TEMPE, Ariz. – The UTEP softball team fell in a pair of tight contests, losing 3-1 to Saint Mary’s College (Calif.) and 5-4 against ACC program Virginia on Friday at the Kajikawa Classic.
The Miners (0-4), after only tallying four hits and one run in two games on Thursday, combined for 15 hits and five runs during their contests on day two.
UTEP 1, SMC 3
After Saint Mary’s took a 1-0 lead on a Bailey Lotz RBI single up the middle in the fourth, UTEP responded as freshman Mallorie Cross recorded her first career RBI on a two-out spinner to the pitcher with bases loaded that plated Courtney Clayton. But the Gaels made a heads-up defensive play, throwing out the runner at third on a 1-3-6-2-5 play.
The Miners had initially loaded the bases on a Clayton lead-off single up the middle, a Taylor Sargent single to right and a Hope Moreno single to the short stop.
Senior starting hurler Kaitlin Fifield (0-1) took the loss, but threw a solid outing until the sixth frame. With two outs already recorded and runners at second and third base, Cara DiMercurio tripled in both runners to give her squad a 3-1 advantage and eventual victory.
The Miners looked to rally when Cross doubled to left field with one out. But freshman Bryanna Molina fouled out to first and Kaitlin Ryder flied out to right to end the contest.
SMC’s Katie Moss (1-1) earned the victory after throwing a complete game, only walking one and fanning four.
Sargent finished 3-for-3, while Cross tallied her first two collegiate knocks after a 2-for-3 outing.
UTEP 4, Virginia 5
Senior Erika Harrawood entered the circle in the first inning after freshman Allie Johnson struggled after only 0.1 of an inning pitched and the score 2-1, in favor of the Cavaliers. After Harrawood was inserted, the Miners tied the contest in the top second after Ariel Blair crossed the dish on a wild pitch.
Clayton then gave her squad a 3-2 lead on her first RBI of the season, a single to right that scored Blair.
Harrawood came close to earning her first career win after the El Paso native threw 5.2 innings and struck out four hitters. UTEP took a 4-2 lead in the top sixth on a freshman Pamala Baber run after an error. Baber led off the sixth with a single to right and then advanced to second on an error by the fielder. Blair followed with an infield single, but an error by the catcher trying to throw Blair out at first went into right, paving the way for Baber to score.
The lead was short lived after Virginia’s McKall Miller led off the home half of the sixth with a solo home run over left. After a pair of Cavaliers drew walks with one out, Ashlee Davis hit a hard double down the left field line, scoring both runners.
UTEP looked to rally in the top seventh after Kiki Pepi walked to lead off. Freshman Mariah Ellis was inserted as a pinch runner, followed by Sargent advancing Ellis to second on a sacrifice bunt. With two outs, another freshman in Macey Brown also walked to put two runners for Baber. She took a 2-2 pitch and hit hard and high to left, but not hard enough as it fell into the fielder’s glove to end the evening.
Pepi put the Miners on the board first after the senior infielder drove in her first run of the season on a double to left center that scored Clayton.
Blair had a nice night, collecting her first three hits of the season on a 3-for-3 performance, while scoring twice.
UTEP will conclude its first weekend against no. 17/18 Utah of the Pac-12 on Saturday at 2:45 p.m. MT. The Miners will then travel to Las Vegas, Nev. to compete in the DiMarini Desert Classic hosted by UNLV.