INF Lexi Morales | Photo by Ruben R. Ramirez
SAN ANTONIO, Texas – UTEP softball (10-24, 4-13 C-USA) dropped its series opener versus UTSA (12-29, 6-11 C-USA), 11-6, despite some late-game dramatics from the Miners Friday evening at Roadrunner Field.
UTEP’s playoff hopes for the C-USA Tournament have dimmed but are still alive, now needing to win the remaining three games of the series against UTSA while FIU (13-26, 5-13 C-USA) and FAU (12-33, 6-12 C-USA) must lose one game to Middle Tennessee and two games to Western Kentucky, respectively.
The Miners put the first runs of the game up on the board in the top of the third inning. Freshman utility Autumn Scott recorded the first base hit of her collegiate career with a single to left field.
One batter later, freshman infielder Lexi Morales singled to put another runner on base for UTEP’s batting average (.387) leader redshirt sophomore outfielder Idalis Mendez. Mendez uncorked an opposite-field home run for her third long ball of the season and first since the beginning of conference play.
Roadrunners’ infielder Madison Washington answered in the bottom half with a two-run shot off sophomore pitcher Isabella Kelly to cut the Miners lead to one, 3-2.
UTSA took the lead and broke the game open with six runs in its next ups in the fourth inning. After a home run from outfielder Marena Estell, the Roadrunners’ next five batters reached base via a hit-by-pitch, single, single, walk and grand slam.
UTEP immediately began chipping away at the 8-3 deficit as Scott recorded her second hit of the day and career and Morales, once again, followed her up with a base hit, this time a double – her second of the season – to bring home Scott. Graduate infielder Bryanna Molina singled in Morales her next at-bat for her fourteenth RBI of the season, 8-5.
After a shutdown inning by Calderon in the fifth, UTSA tacked on three more runs in the sixth inning with the Roadrunners’ fourth home run of the day, 11-5.
Sophomore utility led off the seventh inning with a double and would come around to score the Miners’ last run of the game, 11-6, off Molina’s second single and RBI of the night.
Next up, UTEP softball plays UTSA in a crucial double-header tomorrow that will play a role in deciding one of the two wild card seeds to the C-USA Tournament May 12-15.