

UTEP 4, NM State 13 [5] The Miners took a 1-0 lead on the first when Pamala Baber was hit by a pitch with bases loaded. But the Aggies answered in the next frame with nine runs led by a NIkki Butler two-run home run.

Ryder tallied an RBI in the second to make the score 9-2, but Victoria Castro connected on a solo home run in the third, and Butler hit her second dinger of the contest, a two-run shot in the fourth.

The Miners scored a pair of runs in the fifth as Cortney Smith and Courtney Clayton each tallied a RBI.

Blair registered two more hits, while Molina recorded her second collegiate hit.

UTEP To Host NM State in a Doubleheader on Tuesday

The UTEP softball team will take a break from league action to host rival NM State in the FirstLight FCU Battle of I-10 on March 28 in a two-game set starting at 5 p.m. at the Helen of Troy Softball Complex.

Fans who wear to orange to the contests will get in free.

The Miners (8-21) and Aggies (10-16) will face each other for the 40th time after the game one first pitch. UTEP defeated NM State, 5-3, in Las Cruces on March 1. It was the first win up the road for the Miners against the Aggies since Feb. 15, 2010.

Head coach Tobin Echo-Hawk has beaten NM State twice during her four seasons at the helm, which includes a victory in 2014.

“It’s nice to know it’s a rivalry game, knowing that the girls will be fired up to play this one. Going into this game, they will try to prove something like they always do,” said Echo-Hawk.

UTEP pounded out a season-high 15 hits in its 12-2 (5) run-rule game-one victory against Southern Miss on March 25, but only tallied a combined 10 hits the next two contests. However, the Miners have shown they can rack up knocks against the Aggies as 11 hits were recorded during the March 1 triumph.

And following the team’s loss on Sunday in which four hits were tallied, Echo-Hawk had a post-game talk with the squad to get back in the swing of things against NM State on Tuesday.

“We were just talking about thing to do offensively so we can get back on track,” Echo-Hawk said. “Hitting is a hard thing to do. It’s hard to remain consistent. It’s hard not to let one at-bat carry into the next at-bat. I know we are a better hitting team than that.”

UTEP is currently hitting .294 in 2017. Since Echo-Hawk’s arrival prior to the 2014 campaign, the Miners are hitting .296 in 188 games played.

ALL-TIME SERIES VS. NM STATE

UTEP is 11-28 all-time against NM State, dating back to March 24, 2004. UTEP recently ended a seven-game losing streak to NM State after coming out on top, 5-3, on March 1 in Las Cruces. The Miners are 8-10 all-time in El Paso, while losing the last three contests at the Helen of Troy Softball Complex.

The Orange and Blue last won in the Sun City on March 4, 2014 by the score of 5-1. Overall, UTEP is 2-7 in the last nine contests since the 2014 victory. The Miners last won consecutive contests against the Aggies during a three-game stretch (UTEP def. NM State 12-7 on Feb. 19, 2009, 22-5 on Feb. 15, 2010 & 5-0 on March 23, 2010).

LAST MEETING

UTEP defeated NM State 5-3 on March 1 in Las Cruces. The Miners struck first as they jumped out to a 5-0 advantage. Hope Moreno put her squad on top 1-0 in the fourth when she was hit by a pitch in a pinch-hit situation with bases loaded. The Miners then jumped out 3-0 after Kiki Pepi lined a two-run home run over center in the fifth inning.

Pepi came up big again in the sixth, this time with a two-run single lined up the middle. The Aggies kept things interesting when they scored three runs in the sixth, but Devyn Cretz and Erika Harrawood combined to keep the victory intact. Cretz earned the win, hurling 5.2 frames and fanning five batters, and Harrawood earned her first career save in 1.2 innings of work, while striking out the last batter to seal the deal.

SCOUTING NM STATE

The Aggies have racked up a 10-16 record and are coming off a 5-2, 7-3 double header loss to PAC-12’s no. 21 Arizona State last Wednesday in Tempe, Ariz. Together, the Aggies are hitting .296 to rank third among the WAC. Reigning 2016 WAC Freshman of the Year Kelsey Horton, now a sophomore, is leading the lineup, batting .391 that includes four home runs, 10 doubles, and 22 RBI.

Horton’s numbers rank fourth in batting, third in RBI, and third for doubles in the WAC. The pitching staff has tallied an ERA of 4.05, with sophomore Kayla Green leading the crew with a 3.97 ERA to rank fifth in WAC, as well as leading the team in wins (six).

Fellow pitcher Samaria Diaz leads the team with 38 strikeouts, including a season-high seven Ks against Southern Illinois on March 11. NM State ranks second in conference in pitching and fielding.

LAST WEEKEND

UTEP defeated Southern Miss, 12-2, in five frames, but fell 6-2 and 6-1 the next two contests to lose the series. The Miners (3-6) and Golden Eagles (3-6) have the same record in the Conference USA West Division following the weekend series. The Miners bats exploded for a season-high 15 hits in the game one victory and crossed the dish a season-high 12 times against the Golden Eagles. Overall, UTEP hit .309 (25-81) and actually outscored Southern Miss, 15-14, in the three-game set.

Kaitlin Ryder also recorded a career-high five RBI in game one, while Kiki Pepi and Mallorie Cross each tallied four RBI during the weekend. Courtney Clayton and Macey Brown each chipped in with a RBI. Erika Harrawood earned the game one victory, throwing 5.0 frames and striking out a trio of batters.

SEASON HIGH IN RUNS & HITS

A week after tying the season high in runs (10) and hits (13) during UTEP’s 10-7 win against Middle Tennessee, the Miners set their season high in runs (12) and hits (15) during a 12-2 (5) victory over Southern Miss. The most runs and hits tallied during the Tobin Echo-Hawk era was a 16-run outburst against Mount St. Mary’s on March 5, 2016 and a 17-hit barrage against Incarnate Word on Feb. 11, 2016.

BAT WOMEN

After hitting .226 the first nine games, the UTEP bats have picked up the pace, hitting .321 (178-554) the last 20 games. Overall, the Miners are hitting .294 during the season, ranking fifth in Conference USA and no. 79 nationally.

UTEP is one of five programs hitting .290 or better; Marshall leads the pack with a .326 batting average. UTEP ranks sixth in hits (229) and slugging (.406).

DOUBLE TAKE

UTEP recorded five more doubles during the Southern Miss series and ranks tied sixth in Conference USA with North Texas (34 doubles). LA Tech leads the way with 44, while Marshall (43), Charlotte (41), FIU (39) and UTSA (38) round out the list.

UTEP’s 1.17 doubles per game ranks fifth in C-USA and 150 nationally. Marshall leads C-USA with 1.54 doubles and Seton Hall leads the nation with 2.08 doubles per game.

DIGGING OUT TRIPLES

UTEP ranks tied fifth with Florida Atlantic with six triples in 2017. LA Tech leads the way with 10, UTSA ranks second with eight, and Charlotte and Marshall each have seven. The Miners’ .21 triples per game ranks fourth in C-USA and no. 90 nationally.

C-USA OFFENSIVE NUMBERS

UTEP ranks second with a .311 batting average in Conference USA games only. Marshall leads with a .336 batting average. The Miners rank fourth in slugging (.389), fifth in on-base (.349), second in runs scored (41) [Marshall leads with 64 runs], third in hits (76), second in RBI (41), tied second with LA Tech in doubles (11) and third in total bases (95).

GETTING HIT

UTEP was hit three more times by pitches this past weekend against Southern Miss. The Miners rank tied fourth with Southern Miss with 17 HBPs. WKU leads the league with 54 HBPs, while North Texas (24) ranks second and FIU (20) ranks third.

Hope Moreno was hit by another pitch this past weekend, giving her five in 2017, to rank tied seventh in Conference USA with FIU’s Stephanie Texeira. WKU’s Taylor Proctor leads with 15 HBPs.

TOUGH TO STRIKEOUT

UTEP has left the plate swinging or looking only 110 times in 780 at bats to rank 11th in Conference USA. Marshall leads the way with 101, while WKU has struck out the most with 211. Lindsey Sokoloski leads C-USA and ranks fourth nationally, only fanning once in 81 at bats. Sokoloski is one of 12 players nationally to only strikeout once, while Victoria Nelson of Jackson State has not struck out (79 at bats) this season.

Baylor’s Lindsey Cargill (102 at bats) and Nicholls State’s Brooke Morris (98 at bats) rank ahead of Sokoloski. Courtney Clayton has struck out two times in 100 at bats to rank fourth in C-USA and tied no. 56 nationally. Taylor Sargent (four Ks in 76 at bats) ranks fourth in C-USA and no. 109 nationally.

#TURNUP

The UTEP defense turned a trio of double plays against Southern Miss – two in game two and one in game three. The Miners have turned 14 double plays in 2017, ranking fourth in Conference USA. FIU ranks first with 17, while WKU and UAB have each turned 16 double plays. Last season, UTEP turned a program-high 30 double plays.

DEFENSIVE RANKINGS

UTEP’s .957 fielding percentage ranks in the middle of the pack in Conference USA, while its 35 errors have been kept to a minimal, ranking eighth in least errors committed in C-USA.

Southern Miss Tops UTEP 6-1

Mallorie Cross registered a RBI and Kaitlin Ryder connected on a pair of hits, but Southern Miss behind, three solo home runs, downed UTEP 6-1 on a breezy Sunday afternoon at the Helen of Troy Softball Complex.

The Miners (8-21, 3-6 Conference USA) and Golden Eagles (16-15, 3-6 C-USA) are tied in the West Division after Samantha Robles (3-5) threw another complete game victory, allowing only four hits.

UTEP, who had been hitting the ball well as of late, struggled on this Sunday afternoon.

“We’re going to work on things offensively this week to get back on track,” fourth-year head coach Tobin Echo-Hawk said. “The first game, out bats were hot and then they kind of went away. We’ll pick the player’s brains to see where they’re at and where their mentality when they are up to bat so we can work on that this week in practice.”

The Miners will host I-10 rival NM State on March 28 in a doubleheader (5 p.m.). San Antonio is the next destination point for UTEP as it will play five contests. The first is a series at UTSA April 1-2 and two more games on April 3 against Incarnate Word.

Southern Miss took an early 2-0 lead in the first. Ciarra Cherry led the contest off with a walk, while Samantha Reynolds reached on a fielder’s choice sac-bunt. The defense went to throw out the lead runner Cherry, but was unsuccessful in the attempt. Cherry would reach third base on a throwing error in the process.

Lauren Holifield also reached on a fielder’s choice as the defense went after the lead runner Cherry at home, but she was called safe for the game’s first run.

Tori Dew then knocked in Reynolds on an RBI single up the middle. UTEP turned its third double play of the series on a liner hit to shortstop Cortney Smith, who made a diving snag to her right, while throwing out the runner at second. Samantha Papp flied out to center to end the top half.

In the bottom first with one out, Ryder connected on a towering shot that went down the left line, but the wind halted the momentum for a four-bagger, instead digging out a double as the ball dropped right at the fence. Smith walked with two outs to get a pair of runners on, but the Miners couldn’t sustain any more hits to get the runners across the dish.

In the third, Holifield hit the first of two solo home runs to put her squad up 3-0.

After a scoreless top fourth, the Miners got within two runs in the bottom half. Hope Moreno reached on a fielder’s choice and Lindsey Sokoloski singled up the middle to advance Moreno to second base. With two outs, Cross hit a blooper to shallow center that plated Moreno.

But Holifield hit her second solo shot in the fifth and pinch hitter Jade Lewis came up with the team’s third dinger of the game in the sixth to pull away.

Holifield finished the day 3-for-4 with four RBI and two runs scored.

Ryder finished 2-for-3 and is hitting .444 (12-27) the last nine games with 12 RBI and three walks. Cross, after her 1-for-3, one-RBI day, is hitting .316 with 10 RBI this season.

Erika Harrawood (3-8) started the contest, hurling 5.1 frames. Kaitlin Fifield threw 1.2 innings.

AtomicBar728x90