UTEP softball’s Julia Wright won Conference USA Pitcher of the Week, the league announced Monday afternoon.
Wright threw 10.2 scoreless innings with a 0.00 ERA, two victories and a save in her three appearances versus Florida Atlantic this weekend. Of the 40 batters faced for the pitcher she only allowed one walk, showing complete command of the strike zone.
The senior carried the Miners in the circle to their first sweep of FAU in program history. Wright is also the first UTEP pitcher since Kaitlin Fifield to earn the honor (Co-Pitcher of The Week – Feb. 29, 2016), and the first since Stacie Townsend to be given the honor outright (March 22, 2010).
She entered game one with just one out in the top of the seventh with the bases loaded and the tying run at the plate. The pitcher struck out the first batter she faced and then forced a groundout to win the game and earn the save fifth save of her career (tied second most in UTEP history).
Game two, Wright threw a complete-game shutout of the Owls with two strikeouts, which was the second such game of her career. In the series sweep-clinching game of the series she entered the contest down 4-0, but shut down the FAU offense, allowing the offense to come back to win the game.
The Orange and Blue (7-11, C-USA) is now seventh in the C-USA standings with two weekends of play remaining. The top eight schools will reach the C-USA Tournament in Birmingham, Alabama.
The Miners will go to UTSA (6-12, C-USA) this weekend, and then will host FIU (4-13, C-USA) to end the regular season.
The UTEP softball team (14-29, 7-11 Conference USA) completed its first series sweep of Florida Atlantic (18-26, 5-13 C-USA) in program history with a 6-4 win on Saturday afternoon at The Helen of Troy Softball Complex.
“I loved the fight today, going down 4-0 a lot of teams would hang their heads. That is kind of what we have done in the past, but we didn’t do that today,” Coach Tobin Echo-Hawk said. “They just know it’s super important, and every game matters. You’re never out of it in this game, anything can happen and they just continue to fight. Kasey Flores had a key hit. Maybe she didn’t have the best weekend but when it counted she had a great at-bat, did what we needed and just got the ball rolling for us in that inning.”
Cortney Smith tallied three hits, three RBIs and posted her 11th home run of the season. Kasey Flores produced two doubles and a clutch two RBIs for the Orange and Blue.
Julia Wright registered her second victory of the weekend, throwing 4.0 innings and giving up no walks. She threw 11.0 innings, allowing zero runs during her two outings.
FAU scored four runs in the first three innings, putting the Miners’ hopes of a series sweep in jeopardy with a 4-0 lead.
However, with two outs in the bottom of the third frame Duffield recorded a single to extend the inning. Smith walked to the plate with bad intentions, and locked in her 11th bomb of the year on the second pitch she saw. UTEP had closed the gap to 4-2 entering the fourth.
In the bottom of the fourth frame, the Orange and Blue showed discipline at the plate, drawing two walks and a hit-by-pitch to load the bases. Flores stepped up in a big way with two outs against her. The freshman smacked a double down the leftfield line, scoring two runs and tying the game at 4-4.
The Miners weren’t done yet, as they scored another run off of an error by the Owls. Then Duffield capped off the offensive explosion with a single to score Flores, making the score 6-4 in UTEP’s favor.
Wright entered the game in relief for the second time this weekend in the fourth inning.
The senior retired the final seven batters of the game, and forced the Owls to go three up and three down to end the ball game. Wright locked down the FAU offense, surrendering no runs and earning the victory to secure the series sweep.
On deck, UTEP will travel to UTSA (6-12 C-USA) for its final conference road series of the season (April 27-28).
>> The Miners sweep FAU for the first time in program history
>> UTEP is now in sole possession of seventh place in the C-USA standings
>> Duffield has now reached base in 39 of the Miners’ 43 games this season
The UTEP softball team (13-29, 6-11 Conference USA) defeated Florida Atlantic (18-24, 5-12 C-USA), 9-5 and 8-0 , on Friday evening at Helen of Troy Softball Complex.
UTEP amassed eight runs during the fourth frame in game one and followed with a three-run sixth during the second contest. The Miners, in the process, recorded their first ever run-rule victory over Florida Atlantic.
“Two great wins. I think our hitters did a good job of putting pressure on them, and making them make mistakes. Julia (Wright) did a great job with their hitters this second game. I know Kira (McKechnie) maybe didn’t have her best stuff, but she battled all day, and it was nice for Julia to come in that first game and get the save,” Coach Tobin Echo-Hawks said. “I know that this team is determined, and they know what we need to do in order to make it to the conference tournament. They are really invested, and are putting everything they have into it.”
The Miners also forced seven errors as the Owls committed three during the first contest and four more in the night game.
The day-one sweep secured the first ever series victory against the Owls in program history. The nine runs during game one are also the most UTEP has ever produced against FAU.
Pamala Baber went 3-4 on the day, with three RBIs, two doubles and a .875 on-base percentage. Linda Garcia totaled four hits and three RBIs in the two victories. Pate Cathey also tallied four hits, along with two RBIs. Kacey Duffield has now reached base in 38 games this year, and also recorded her 10th bomb of the season.
Julia Wright recorded a complete-game shutout in game two, and the first save of the season in game one.
The Miners have now leap frogged FAU in the conference standings, and are tied with UTSA, which dropped two to North Texas Friday afternoon. UTEP is tied for seventh in the C-USA standings heading into Sunday’s series finale.
UTEP exploded for eight runs in the fourth inning to defeat FAU in game one of the series, 9-5.
Garcia and Cathey put on a clinic at the plate with three hits each and three RBIs total between the pair of sluggers. Baber also notched two RBIs on the day behind two hits.
McKechnie threw 6.1 innings with six strikeouts in the victory. Wright entered in relief and recorded the first save of the season for the Miners.
The Owls took an early 3-0 lead behind four hits during the second inning.
The Miners would respond when Ariana Valles and Baber both were hit by pitches to lead off the bottom half of the frame. Both runners advanced on a passed ball followed by Garcia knocking in Valles on a single, cutting into the deficit, 3-1.
McKechnie held down the fort for the Miner defense through four innings. She didn’t allow any more runs and gave the UTEP offense a chance to catch up.
The wait was over in the bottom of the fourth. The Miners offense exploded for eight runs in the inning. Florida Atlantic committed three errors and UTEP recorded six hits, including two by Garcia. The Orange and Blue gave itself a comfortable 9-3 advantage.
FAU made things interesting with a two-run homer by Mia Olson to cut the deficit to 9-5 in the top of the fifth.
The Miners would load the bases in the bottom of the sixth, attempting to add run support. However, they could not add any more runs to the board.
In the top of the seventh frame, the Owls loaded the bases with the tying run at the plate and two outs. Wright entered the game with one out to relieve McKechnie, and promptly locked in the two outs necessary to win the game for the Miners. Wright struck out Lauren Whitt and forced a Maya Amm groundout to end the contest. Wright earned her fifth career save, tying for second most on the program’s all-time list.
UTEP smacked eight hits and benefited from four errors by FAU in game two of the doubleheader, chalking up an 8-0  victory.
Wright held it down in the circle, pitching a complete-game shutout over Florida Atlantic.
The Orange and Blue was led by Duffield at the plate. The senior recorded three hits, including her 10th dinger of the year. Cathey, Smith, Baber and Garcia all registered RBIs in the game as well.
The Miners took an early 1-0 edge in the first frame. Flores drew a walk. while Duffield singled to get the offense started. An error by the Owls loaded the bases for the Miners, then Baber forced a walk with bases loaded, scoring Flores.
A sacrifice fly from Cortney Smith scored Flores that tacked on another run to extend the lead to 2-0 in the bottom of the third.
The third frame saw the Miners add two more runs to take a 4-0 lead on an error by the visitors, and an RBI single by Garcia.
Duffield blasted her 10th homer of the season in the bottom of the fifth, allowing UTEP to take a 5-0 lead and seizing complete control of the game over Florida Atlantic.
Wright only saw four batters in the top of the sixth, and set up the Miners to win the game by run-rule in the bottom half of the frame.
The bottom of the sixth was a microcosm of the day for the Owls. UTEP recorded strong hit balls through the defense, and when FAU did have an opportunity to make a play, it failed to seize the moment. The Miners scored three runs in the inning on two hits and two errors. The game winning run scored when the second baseman for the Owls over threw the catcher, securing the victory for the Miners. Ilena Santos scored the first run on a Cathey single, while Lindsey Sokoloski, who reached on a fielder’s choice, slid home on a wild pitch, and Cathey crossed the dish on a throwing error, exciting the Miner faithful.
>> First ever series win over FAU
>> Recorded the most runs scored against the Owls in program history (nine)
>> Duffield recorded her 10th homer of the year, and this is the first time she has reached double-digit homers in her UTEP career
>> Duffield has reached base in 38 of the Miners’ 42 games this season
>> Wright recorded the fifth save of her career (tied second on the all-time list with Kaitlin Fifield), and threw the second complete-game shutout of her career
On deck, UTEP will look for the series sweep tomorrow at noon against FAU.
RUSTON, La. – The UTEP softball team (11-29, 4-11 Conference USA) fell to LA Tech (34-10, 13-2 C-USA), 9-1  and 3-2 , on Sunday afternoon at Lady Techster Softball Complex.
Kira McKechnie threw a career high and the fourth-most innings pitched (9.1) by a UTEP pitcher in Miner history during the second game of the day.
Pate Cathey registered four hits on the day, leading the way for the Miner offense. Kacey Duffield posted her ninth homer of the season, and Kasey Flores posted her 34th RBI.
UTEP fell to LA Tech, 9-1 , in game one of a doubleheader.
Pate Cathey went 2-2 in the game, and registered the 14th RBI of the season. Cortney Smith locked in a double and was the only Miner to cross home plate.
The Lady Techsters jumped all over the Miners to begin the game. They scored three runs in the first and never looked back.
UTEP showed life in the top of the second when Cortney Smith led off with a double. Cathey drove her in with a single to get the Miners within two runs (3-1).
The Orange and Blue couldn’t sustain any more offense however, as LA Tech would score six more runs to win the game in five innings.
The Miners battled LA Tech for 10 innings during the final game of the series, but fell 3-2.
The freshmen duo of Cathey and Flores came through huge for the Miners in the first inning. Cathey led off the game with a single, and then Flores doubled into left center, scoring Cathey for the 1-0 advantage.
On Sunday afternoon, everyone in attendance had to deal with the 15 M.P.H. winds that were howling in from left center, assuring that no balls were going to leave the park. Well, Duffield flexed her muscles and hit a ball straight into wind. The ball sailed over the left centerfield fence, and gave the Miners a 2-0 lead.
McKechnie, after struggling early in the season, produced another solid outing in the circle. For the third consecutive game, the senior carried a no-hit bid past 4.1 innings of work. She surrendered the first hit of the game in the middle of the fourth frame. That runner would eventually score, cutting into the UTEP lead, 2-1.
UTEP maintained the 2-1 lead all the way into the seventh inning. McKechnie struck out the first two batters of the inning. LA Tech was down to its last out when Mary Terral hit a homer over the center field fence, tying the game and forcing extra innings.
Smith knocked a single to begin the eighth frame. Ariana Valles followed up with a base hit, and then a sac-fly by Pamala Baber would advance Smith to third. Bryanna Molina entered the game to pinch hit, and registered a walk, loading the bases for Mallorie Cross. Cross made solid contact, but unfortunately it was directly at the second basemen who flipped it to first for the final out of the inning.
The Miners would get the go-ahead run to second base in the ninth and 10th innings, but could not get any across home plate.
McKechnie held it down in the circle until the 10th. LA Tech would get its lead runner on base, and eventually drove her in for the game-winning RBI single.
On deck, the Miners will return home to play Florida Atlantic (April 19-20).
> McKechnie threw the most innings (9.1) in a single game since April 1, 2018 when Julia Wright threw 9.0 innings against UTSA
>> McKechnie’s 9.1 innings today is the fourth most in a single game in UTEP history
>> It was also a career-high for the senior hurler
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)
The UTEP softball team (11-26) dominated New Mexico (11-28), 7-1, behind a career day from senior Kira McKechnie.
McKechnie asserted her dominance in the circle for the Miners. She registered a career-high 12 strikeouts, and was two outs away from completing a no-hitter. It marked most strikeouts by a UTEP pitcher since former standout Stacie Townsend piled up 18 in 2010.
McKechnie has been on fire in her last four appearances in the circle. She has a 2.43 ERA with 24 strikeouts and a .205 opponent batting average in 23.0 innings of work. She is 2-1 in the stretch.
Ilena Santos also had a career day, producing a career-high four RBIs. Three of those RBIs came on a homer into right center in the sixth frame. Kacey Duffield registered two doubles on the day, as well as an RBI. Duffield has now reached base in 34 of the Miners’ 37 games this season. Ariana Valles also tacked on two hits, and Kasey Flores brought in her team-leading 30th RBI.
The Miners jumped all over the home team in the first frame. Ariel Blair led off with a double down the left-field line, and then was brought in by a double from Duffield. Cortney Smith smacked a single through the left side, advancing Duffield to third and keeping the offensive barrage on. Valles continued the peppering of the Lobo defense with a single of her own, scoring Duffield and sending Smith to third base. Santos got in on the action with an RBI single that gave UTEP a 3-0 lead after one.
McKechnie took note of her offense’s hot start and struck out the side in just 14 pitches. She continued to be in control as the game wore on, reaching a then career-best eight strikeouts through four innings. Not only was she mixing up the batters, but she was also flirting with the no-no.
Flores tallied her 30th RBI of the year with a single in the sixth frame. Valles followed up with a single that put Flores at third base. Santos stepped to the plate and smashed a three-run bomb to give the Miners a 7-0 lead and McKechnie some run support.
Heading into the seventh inning the senior pitcher was working with 12 strikeouts, and the no-hitter was only three outs away. The first batter for the Lobos hit a rocket toward second base. Pate Cathey dove and gloved the ball, flipping it to first base for the out. Unfortunately, the Lobos registered a double on the next at-bat to break up what could have been the eighth no-hitter in UTEP history. UNM managed to tack on a run, but it didn’t take away from McKechnie’s performance.
“It was a great game. I think our offense coming out and scoring three runs in the first really relaxed Kira (McKechnie) a little. Then she just went out and kept doing what she has been doing the last couple of weeks. She has been working hard in the bullpen, working on that changeup. Today it was super effective,” said Coach Tobin Echo-Hawk. “Unfortunately, in that last inning they got a hit but at least it was the heart of their lineup. She did a great job. We hope she can continue to do that for us into the weekend because it is a big weekend for us.”
On Deck, the Miners will travel to Ruston, La., for a conference series versus LA Tech (April 13-14).
>> Kira McKechnie posted a career-high 12 strikeouts
>> Most strikeouts by a UTEP pitcher since 2010
>> Flores recorded her team-leading 30th RBI of the year
TUCSON – The UTEP softball team (10-26, 4-8 Conference USA) fell to the No. 9 ranked Arizona Wildcats (29-7, 9-0 PAC-12), 17-1  and 5-1, at Hillenbrand Stadium on Wednesday afternoon.
Kacey Duffield registered two RBIs and posted her eighth homer this year. Kira McKechnie threw 6.0 innings and struck out five in the second game of the day.
UTEP fell to No. 9 ranked Arizona 17-1  in the first game of the day at Hillenbrand Stadium.
Bryana Munoz threw 2.1 innings in relief for UTEP. She only surrendered one run to the high-powered Arizona offense with two strikeouts.
Duffield, Pate Cathey, Cortney Smith and Mallorie Cross all recorded hits in the game. Duffield pushed through Lindsey Sokoloski for the Miners’ lone run on the Miner scoreboard.
The Wildcats jumped out on the Miners with three quick runs in the bottom of the first inning.
Cortney Smith and Pate Cathey would both record singles in the second frame with no outs. However, UTEP was unable to plate the base runners.
Arizona showed off it’s bats in the bottom of the second, scoring 13 runs to build up quite the lead of 16-0.
The Miners scored their lone run of the game on an RBI single from Kacey Duffield in the top of the third, her 22nd this season. Mallorie Cross set up the scoring opportunity with a single to lead off the inning.
Ultimately, the Miners were unable to decrease the deficit and fell to the nationally ranked Wildcats.
The Miners battled hard, but fell 5-1 in the final game of the doubleheader.
Kira McKechnie had a solid outing in the circle for UTEP. The senior threw 6.0 innings and registered five strikeouts against the electric Arizona offense.
The Miners pounced on the Wildcats in the first frame. Duffield, with two outs hit a rocket over the centerfield fence. This bomb was her eight on the year and gave UTEP its first lead over a ranked opponent since 2016 (Arizona – May 5, 2016).
UTEP maintained the lead after the first frame. McKechnie struck out the final batter of the inning, and gave the Orange and Blue a chance to add to its lead.
Arizona would answer with two runs in the bottom of the second, taking the lead away from the Miners, 2-1.
The Orange and Blue had a strong opportunity to add runs to the board in the top of the third. Pamala Baber and Ariel Blair both singled to start the inning with no outs. Unfortunately, the Miners were unable to advance them any further and still faced the one run deficit.
UTEP kept the game within one run until the fifth inning when Arizona added three to take a 5-1 lead.
The Miners were unable to cut into the lead, but battled valiantly against the No. 9 ranked Wildcats in the final game of the day.
On deck, the Miners will travel to New Mexico to play the Lobos for a single contest on April 9.
>> Duffield has reached base safely in 33 of the Miners’ 36 games this season
>> First time the Miners have avoided the run rule by a ranked opponent since March 6, 2016 versus James Madison
UT El Paso March 30, 2019UTEPComments Off on Miners Split Double Header Versus UAB
BIRMINGHAM, Al – The UTEP softball team (10-23, 4-7 Conference USA) used a four-run third inning to defeat UAB (13-20, 3-8 C-USA), 7-3, in the second game of the day. The Miners fell earlier in the day, 5-1 , to the Blazers at Mary Bowers Field.
UTEP defeated the Blazers in Birmingham for the first time since the 2009 season.
Kira McKechnie pitched a 7.0-inning complete game, stifling the UAB bats for the win. The senior assembled one of her better C-USA starts, walking only two and striking out four.
Cortney Smith hit .500 (4-8) on the day with her 10th homer of the season. Smith’s dinger extended her lead in C-USA as she became the first player in the league with double-digit homers. Kasey Flores recorded two RBIs in game two and four different Miners added two hits to the board.
Julia Wright pitched 8.2 innings in UTEP’s first game of the day. She gave up no earned runs until the final batter of the game, and almost willed her team to victory in the circle.
The Miners defeated UAB, 7-3, for the first time in Birmingham, Ala., since March 29, 2009 behind a gem from Kira McKechnie in the circle. She received help from the offense as it recorded nine hits in the batter’s box, while breaking a 2-2 tie to take a 6-2 advantage after a four-run third inning.
McKechnie pitched a complete game with four strikeouts in the victory over the Blazers. This was McKechnie’s third victory of the season
Kasey Flores produced two RBIs on two sacrifice flies in the game. Linda Garcia, Cathey, Duffield and Smith all recorded two hits for the Miner offense.
UTEP got off to a quick start in the first inning. Ariana Valles walked and then eventually scored on a sacrifice fly by Flores. Duffield recorded a single and would score on an error from the Blazers to give the Miners a 2-0 lead.
UAB would respond with a two-run shot in the second frame.
The Orange and Blue saw a huge third inning to reclaim the lead. Blair and Valles led off the inning by getting on base. Duffield laid down a beautiful bunt that not only advanced the runners, but also put the senior on base with no outs. Flores added another sacrifice fly to her day and brought in Blair. Pate Cathey registered a single to score another run, and then Smith would score as Cathey was caught in a run down. The four runs in the frame gave the Miners some much-needed breathing room to go up 6-2.
The Blazers would add another run in the sixth to cut into the deficit, 6-3.
The Miners were looking for insurance runs heading into the seventh inning. Flores started things off with a walk and then Smith singled down the left-field line. Cathey laid down a masterful bunt to reach first base and load the bases with no outs. Garcia grounded out, but in the process scored Flores. That would be all of the damage for UTEP in the seventh, but an extra run gave the Miners a little room to feel comfortable, up 7-3.
The Miners fell in nine innings, 5-1, in the first game of the weekend.
Cortney Smith hit her 10th homer the season in the seventh inning, which gave her sole possession of fourth all-time (27) in UTEP history and extended the game into extra innings. Ariel Blair recorded her fifth steal of the year and moved into fifth all-time (22) in the Miner history books. Ilena Santos went 2-4 in the contest with a double and a single.
Julia Wright threw a gem for 8.2 innings. She gave up no earned runs until the dramatic ninth inning and recorded three strikeouts. Wright kept the Blazers’ bats in check during a stretch where she sat down 10 of 11 batters starting in the sixth frame through the ninth.
The Blazers recorded their first run of the game on an error in the first inning, and from then on Wright asserted her dominance.
Santos recorded the first hit of the game with a double in the fifth inning, but was unable to move any further.
UTEP’s defense was on point with nine groundouts behind Wright in the circle, and their league-leading 21st double play of the season.
The Miners were facing the 1-0 deficit heading into the seventh frame. Smith needed only one pitch to even the game up. The senior went yard for her 10th of the season. With one swing of the bat she extended her C-USA lead in homers (10) and gave UTEP a fighting chance for a road-conference victory.
The Orange and Blue would record two more hits in the inning to get runners on second and third, but failed to take the lead.
The Miner defense made quick work of the Blazers offense in the seventh and eighth frames with Wright still in the circle.
Smith came back up to the plate to lead off the ninth inning and stayed hot, singling to reach base with no outs. The senior found her way to third base, but UTEP could not push her across.
UAB faced two outs with the bases loaded, and came up big with a homer to end the game in nine.
>> First time the Miners have won at UAB since March 29, 2009
>> Game one was the longest game of the season (Nine innings) for the Miners
>> Blair is now fifth all-time in stolen bases in program history
>> Smith is now fourth all-time in home runs (27) in UTEP history
The UTEP softball team (9-21, 3-6 Conference USA) fell to Southern Miss (17-15, 4-5 C-USA), 13-2  at the Helen of Troy Softball Complex on Sunday afternoon.
Freshman Bryana Munoz, registered the best appearance of her career, throwing 2.2 innings of work with only one earned run and the first strikeout of her career. Kasey Flores went 2-3 and tallied the 27th RBI of the season and is now second in C-USA. Ariel Blair went 2-3 at the plate and scored a run in the effort.
Ariana Valles, Kacey Duffield and Pate Cathey all recorded a knock.
Flores recorded the RBI when she hit a single to left field, scoring Blair in the third inning. The Miners got their first run from the Lindsey Sokoloski when she crossed the dish on an error.
The Golden Eagles posted 12 runs in the first three innings, putting the game out of reach for the Miners.
>> Flores extends her hitting streak to seven games, and has now reached base in 10 consecutive games
>> Munoz recorded the first strikeout of her career
>> Kacey Duffield has now reached base safely in seven consecutive games
>> Blair is on a season-high five game reached base streak
On deck, UTEP softball will travel to UAB for its second conference road series this season (March 30-31).
Gallery by Andres ‘Ace’ Acosta – Chief Photographer – El Paso Herald Post
The UTEP softball team (9-21, 3-5 Conference USA) walked off the Golden Eagles, 7-6 , with a home run by senior Cortney Smith in game two. Earlier in the day, the Miners fell to Southern Miss (16-14, 3-5 C-USA) 11-3 at the Helen of Troy Softball Complex.
Smith had a monster day with two home runs and two RBIs, making her the Conference USA leader in dingers. Kasey Flores posted three RBIs on the day, and Pate Cathey added two of her own, including the first triple of her career.
Julia Wright threw all eight innings to defeat Southern Miss and claim the sixth victory of her season.
“Great fight in that last game. We went ahead, they (Southern Miss) came close, we went ahead, and they tied it up. They had runners on scoring position that could have been the winning run. We just kind of buckled down, and Julia (Wright) did a great job of just fighting through,” Coach Tobin Echo-Hawk said. “I don’t necessarily think she had her best stuff today, but she did enough to make it work. Our hitters just kept battling and doing what they needed to, and of course Cortney Smith in that last walk-off. Its awesome to win a game in a walk off. Hats off to our team because it wasn’t our best day, and we weren’t all feeling great about ourselves, but they just kept fighting and that’s all you can ask.”
The Miners started out on fire with four doubles (Ariana Valles, Duffield, Flores and Pate Cathey) in the first inning to score three runs to go up 3-0.
The Golden Eagles cut into the UTEP lead in the top of the fourth with a run of their own, but the Orange and Blue would respond with a run from Flores to regain the three run advantage, 4-1.
Southern Miss posted a fifth inning rally with two runs, cutting into the Miner lead, 4-3.
UTEP began the bottom of the fifth frame with the first triple of Cathey’s career. Ilena Santos stepped into the batter’s box and promptly smacked a single through the right side to score Cathey and give the Miners a 5-3 lead.
The Golden Eagles would throw another punch, tying the game at 5-5 after two runs in the top of the sixth.
In the bottom half of the inning Smith hit a sac-fly, scoring Valles to reclaim the lead, 6-5.
With the game on the line down by one run, Southern Miss came alive. It scored a run with two runners on base and no outs to tie the contest, 6-6. The Miner defense stepped up big time, converting on a huge double play and then Julia Wright struck out the final batter of the inning swinging.
Lindsey Sokoloski recorded a one-out single, representing the game-winning run for the Miners. She was advanced to second base on a fielder’s choice, but that would be as far as she got. The Miners and Golden Eagles were now forced into extra innings to decide the game.
A clutch double play, the third of the game for the Miners, by Smith to Duffield ended the eighth frame for Southern Miss, as it had the go-ahead run on first base.
The Orange and Blue was down to its final out of the eighth inning when Smith came to the plate. Smith hit the ball down the left field line, and with the will of the home-field crowd and the Miners the ball stayed fair. The home run capped off the win for UTEP and gave Smith sole possession of the home run lead in the conference (nine).
In game one, the Miners fell to the Golden Eagles, 11-3.
Cortney Smith knocked her league high-tying eighth home run in the sixth inning. Kasey Flores posted the 24th RBI in her chase for the league lead in RBIs. Pamala Baber also registered an RBI single in a pinch hit at-bat.
UTEP posted nine hits in the effort, and added more separation in its Conference USA home run lead with 33. The next closest team has 28. The Miners also turned their league-leading 17th double play of the season.
The Golden Eagles utilized a four-run fourth inning to seize control of the game. Southern Miss recorded 10 hits in the win, and the Miners left nine runners on base, including an empty fifth inning where the bases were loaded for UTEP.
>> Smith now leads Conference USA with nine home runs
>> Cathey recorded the first triple of her career
>> Flores has 26 RBIs on the year
On deck, UTEP will battle Southern Miss in the series finale tomorrow at 12 p.m. to see who will win the conference series.
Staff Report March 22, 2019Sports, UTEPComments Off on UTEP Softball Takes on Southern Miss in C-USA Matchup this Weekend
The UTEP softball team (8-20, 2-4 Conference USA) will take on Southern Miss (15-13, 2-4 C-USA) at Helen of Troy Softball Complex on Saturday (1 p.m. & 3:30 p.m. MT) and Sunday (12 p.m. MT)
Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for kids. This weekend fans can bring their dogs to Helen of Troy for the annual Bark at the Park. The marketing department will give out UTEP bandannas to fans in attendance as part of the game day promotion.
The Miners finally made their home debut after spending 20 games on the road to begin the season. They earned a series victory over Charlotte, 2-1, to open up conference play. The Miners followed up the strong home play against NM State, where the Miners dominated the second game scoring 11 runs with three home runs. Last year, UTEP went 15-8 at home and holds a 54-42 record at home since head coach Tobin Echo-Hawk has taken the lead of the program.
It is no secret the Miners like to play at their home stadium of Helen of Troy. The stats tell an interesting story. In 11 away games UTEP is batting .230 with 26 RBIs and only six home runs. At home in El Paso the Miners offense is batting .381 with 36 RBIs and eight homers in 126 less at-bats.
The Orange and Blue pitching staff has also benefited from the home field advantage posting an ERA that is 2.34 less than on the road. The 1-10 record on the road and 3-2 at home combined with the statistics behind the records truly tells a story of two teams.
For the Golden Eagles, Sarah Van Schaik is leading in batting average (.378), hits (31), doubles (11), RBIs (25) and total bases (47). The pitching staff is posting an impressive 1.99 ERA that is pacing Conference USA. The Miners have the edge in power over Southern Miss with 19 more homers.
UTEP’s Kacey Duffield, Kasey Flores and Cortney Smith have combined for 21 home runs, 60 RBI, 79 hits and a .351 batting average for the Orange and Blue. The trio of bats in the Miner lineup have been a problem for opposing pitching staffs.
In the first game of the season versus Creighton (Feb. 8), the three sluggers made their presence known, with Smith and Flores smacking two homers each and Duffield adding another. Smith and Flores are the first pair of teammates to record two home runs in the same game since 2006 when three Miners did it against NM State in 2006 (Amber Bennett, Amber Camancho and Ashley Perez).
Flores ranks third in slugging percentage (.731) and Duffield rates fourth (.708) for Conference USA. The long ball is a major weapon for the Miners as they lead the league in homers (32). Smith, Flores and Duffield each have hit seven home runs.
They rank tied for second most in Conference USA in that department. Middle Tennessee’s Lexi Cushing and Marshall’s Mya Stevenson are tied for the league lead with eight home runs each.
UTEP will travel to UAB to take on the Blazers (March 30-31). The Miners will start a string of nine consecutive away games (at Arizona [DH], at New Mexico, at LA Tech).
For more information about the team day program call the UTEP marketing department at (915) 747-6065.
UT El Paso March 19, 2019Sports, UTEPComments Off on Gallery+Story: UTEP-NMSU Split Battle of I-10 Softball Series
The UTEP softball team (8-20, 2-4) dominated NM State (11-12) in the second game of the double header, 11-3, in five innings. The Miners scored seven runs in fifth inning to down the Aggies in the night cap. UTEP fell to NM State earlier in the day, 12-4 .
“Awesome team win. I think after the first game we were all pretty frustrated. Things did not go our way and we out hit them. We just didn’t really do what we needed to in the circle,” shared Coach Tobin Echo-Hawks.
“Coming back the second game, Kira (McKechnie) stepped up for this team. She did what she did and she went back to being Kira of last year, and one of those dominating pitchers. Our offense did awesome. Kasey Flores was awesome. We had a big pinch hit from Bryanna (Molina) in that last inning. Everybody just did their part it was a great team win and you could feel it. It’s always great to beat the Aggies.”
Kasey Flores went 5-6 at the plate on the day with two homers and four RBIs. Ariana Valles added two solo shots on the day. Kira McKechnie pitched a complete game in the Miners run-rule victory.
The Miners dominated the Aggies in the night cap, 11-3, in five innings. This was the first time the Orange and Blue run ruled NM State at the Helen of Troy Softball Complex since Feb. 25, 2005.
Flores went 3-3 with two home runs and four RBIs. Valles smacked her second homer of the day and third of the year with two RBIs. Kira McKechnie pitched a complete game, only allowing three runs to the Aggies in the run-rule victory.
Flores got UTEP on the board early with a double that scored Ariel Blair. Flores would come around to score after Pate Cathey hit a single through the left side, taking the lead for the Miners 2-1.
NM State took the lead back in the third frame, scoring two runs for the one run lead, 3-2. Flores answered the call, tying the game with her sixth dinger of the season.
Mallorie Cross joined in on the party with an RBI single that scored Ilena Santos, and reclaimed the lead for the Orange and Blue, 4-3.
In the bottom of the fifth, Valles hit a rocket into center field towards the Franklin Mountains, giving the Miners some breathing room with a 5-3 advantage.
The freshman phenom Flores posted the second multi-home run game of her career with a two-run shot over the left field fence. This gave the Miners four runs to work with over the Aggies at 7-3.
NM State would never see the sixth inning however, as UTEP put the finishing touches on the Aggies. The Orange and Blue would score four more runs in the inning, including an RBI single by Bryanna Molina, who pinch hit for Lindsey Sokoloski, and the walk-off sacrifice fly from Duffield plating Sokoloski.
The Miners fell to the Aggies in the first game of the day 12-4 after a five run fourth inning.
Freshman Kasey Flores went 2-3 at the plate, and Cortney Smith recorded the first triple of her year. Senior Julia Wright recorded five strikeouts in her 3.0 innings of work. Kacey Duffield, Ilena Santos and Linda Garcia all tacked on RBIs to their season totals.
Early in the third inning, Ariana Valles blasted her second homer of the season to tie the game at 1-1.
The Aggies would answer with five runs in the fourth frame that ultimately put the game out of reach for the Miners.
> Cortney Smith, Duffield and Flores all have seven homers on the season
>> First win against the Aggies since March 1, 2017, a 5-3 victory in Las Cruces, N.M.
>> First home victory over NM State since March 4, 2014
>> The Miners run ruled the Aggies for the first time at Helen of Troy since the 2005 season and for the first time overall since 2010
On deck, the Miners will take on Southern Miss in their second home conference series of the season (March 23-24) at The Helen of Troy Softball Complex.
Gallery by Andres ‘Ace’ Acosta – Chief Photographer – El Paso Herald Post
UT El Paso March 18, 2019NewsComments Off on UTEP Softball Team Returns Home To Battle NM State
The UTEP softball team (7-19, 2-4) will take on NM State (10-11) in the FirstLight Federal Credit Union Battle of I-10 at Helen of Troy Softball Complex on Tuesday (5 p.m. & 7:30 p.m. MT).
The Miners fell to NM State earlier this season, 12-3, in six innings. Freshman Kasey Flores had two hits and two RBIs, and this game was a part of her outstanding opening weekend that garnered her Conference USA Player of the Week honors.
UTEP leads Conference USA with 28 home run this season. The Miners are averaging 1.1 home runs per game and is on pace to smack 55 dingers this season.
The most home runs hit during the Tobin Echo-Hawk era was 51 in 2016 (third most all-time in program history). The school record is 63 done in 2009, while the Miners connected on 62 in 2012 and 57 long balls in 2006. Nationally, UTEP ranks tied for 33rd in home runs per game.
Home Sweet Home
The Miners finally made their home debut after spending 20 games on the road to begin the season. They earned a series victory over Charlotte, 2-1, to open up conference play. Last year, UTEP went 15-8 at home and holds a 54-42 record at home since head coach Tobin Echo-Hawk has taken the lead of the program.
The Miners already boast two player of the week honorees by Conference USA this season. The first being freshman Kasey Flores who posted an outstanding opening weekend with a .643 batting average, three home runs, nine hits and 10 RBI.
Most recently, senior Kacey Duffield was given the honor after the first weekend of conference play. Duffield hit .643 with nine hits, eight RBI, two home runs and a .706 on-base percentage.
You can count on Kacey Duffield to get on base like you can count on the sun to rise over El Paso. The first baseman has reached base in 24 of UTEP’s 26 games this season. Her stellar batting average of .418 (ranks second in Conference USA) is a good reason why as she has tallied 28 hits on the season.
However, her eye at the plate is the biggest reason why she has been a staple on the base paths. The senior has drawn 17 walks, which ranks second in C-USA. She also boasts the second highest on-base percentage (.536) in the league. Duffield will continue to be seen on bases this season if she can maintain the discipline at the plate.
Cortney Smith and Kacey Duffield each have hit seven home runs. The pair of ranked tied for third in Conference USA in that department. Middle Tennessee’s Lexi Cushing and Marshall’s Mya Stevenson are tied for the league lead with eight home runs each.
The Sun City Bombers
UTEP’s Kacey Duffield, Kasey Flores and Cortney Smith have combined for 19 home runs, 54 RBIs, 73 hits and a .349 batting average for the Orange and Blue. The trio of bats in the Miner lineup have been a problem for opposing pitching staffs.
In the first game of the season versus Creighton (Feb. 8), the three sluggers made their presence known, with Smith and Flores smacking two homers each and Duffield adding another.
Smith and Flores are the first pair of teammates to record two home runs in the same game since 2006 when three Miners did it against NM State in 2006 (Amber Bennett, Amber Camancho and Ashley Perez). Duffield ranks third in slugging percentage (.746) for Conference USA. The long ball is a major weapon for the Miners as the season progresses.
Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for kids. For more information about the team day program call the UTEP marketing department at (915) 747-6065. Live Stream | Live UTEP game stats
UT El Paso March 17, 2019UTEPComments Off on Miners Drop Final Game of North Texas Series
DENTON, Texas – The UTEP softball team (7-19, 2-4 Conference USA) fell to North Texas (16-9, 5-1 C-USA), 3-1, in the final game of the series at Lovelace Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Julia Wright tied a career high with nine strikeouts for the Miners in 6.0 innings pitched.
A Pate Cathey dinger tied up the game at 1-1 in the second inning. That homer was the third of the freshman’s career.
Wright was dominating the strike zone through the first three frames, as the senior posted six strikeouts and zero walks but the Mean Green scored two runs in the sixth inning to get by the Miners.
In the top of the sixth frame, senior Linda Garcia led off with a single and then was pinch ran for by Jordyn Quevedo. Ariana Valles would get on from a walk, and then the Mean Green decided to intentionally walk Kacey Duffield to load the bases with two outs. The decision paid off for North Texas as the Miners failed to bring any runners across the dish.
Wright would eventually tie her career high in strikeouts with her ninth coming in the sixth frame, but North Texas took advantage of late walks and plated two runs in the bottom of the sixth to take a 3-1 lead.
The Miners made things interesting when Kasey Flores singled with one out in the top seventh and Garcia was hit by a pitch with two outs to put the go-ahead run in the batter’s box. But Mean Green pitcher Hope Trautwein used her seventh strikeout to end the contest.
> Julia Wright tied a career high with nine strikeouts
>> Pate Cathey hit the third homer of her freshman season
On deck, the Miners will return home to play a doubleheader versus rival NM State in the FirstLight Federal Credit Union Battle of I-10 on Tuesday (5 p.m. & 7:30 p.m. MT). Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for kids. For more information about the team day program call the UTEP marketing department at (915) 747-6065.