RUSTON, La. – The UTEP softball team (11-27, 4-9 Conference USA) fell to LA Tech (32-10, 11-2 C-USA), 4-3, in a thriller at Lady Techster Softball Complex on Friday evening.
Kasey Flores hit her eighth bomb of the year, a three-run homer in the sixth frame to put the Miners up 3-2. However, LA Tech scored two runs in the bottom seventh for the walk-off victory.
Kira McKechnie carried over her stellar 12-strikeout performance from Tuesday into Ruston, La. She hurled a no-hitter through 5.1 innings, and only surrendered three hits on the day.
Kacey Duffield went 3-3 at the plate and has reached base in 35 of the Miners’ 38 games this season. Pate Cathey also posted two hits in the contest.
The UTEP offense got only one runner on base through the first three innings of play. The Miners’ offense, after a slow start, strung together a couple of walks and a hit from Duffield to load the bases in the third frame.
Cortney Smith came to the plate and hit what looked like her 11th homer of the year and a grand slam, but it fell into the center fielders glove a few feet from the wall.
LA Tech, with some aggressive base running and good eyes at the plate, scored two runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. It took a 2-0 lead, and put the pressure on the Miner offense. Although the Lady Techsters had scored two runs in the third, they did so with no hits.
In the top of the sixth frame with one out, Duffield came through with her third hit of the game. Smith displayed her excellent eye at the plate and drew a walk, putting two runners on for Flores.
The freshman added another magical moment to her stellar rookie campaign with a Sun City bomb over the field fence. It was her eighth dinger of the season, and gave the Miners a 3-2 lead over the C-USA frontrunners. Duffield has reached base in 35 of the Miners’ 38 games this year
The Lady Techsters however would come in clutch, scoring two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to steal the game away from the Miners.
On deck, the Miners will finish up the conference series versus LA Tech on Saturday (April 13) with a doubleheader (10 a.m. & 12:30 p.m. MT)