HONOLULU, Hawai’i – The UTEP softball team played [RV] James Madison tight until the Dukes scored their six runs during the fifth and sixth innings, as the Miners (9-10) fell 6-0 on Friday afternoon in the Texaco Malihini Kipa Aloha Tournament at Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium.
After four and half scoreless innings, James Madison (11-2) got on the board first with one out when starting pitcher Odicci Alexander connected on a hard single to center field, plating Madison Naujokas, who led off the bottom fifth with a walk. Kate Gordon followed with a single of her own that scored Cambry Arnold, who reached on a single.
But after JMU loaded the bases in the fifth, starting UTEP pitcher Kira McKechnie got out of the jam. The junior transfer forced Jessica Mrozek to reach on a fielder’s choice as Alexander was thrown out at home, while McKechnie used her third K to get out of the inning, striking out Kierstin Roadcap.
With the score 2-0 in favor of JMU, Kaitlin Ryder doubled to deep center with a pair of outs in the top sixth, but more offense couldn’t be sustained when Courtney Clayton grounded out to the short stop to end the top half.
James Madison third baseman Morgan Tolle put the game away when she hit a three-run home run to extend the Dukes’ lead to 5-0 in the sixth. Alexander also hit a homer run, a solo shot during the four-run frame.
Clayton registered one of UTEP’s three hits and surpassed Stacie Townsend (200 hits) to rank third on the program’s all-time hit’s list. Clayton is one of four Miners to reach 200 or more hits.
Ryder and Ariana Valles recorded the other two hits. Valles singled in the third inning. McKechnie (5-3) threw 5.1 innings while Allie Johnson recorded the other two outs during the sixth frame.
UTEP will take on host school Hawai’i on Saturday at 8 p.m. MT.