Saturday , March 25 2017
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Flyin’ Miners Set to Open Outdoor Season at Kidd Field Saturday

The UTEP track and field team will open the outdoor campaign at the first of three meets at Kidd Field this Saturday.

UTEP will host the UTEP Invitational (April 22) and the Conference-USA Championships (May 11-14). The Miners will compete at the Texas Relays (March 28-April1), Mr. SAC Distance/UCLA Invitational (April 13-15),  the Brutus Hamilton Open & Challenge (28-29).

The women’s team will head into the outdoor season after celebrating it’s third consecutive C-USA championship title. The Miners will look to start the outdoor season on the right foot after a fourth-place finish last year.

On the women’s side, All-American Tobi Amusan returns to her prime event in the 100m hurdles. Amusan competed at the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics placing 11th in the world. The sophomore will take the track at 2:35 p.m. MT.

Florence Uwakwe will run the 400m set for a 4:30 p.m. start. The senior holds the school second fastest time in that event.

Michael Saruni will compete in the 400m set to start at 4:55 p.m. Saruni won gold at the C-USA championships in both the 800m and the mile run.  The freshman was named C-USA athlete of the week during the indoor season and was named an All-American during the indoor season.

 Live results will be available at www.spato.us and follow UTEPTrack on twitter.

New Mexico Upends UTEP in Tennis

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- The  UTEP women’s tennis team fell short in getting the much-needed doubles point and ultimately fell 4-0 to New Mexico at the Estes Tennis Center in Albuquerque, N.M., on Friday. High winds moved the match indoors.

On court one in doubles play, Milou Pietersz and Lois Wagenvoort were unable to close against the Lobos’ Rachana Bhat and Dominique Dulski, falling 6-2 to give the Lobos the point and lead due to a forfeit on court three due to injury. Daphne Visscher and Raven Bennett had a 3-2 lead over Emily Oliver and Diana Wong on court two before their match was called.

In singles action, Pietersz fell to Burguiere 6-0, 6-3 to give the Lobos the set and match.

The Miners will look to get healthy in the next two weeks and will be back in action to defend their home court in the first and only Conference USA match April 9 against UTSA.

First serve against the Roadrunners is 11 a.m. at the El Paso Tennis and Swim Club.

UTEP’s Ground Game Shines In First Scrimmage of Spring

Quadraiz Wadley rushed nine times for 72 yards and two touchdowns to steal the show in the first spring scrimmage for the UTEP football team on a windy Friday morning at the Sun Bowl.

UTEP’s rushing attack accounted for six of the seven touchdowns on the day, with Kavika Johnson (17-yard TD, 5-yard TD), Walter Dawn (10-yard TD) and Terry Juniel (13-yard TD) also finding paydirt. The Miners averaged better than 5.5 yards per carry (25-141), aided by five gains of at least 10 yards.

Strong wind gusts made it tough to accomplish much through the air. Ryan Metz (4-10, 36 yards, INT), Zach Greenlee (2-9, 33 yards) and Mark Torrez (1-2, 20 yards, TD) combined to go 7-21 for 89 yards with one touchdown and one interception. The seven completions went to seven different receivers, with Richie Rodriguez hauling in a 20-yard toss from Torrez for the lone score through the air.

There were also some bright spots for the Miner defense, which produced two sacks (Dylan Parsee and Dedrick Simpson) and an interception (Lawrence Montegut). Montegut and Johnny Jones were also credited with a pass break-up.

Nik Needham finished with a team-high four tackles while Dante Lovilette (three), Justin Rogers (two), Stephen Forester (two) also had multiple stops.

But the day belonged to Wadley. After being halted for three yards on his first rush, the rising sophomore was practically unstoppable the rest of the way. Wadley scampered for at least five yards on each of his final eight rushes, including bursts of 12 and 15 yards.  He also had both of his touchdowns (eight yards, five yards) in the stretch.

TCM Day Celebrates UTEP’s Longest-Running Campus Tradition

The College of Engineering will celebrate UTEP’s longest running tradition, TCM Day, on March 24, 2017. The tradition began in 1920 when UTEP was still known as the Texas College of Mines and Metallurgy. TCM is an annual rite of passage for engineering and geology students to be initiated into the Order of St. Patrick, the patron saint of engineers.

Students, faculty and staff from all colleges and disciplines are invited to participate in TCM Day activities, including the Team Mining Challenge. Those who complete every element of TCM Day will earn their official TCM Day green card and a TCM T-shirt.

The festivities start with participants signing in at 7:30 a.m. in Magoffin Auditorium. Participants are asked to bring $10 and a canned food item for the UTEP Food Pantry.

The day begins with the coming of St. Pat, a theatrical production where a senior engineering student, as voted by the Engineering Leadership Council, dresses up as their representation of St. Patrick.

Next, a simulated dynamite blast will take place to reenact how miners used dynamite to blow holes in mines. This will be followed by singing the traditional Mining song.

After a quick break, Miners will whitewash the “M” on the mountain off Sun Bowl Drive, a tradition that dates back to 1923.

The Alpha Phi Omega (APO) engineering fraternity will conduct an award ceremony in honor of their members. The APO fraternity was founded in 1919 at the Texas College of Mines as a social fraternity for engineering and geology students with a commitment to UTEP and the community. Those APO members started many of the traditions that are still around today.

After the awards ceremony, Miners will participate in the Team Mining Challenge, which will take them throughout the campus and end at the Engineering Building.  Upon completing the challenge, participants will run through the long green line and kiss the famous Blarney Stone. The first place team will win $500.

For more information and to register for the event, visit tcm.utep.edu.

UTEP President Named One of Fortune Magazine’s Top 50 World Leaders

Fortune Magazine today published its 2017 list of the World’s Greatest Leaders and University of Texas at El Paso President Diana Natalicio is included on the list of 50.

The fourth annual global ranking features leaders the publication said excel at leading effectively in today’s environment and teach three lessons: acknowledge reality and offer hope, bring followers physically together, and build bridges.

President Natalicio is in the company of leaders such as Theo Epstein, president of baseball operations for the Chicago Cubs; Pope Francis, head of the Roman Catholic Church; Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; Justin Trudeau, prime minister of Canada; and John Roberts, chief justice of the United States Supreme Court.

The magazine highlighted her priority to provide access and excellence in higher education for low-income students and a predominantly Hispanic student body. In addition, they noted UTEP’s steady climb in national college rankings, and soaring research funding during the President Natalicio’s tenure.

The article will appear in the April 1, 2017 issue of Fortune.

“I am extremely pleased by this recognition of the remarkable accomplishments of a talented and dedicated team of UTEP faculty and staff who have enabled us to achieve our dream of fostering the social mobility of talented and hard-working students whose modest financial means and complex life challenges  too often impede educational and career pathways,” President Natalicio said.

UTEP’s leader for 29 years, and the longest-serving president of a U.S. public research university, President Natalicio has guided UTEP’s transformation into a national model for educating a 21st century student population. Recognizing the critical importance of pre-college preparation to students’ enrollment and success at UTEP, she has been a driving force in creating community partnerships to raise the aspirations and educational attainment of all young people in the Paso del Norte region and, through a deep commitment to both access and excellence, to provide them authentic and stimulating educational opportunities. She is a leading voice in the national conversation on higher education, and an advocate for reaching past borders to develop robust international collaborations.

President Natalicio’s sustained commitment to provide all residents of the Paso del Norte region access to outstanding higher education opportunities has helped make UTEP a national success story.

In September 2016, The Hispanic Heritage Foundation awarded her the 2016 Hispanic Heritage Award in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).  She joined an elite group of 2016 awardees, including Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor (Leadership Award), Pulitzer Prize-winning author Junot Díaz (Literature Award), actress/singer Angelica Maria (Legend Award), and Latin music’s breakout new superstar J Balvin (Vision Award).

In April 2016, President Natalicio was recognized in the TIME 100 “Leaders” category among 31 global icons including U.S. President Barack Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande.

In 2015, the Carnegie Corporation of New York honored President Natalicio with its prestigious Academic Leadership Award in recognition of her exceptional achievements.

A graduate of St. Louis University, President Natalicio earned a master’s degree in Portuguese and a doctorate in linguistics from The University of Texas at Austin.

UTEP Softball Continues Home Slate as it Hosts Southern Miss

After its series win against Middle Tennessee, the UTEP softball team will host Conference USA West Division foe Southern Miss March 25-26. First pitch is set for 3 p.m. to begin Saturday’s doubleheader, while Sunday’s contest will start at 11 a.m. at the Helen of Troy Softball Complex.

The Miners (7-19, 2-4 C-USA), after a slow start in league action, rebounded last weekend as they won two of three games against Middle Tennessee at the Helen of Troy Softball Complex. It’s the second season in a row in which the Miners will host back-to-back conference weekends. Last season, UTEP split its six contests, losing three to UAB, but coming back strong with a sweep against North Texas to clinch a spot in the C-USA Tournament.

“It’s always nice to be at home no matter if it’s the beginning, middle or end of the season, we just feel more comfortable and confident playing at home,” fourth-year head coach Tobin Echo-Hawk said.

UTEP is 19-8 in C-USA contests at the Helen of Troy Softball Complex since 2015 and 24-15 since 2014.

The Golden Eagles (14-14, 1-5 C-USA) halted a four-game losing streak after edging South Alabama, 2-1, on March 22 in Hattiesburg. The Golden Eagles have lost six of the last nine games, which includes being swept against LA Tech March 18-19 and losing two of three at UAB March 11-12.

It’s a big series for both squads as each stand in the C-USA West Division. Last season, Southern Miss finished 14-10 to earn the no. 3 seed in the C-USA Tournament. UTEP was a no. 6 seed with a 13-11 league record.

“You know, it’s a big series for a lot of different reasons,” Echo-Hawk said. “If you look at our record against them last season, they kind of had our number and I think that’s a motivational factor. It’s also one of those series where the further you get into conference play, it’s nice to have those wins against teams in our division, and actually matter as far as seeding goes [for the C-USA Tournament]. We’re very similar with our records, so it’s important to win at least two of the three to win the weekend.”

Last season the two programs met four times in five days. Southern Miss won three contests in Hattiesburg, 3-0, 3-0 and 6-4 May 7-8. The two squads met again in the C-USA Tournament in Denton on May 11, with the Golden Eagles topping the Miners, 10-4.

UTEP will continue its home stretch when I-10 rival NM State heads to the Sun City for a doubleheader onMarch 28, starting at 5 p.m.

SCOUTING SOUTHERN MISS

The Golden Eagles are heading to the Helen of Troy this weekend with an overall record of 14-14. Southern Miss has tallied one conference win, which came against UAB, 10-4, on March 12. Last weekend they fell short all three games of the series to LA Tech, with game two going into 14 innings and finally ending at a 4-2 loss.

As a team, the Golden Eagles are hitting a total of .239 to rank 10th in Conference USA. Senior Lauren Holifield leading the line up with a .291 average, five home runs and 14 RBI. The pitching staff has totaled an ERA of 2.41 to rank fourth in C-USA. Junior Kim Crowson is producing the most success, as she has fashioned a 1.50 ERA to rank third in C-USA.

Crowson leads the staff in wins (six) and strikeouts (40) – ranks no. 12 in Ks in C-USA. Southern Miss ranks last in C-USA in runs (92), slugging (.328), home runs (12) and total bases (238). The Southern Miss pitching staff, however, ranks third in opposing batting average (.240) and fifth in least hits allowed (185).

ALL-TIME SERIES VS. SOUTHERN MISS

UTEP is 15-17-1 all-time versus Southern Miss. The Golden Eagles have won the last four contests, which included a sweep in Hattiesburg last season and a second-round victory at the Conference USA Tournament on May 11.

UTEP and Southern Miss have spit the last six contests at the Helen of Troy Softball Complex. The Golden Eagles took two of three contests in 2014, while the Miners returned the favor and won the series 2-1 in 2015. Southern Miss is 7-12 all-time at the Helen of Troy Softball Complex.

LAST WEEK

UTEP defeated Middle Tennessee twice during the March 18-19 series. The Miners won game one, 7-6, behind Kaitlin Ryder’s three-run home run and Erika Harrawood’s solid performance in the circle. Harrawood threw 6.1 innings, walked none, and struck out four batters. UTEP got tripped up in game two, but came back to win the series with a 10-7 win in weekend finale.

Middle Tennessee went up 5-0 in the first, but UTEP chipped away and scored 10 unanswered run the first four frames.

Courtney Clayton, Pamala Baber and Cortney Smith each recorded a pair of RBI in the series clinching victory. After Middle Tennessee went up 5-0 in the first frame, Devyn Cretz (4.0 IP) and Kaitlin Fifield (2.2 IP) kept the Blue Raiders’ bats in check, allowing only two runs on seven hits the next six innings. Cretz earned the win, while Fifield recorded her second save of the season.

COMEBACK KIDS

UTEP rallied from a 5-0 deficit on Sunday to defeat Middle Tennessee 10-7. The March 19 rally tied as the second-biggest come-from-behind victory in a conference game in program history, while it’s tied for fifth largest comeback in any contest in school history. UTEP rallied from 5-0 down to Colorado State after the top first to win 9-8 on Feb. 28, 2015 in Tucson, Ariz.

Earlier that season, the Miners scored eight runs in the top seventh to defeat Portland State, 8-5, in Las Vegas, Nev. on Feb. 13, 2015. The largest conference rally came against Southern Miss on March 10, 2012 in El Paso. The Miners were down 7-0 heading to the bottom first and rallied to win 13-12.

MOST RUNS, RBI & HITS COMBINED FOR IN A C-USA GAME

On March 19 UTEP and Middle Tennessee combined for the most runs (17), RBI (17) and hits (25) during a Conference USA only game up to this point of the season. The Miners banged out 13 hits during the 10-7 victory. The Miner and Blue Raiders also combined for the most stolen bases (five) during a conference only game.

GAME 3 RUNS & HITS VS. MT

UTEP clinched the series against Middle Tennessee with a 10-7 victory on March 19. The Miners tied their season highs in hits (13) and runs (10) during the victory. UTEP defeated Siena 10-2 (5) on Feb. 24, while connecting on 13 hits at New Mexico during a 7-4 triumph on March 8.

MOST RUNS/HITS DURING ECHO-HAWK ERA

During the Tobin Echo-Hawk era, the Miners’ single-game high is 17 hits on Feb. 11, 2016 against Incarnate Word, while the most runs scored was a 16-run output against Mount St. Mary’s on March 5, 2016. The hits (17) are ranked tied eighth in program history, while the runs scored is tied ninth.

OWNING MT

With UTEP’s 2-1 series win against Middle Tennessee on March 19, the Miners improved to 10-2 against the Blue Raiders all-time. UTEP is also 8-1 all-time versus MT at the Helen of Troy Softball Complex. The Miners, in 12 games played against the Blue Raiders, are hitting .394 (137-348) with 18 long balls. UTEP has outscored MT 88-51 during that span.

BAT WOMEN

After hitting .226 the first nine games of the season, the UTEP bats have caught fire, hitting .323 (153-473) during the last 17 contests. The Miners are currently ranked fifth in Conference USA with a .292 overall batting average (204-699). Marshall leads the league with a .317 batting average, while FIU (.312), UTSA (.303) and LA Tech (.299) round out the list. UTEP’s 204 hits rank sixth. FIU leads the league with 263 knocks.

DIGGING OUT TRIPLES

UTEP tallied its sixth triple of 2017 in game two against Middle Tennessee. UTEP is ranked tied fourth with Charlotte in Conference USA with six three-baggers. LA Tech leads the pack with 10, while UTSA and Marshall ranks tied second with seven apiece.

TOUGH OUT

UTEP has struck out 103 times in 699 at bats to rank ninth in Conference USA. Three Miners have kept their Ks low as Lindsey Sokoloski has whiffed only once in 75 at bats to rank first in C-USA and eighth nationally in toughest to strikeout. Courtney Clayton has struck out twice in 89 at bats to rank second in C-USA and 48th nationally.

Taylor Sargent has left the plate looking for swinging five times in 73 at bats to rank fifth in C-USA and tied no. 140 in the nation.

ROUGH RYDER

Kaitlin Ryder came up with a big weekend, producing six RBI and hitting .444 (4-9) during the series win against Middle Tennessee. During UTEP’s game one victory over the Blue Raiders, Ryder connected on her second home run of the season, a three-run shot over left in the second inning that put the Miners up 4-0.

Ryder is hitting .409 (9-22) with seven RBI the last seven contests. Overall, the junior is hitting .304 with two dingers and 13 RBI.

GAME SAVER

Kaitlin Fifield recorded her second save of 2017 after recording one against Middle Tennessee on March 19 in 2.2 innings of work. Fifield entered the contest with bases loaded and one out in the fifth with the Miners leading 10-5. The Blue Raiders only crossed the dish twice to get within three runs while Fifield only allowed one hit and walked no batters the next 2.0 innings.

Fifield recorded her first save of the season against Utah State on Feb. 24. Fifield is ranked tied first with five other players in Conference USA and tied no. 23 nationally. Fifield has four saves in her career to rank tied second on the program’s all-time saves’ list with four other players.

Miner Tennis Battles New Mexico Friday

The UTEP women’s tennis team will travel to Albuquerque, N.M., to meet the New Mexico Lobos in a dual match on Friday. First serve at the McKinnon Family Tennis Center is set for 11 a.m.

The Miners are coming off last week’s home loss to Iowa State. The team is 4-10 on the season with two road wins. The Lobos are 1-11 this season and will be meeting with the Miners after a 4-3 home loss to Northern Arizona.

New Mexico beat Wisconsin, 5-2, on Feb. 18 in Salt Lake City.

Representing UTEP will be Milou Pietersz, Lois Wagenvoort, Daphne Visscher, Raven Bennett and Maria Paula Medina.

The Lobos feature senior Ludivine Burguiere, who plays the No. 1 spot in singles as well as the duo of Rachana Bhat and Dominique Dulski at the No. 1 doubles position.

Burguiere has tallied a 8-10 overall record, while Bhat and Dulski have racked up a 1-3 mark together.

UTEP Men’s Golf Finishes Lone Star Invite in Fourth Place

SAN ANTONIO, Texas- Behind strong play, led by senior Frederik Dreier, sophomore Aaron Terrazas and junior Charles Corner, the UTEP men’s golf team finished the Lone Star Invitational in fourth place.

The Miners, who were in a tie for second place after two rounds, shot a season-low 22-under 842 (277-280-285). Oklahoma ran away with the Lone Star title after setting the tournament’s team scoring record with a 40-under 824 (278-279-267).

Dreier and Terrazas stayed at the top of the Miners’ card and were part of a five-way tie for sixth place with 7-under 209. Dreier shot rounds of 66-70-73 and recorded 37 pars while Terrazas fired 71-71-67, including 15 birdies.

Corner, who tallied 14 birdies, was one stroke behind his teammates with 6-under 210 (71-68-71), finishing in a share of 11th. Andreas Sorensen ended the invite in a tie for 37th with a even-par 216 (69-71-76) showing.

Prescott Mann finished out the Miners’ scorecard in 68th after shooting 10-over 226 (76-76-74). Due to injury, Nicklas Pihl withdrew from the tournament.

The Miners will play in their last event of the regular season April 8-9 at the Western Intercollegiate in Santa Cruz, Calif. Live stats will be available via golfstat.com.

UTEP Men’s Golf Tied For Second After Day One

SAN ANTONIO, TexasThe UTEP men’s golf team ended the opening day of the Lone Star Invitational in a tie for second after firing a season-low 19-under 557 (277-280). The Miners share the spot with Oklahoma, who shot rounds of 278 and 279, while Illinois leads the field with 27-under 549 (272-277).

Lone Star host UTSA trails the Miners and Sooners by two strokes with 17-under 559 (279-280). The third and final round at the Briggs Ranch Golf Course (par 72/7247 yards) in San Antonio, Texas will begin in a shotgun start at 7:30 a.m. MT. 

Senior Frederik Dreier led the Miner charge, firing 8-under 136 (66-70) for sixth place and one stroke out of being apart of a three-way tie for third. Not far behind, teammate Charles Corner has a share of eighth place after a 5-under 139 (71-68) day one showing. Andreas Sorensen sits one stroke away from Corner in a tie for 12th, tallying 4-under 140 (69-71).

Aaron Terrazas fired 2-under 142 (71-71) for a share of 21st while Prescott Mann rounded out the Miners’ field with 8-over 152 (76-76) to end the two rounds in a tie for 70th.

The Lone Star Invitational will conclude tomorrow, beginning with a shotgun start at 7:30 a.m. MT. Live stats will be available via golfstat.com.

UTEP Volleyball Set To Host Spring Tournament

The UTEP volleyball team will play host to a spring volleyball tournament on Saturday, March 25. The five-team tournament will begin at 9 a.m. at Memorial Gym. 

UTEP will play in a round-robin tourney that will bring NM State, New Mexico Military Institute, Eastern Arizona and Western New Mexico.

The Miners will begin the day with a 9 a.m. meeting with Eastern Arizona followed by a 10 a.m. showing with NMMI, both on court one. The Miners will then move to court two at 11 a.m. to face off against I-10 rival NM State. 

UTEP will have a bye at noon before closing out the tourney at 1 p.m. against Western New Mexico on court two. 

Admission is free and open to the public. 

2017 UTEP Spring Volleyball Tournament

Teams: UTEP, NM State, NMMI, Eastern Arizona, Western New Mexico

Round one (9 a.m.) match schedule:

Court one- UTEP vs Eastern Arizona

Court two- NM State vs NMMI

Bye: Western New Mexico

Round two (10 a.m.) match schedule:

Court one- NMMI vs UTEP

Court two- Eastern Arizona vs Western New Mexico

Bye: NM State

Round three (11 a.m.) match schedule:

Court one- Western New Mexico vs NMMI

Court two- UTEP vs NM State 

Bye: Eastern Arizona

Round four (noon) match schedule:

Court one- NM State vs Western New Mexico

Court two- NMMI vs Eastern Arizona

Bye: UTEP

Round five (1 p.m.) match schedule: 

Court one- Eastern Arizona vs NM State

Court two – Western New Mexico vs UTEP

Bye: NMMI

UTEP’s Collaborative Research Aims to Improve Treatment for Prostate Cancer Patients

Researchers from UTEP, Clark Atlanta University, the Prostate Centre at Vancouver General Hospital and the University of British Columbia will this summer work toward developing more potent and effective drugs for the treatment of castration-resistant prostate cancer.

The group received more than $1 million from the Department of Defense (DOD) Prostate Cancer Research Program (PCRP) for the three-year project.

Prostate cancer affects one in seven men in the United States. In approximately one-third of diagnosed cases, the disease spreads and invades other tissues (metastasizes) to become life threatening.

Since prostate cancer requires male hormones, or androgens, to grow and survive, the metastatic form of the disease has been treated with so-called androgen deprivation therapies, actual or chemical castration to prevent the testes from supplying androgens, and use of androgen blockers called anti-androgens.

Unfortunately, these treatments only delay the progression of the disease and the cancer invariably returns in a form that no longer responds to these therapies, also called castration-resistant prostate cancer.

“The drugs developed here will be first-in-class for the direct targeting of an androgen receptor-associated co-chaperone for the treatment of castration-resistant prostate cancer, which will help pave the way for the development of similar technologies,” explained Marc Cox, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and UTEP lead in the research.

“While no single drug is likely to represent a ‘magic bullet,’ preliminary findings suggest that our strategy will lead to more potent and effective drugs that are likely to show efficacy towards the treatment of castration-resistant prostate cancer, either alone or in combination with existing therapeutics. Thus, we will add new weapons to the clinicians’ arsenal of treatments that will provide greater options for the design of individualized and/or combination therapies, and significantly contribute to the reduction of death from prostate cancer. The preclinical proof of concept data that will be generated in the proposed studies will ultimately generate licensing opportunities, and will be used to attract commercial interest and/or additional funding aimed at the further commercial development of these novel technologies,” he added.

This study is a collaborative project with Jaideep Chaudhary, Ph.D., at Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia and Artem Cherkasov, Ph.D., at the Prostate Centre at Vancouver General Hospital and the University of British Columbia.

The total approved budget, $1.5 million, is split in three equal parts, with UTEP receiving $500,000 over three years.

Gallery+Story: UTEP Rallies Past Middle Tennessee 10-7; Wins Weekend Series

Middle Tennessee scored five runs right off the bat to take a 5-0 lead in the first inning, but UTEP racked up 10 unanswered runs to hold on for a 10-7 series clinching victory on Sunday at the Helen of Troy Softball Complex.

The Miners (7-19, 2-4 Conference USA) and Blue Raiders (10-13, 1-5 C-USA) combined for 17 runs and 25 hits, the most during a single conference contest this season.

UTEP tied its season high in runs (10) and hits (13), while Devyn Cretz (5-5) picked up the victory and senior El Paso native Kaitlin Fifield notched her second save of the season to clinch the series triumph.

“It’s huge [to win the weekend series],” fourth-year head coach Tobin Echo-Hawk said. “Sometimes when you start off slow and you’re facing tough opponents, your record doesn’t show your progress. It’s big – especially at home – to get two of the three wins. It’s also a big confidence booster going into the rest of conference play.”

The Miners found themselves down five runs early and didn’t let the deficit affect them. In the bottom first with one out, freshman Pamala Baber – who’s had a hot bat the last few weeks – doubled in Kaitlin Ryder and Kiki Pepi. Ryder walked while Pepi singled to right field during the inning.

With the score 5-2, Taylor Sargent and Mallorie Cross used back-to-back singles to right, while Ariel Blair reached on an error to load the bases. The Miners would move the line to tie the game 5-5 after Courtney Clayton and Ryder came up with back-to-back RBI singles and Pepi drove in a run on a fielder’s choice.

The Orange and Blue took the go-ahead lead in the third inning. Cortney Smith led off the frame with a single to left. Sargent then attempted a sac-bunt, but reached first safely on the fielder’s choice as Smith was called safe at second. Cross advanced the runners to second and third on a sac-bunt to set up Macey Brown in a pinch-hit situation.

The freshman came up with a RBI single to left that scored Smith and Clayton gave the Miners a 7-5 advantage after a sac-fly to left that plated Sargent. Brown is 2-for-2 with three RBI in her last two pinch-hit at bats.

The Miners crossed the dish a trio of times in the fourth inning led by Smith’s two-run single up the middle and a Cross RBI single down the left line that scored pinch runner Brianna Red for a UTEP, 10-5, lead.

In the fifth, Fifield replaced Cretz in the circle after bases became loaded off back-to-back hits and a walked batter with one out. Fifield held the Blue Raiders’ bats in check after two runs scored on a single and a walked batter with bases loaded. She forced Precious Birdsong to pop out to the shortstop Smith, while the runner at first was thrown out at second on a fielder’s choice to end the rally.

In the seventh, Lexi Cushing led off with a hard single to right center. But the defense came up with a huge 4-6-3 double play that Kirstyn Cuccia hit into. Kristin Uselton, who homered on Saturday night, grounded out to third base to end the contest.

“After the fifth when [Middle Tennessee] came back and scored the two runs, it could’ve gone the same way as it did yesterday, but there was a different feel today,” Echo-Hawk said. “It was more of a feeling that we are going to win today, as opposed to being on our heels and holding our breath to see what happens. I think it started in the circle. Kaitlin did a great job and was super confident getting us some ground balls for that double play. After that double play, we knew no one else was going to get on base.”

Pepi (2-4), Baber (2-4), Smith (2-4) and Cross (2-2) each tallied multiple hits, while Clayton, Baber and Smith each recorded a pair of RBI. Sargent scored two runs and Blair stole her first bag of the season. Cretz threw 4.0 frames, striking out a pair of batters and Fifield threw 2.2 solid innings, allowing two hits.

“It’s not how you start the season, it’s how you finish the season,” Echo-Hawk said. “And as long as we progress throughout the course of the season, we’re going to be okay. I think everyone on the outside looking in thinks things are going bad. But we’re hitting our stride and getting better every single day.”

Last season, UTEP was 9-18 heading into a league series against LA Tech in El Paso. The Miners won the series, while eventually advancing to the C-USA Tournament.

Up Next

UTEP will continue its home slate as Southern Miss make its way to the Sun City for a three-game seriesMarch 25-26. Saturday’s contests will start at 3 p.m., while Sunday’s game is a 11 a.m. start. The Miners will then host rival NM State in a doubleheader on March 28.

Photos by Andres Acosta, El Paso Herald-Post Chief Photographer

UTEP Wins Game One, 7-6; Falls Short in Game Two

Kaitlin Ryder connected on a three-run home run and El Paso native Erika Harrawood earned a victory as UTEP defeated Middle Tennessee 7-6, in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader at the Helen of Troy Softball Complex.

Ryder tallied two more RBI in game two but the Blue Raiders (10-12, 1-4 Conference USA) held on to win their first ever game in El Paso, 5-2, over the Miners (6-19, 1-4 C-USA).

“[Middle Tennessee] is a scrappy team and much improved,” fourth-year head coach Tobin Echo-Hawk said. “They kept fighting and did a better job, especially in the second game.”

The series finale is Sunday at noon. Fan can get in free with canned food for Home Run for the Hungry.

UTEP 7, Middle Tennessee 6

Harrawood (2-7) won her first ever game in her hometown, hurling 6.1 frames with five runs (four earned) while striking out four and walking none.

“She did a great job,” Echo-Hawk said about Harrawood’s performance. “She got some really big outs for us. Even in the that first inning there were runners on and she did a nice job of getting herself out of those tough situations. She did it multiple times throughout the game. It was just a great and solid performance. She didn’t give up too many big hits with runners in scoring position.”

The UTEP offense gave Harrawood a comfortable 7-0 lead before Middle Tennessee made a bid for a comeback.

Hope Moreno put the Miners on the board in first inning on a groundout to second base. Moreno still recorded an RBI as Lindsey Sokoloski crossed the dish for an early 1-0 advantage. Sokoloski reached on an error and advanced to second. She would eventually find herself at third after Kiki Pepi singled.

It was in the second inning Ryder blew the game open with her second dinger of the season. The junior drove a 1-2 pitch over left that put her squad up 4-0.

In the fourth, Courtney Clayton singled in Taylor Sargent, who had led off the inning with a single to left. Pepi then used a first-pitch double up the middle, scoring Clayton and Ariel Blair for a 7-0 lead.

Middle Tennessee scored two runs in the sixth behind a RBI each from Morgan Harris and Dani Munoz. Things got interesting in the seventh when the Blue Raiders crossed the dish four more times, but Devyn Cretz notched her first career save by forcing a groundout by Kaylyn Slatter with one runner on to end the ball game.

Pepi finished 2-for-3 with two RBI (19 RBI in 2017). Sargent produced her first multi-hit game (2-for-3) since March 5 and Pamala Baber finished with a 2-for-3 outing and a run scored. Ryder produced a season-high three RBI and six putouts from behind the plate. Ryder made her first start at catcher since Feb. 26 against Utah State.

Harrawood, at one point in the ball game, retired 10 consecutive batters that started in the second inning. The Blue Raiders went down in order the next three innings before Precious Birdsong led off the sixth inning with a single.

UTEP 2, Middle Tennessee 5

The Blue Raiders took an early 2-0 lead in the second frame off a RBI each from Kristin Uselton and Keely McGee.

The fighting Miners answered with a pair of runs of their own off Ryder’s bat in the third inning. Cortney Smith led off with a single while Blair used an infield single to reach first. Ryder came in to pinch hit for Sokoloski and came up with a two-run single to left on a 1-0 pitch that plated Smith and Blair.

After two scoreless innings, Munoz doubled off the wall with one out in the sixth. Lexi Cushing came in as a pinch hitter and singled in Munoz for a 3-2 edge. After Kirstyn Cuccia popped out to second, Uselton came up with a big two-run home run over left. Baber, who made the start at left, almost came up with the steal above the fence, but she couldn’t hold on to the ball in the valiant effort.

“It was in her glove,” Echo-Hawk said. “It’s like I told [the team], sometimes when things are not going your way, everything doesn’t go your way. She had a glove on it and almost made a great play.”

The Miners looked to rally as Clayton, with two outs, doubled to left. Ryder then followed with a single that advanced Clayton to third. But Pepi flied out to center to end the contest.

Clayton tallied another multi-hit game, going 2-for-3. It was her ninth multi-hit game of the season and no. 51 for her career. Ryder produced two more hits, while Smith finished 2-for-3.

The pitching staff as a unit on Saturday, only walked two batters and struck out seven Blue Raiders. Cretz (4-5), the game two starter, struck out three in a complete game effort.

“[The pitching staff] is getting much better and much improved,” Echo-Hawk said. “We just need to play better defense behind the pitchers. Sometimes we get on our heels on defense and should have more of an attack kind of mentality.”

UTEP, however, did turn another double play in game two. It’s the tenth double play turned in 2017.

UTEP Men’s Golf Prepares for Lone Star Invitational

The UTEP men’s golf team will make a trip to the Alamo City to compete in the Lone Star Invitational, hosted by UTSA at the Briggs Ranch Golf Club (par 72/7,247 yards) in San Antonio, Texas.

The invitational will run from March 20-21 with an 8:30 a.m. (9:30 a.m. MT) shotgun start both days (36 holesMonday, 18 holes Tuesday).

Coming off a ninth place finish last week at the Border Olympics, UTEP will send Frederik Dreier, Aaron Terrazas, Nicklas Pihl, Andreas Sorensen, Charles Corner, and Prescott Mann, who will be playing as an individual, to the links.

The Miners, who placed fourth in last year’s Lone Star Invitational with 32-over par 896 (305-298-293), will compete in a field that includes 2016 Lone Star champ New Mexico, Bowling Green, Cincinnati, Illinois, Little Rock, Louisiana-Lafayette, McNeese State, Mississippi State, New Mexico State, Oklahoma, Rice, Southeastern Louisiana, Texas State, and UTSA.

Live scoring will be available via golfstat.com.
 
2017 Lone Star Invitational
Monday, March 20 — Tuesday, March 21
Briggs Ranch Golf Club (7,247 yards/par 72), San Antonio, Texas
Monday, March 20
8:30 a.m. — First & Second Rounds
(shotgun start)Tuesday, March 21
8:30 a.m. — Final Round
(shotgun start)
Field: 
Bowling Green, Cincinnati, Illinois, Little Rock, Louisiana-Lafayette, McNeese State, Mississippi State, New Mexico, New Mexico State, Oklahoma, Rice, Southeastern Louisiana, Texas State, UTEP, UTSA.

Tables Being Sold for 43rd “Dinner With the Miners”

Tables are now on sale for the 43rd edition of “Dinner With the Miners,” the annual awards banquet for UTEP Athletics. This year’s event, sponsored by the El Paso Downtown Lions Club, will be held on Thursday, April 27 at the Wyndham El Paso Airport.

Coaches and student-athletes will be in attendance for each of UTEP’s 16 Division I sports, with Most Valuable Athlete awards being presented.

UTEP’s Male and Female Athlete of the Year will also be announced as well as the recipient of the Golden Miner Award, presented to UTEP’s top all-around student-athlete based on athletics, academics and community service.

The social hour begins at 5 p.m., with dinner and the program to follow at 6:15 p.m.

Prices are $275 for three seats at a shared table with two student-athletes/coaches, and $500 for six seats at a shared table with four student-athletes/coaches. Funds raised are allocated to the UTEP student-athlete scholarship fund.

For more information or to purchase tickets, please call Jim Peak at (915) 581-0490.

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