COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The UTEP softball team took an early 3-1 lead, but Indiana used 14 strikeouts from its pitchers to prevail 5-4 on the final day of the Texas A&M Invitational on a brisk Sunday morning.
In the first, Courtney Clayton led off with a single to right center on the very first pitch. A pitch hit Kaitlin Ryder with one out on a full count, followed by Kiki Pepi reaching first on a fielder’s choice. Despite the second out, Hope Moreno put the Miners on the board with a single over the left infield, plating Clayton. Taylor Sargent then doubled to deep left center, scoring Pepi and Moreno.
Indiana put a run on the board during the top third on an Erin Lehman RBI fielder’s choice with bases loaded and two outs. Lehman hit a slow roller to Cortney Smith, who tried to throw out Shannon Cawley running from first, but was called safe. Kaitlin Fifield got out of the jam by striking out Michelle Huber swinging.
The Hoosiers then took a 5-3 lead in the fifth inning with bases loaded. Lehman tallied a pair of RBI on a single down the left field line, Rachel O’Malley hit a sac-fly to center and Rebecca Blitz knocked in a run. The Miners were able to escape without any more damage, as a double play was turned on an 8-2-5 scenario on Blitz’s hit to Kawehiokalani Netane at center. Netane threw out a base runner at home, while anther Hoosier was caught in a run down at third.
In the bottom fifth, Clayton got the Miners within a run after the sophomore connected on her third home run of the season over left center on a 0-1 pitch. Though the Hoosiers got base runners on the sixth inning, Danielle Pearson was able to keep them in check while in the seventh Indiana went three up and three down.
The Miners looked to rally in the seventh.
Tara Trainer, after forcing a foul fly-out and striking out a batter, walked Kaitlin Ryder and Pepi in back-to-back at bats. Moreno was then hit by a pitch on a 3-0 count, but the umpire said she stepped into it. The next pitch seemed to be up and high, but a strike was called. Moreno would strikeout swinging to end the contest.
UTEP starting pitcher Fifield (1-4) and Pearson combined for 10 walks and only five Ks. Clayton finished 2-for-4 with a pair of runs and Moreno went 2-for-4 with a run scored. Sargent tallied the Miners’ other hit.
UTEP will host Mount St. Mary’s in a doubleheader on March 2 starting at 4 p.m. Following the two contests in El Paso, the squad will then travel to Tucson, Ariz. to compete at the Wildcat Invitational March 4-6. The Miners will take on Saint Francis (PA) and BYU on Friday, Arizona and Mount St. Mary’s on Saturday, and will conclude the weekend against James Madison.
Author: UTEP Athletics