FILE: “It was just a good all-around game and I think some people had good individual performances, but I think it was a great team win,” fifth-year UTEP head coach Tobin Echo-Hawk said.
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 
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.