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Saturday , May 26 2018
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Clayton Named to All-C-USA First Team, Valles Tabbed to All-Freshman Team

IRVING, Texas – After the UTEP softball team ended the season on a high note with a sweep of Conference USA power LA Tech, the Miners keep making positive news as Courtney Clayton was named All-C-USA first team, while freshman Ariana Valles earned a spot on the C-USA All-Freshman team as voted by the league coaches and announced by league officials on Tuesday.

For Clayton, it’s her second first team honor as she produced great numbers in her final season. Clayton ranks second in C-USA with a .413 batting average, while leading the Miners in that department. Clayton also paced the squad in hits (71), which ranks third most during a single-season.

Clayton is also the only Miner in program history to produce 70-plus hits during a single season multiple times (79 hits in 2016 is a school record). Clayton was named C-USA Player of the Year and first team in 2016.

Clayton’s .413 batting average also ranks fourth best in program history. Clayton hit .416 in 2016 (third best average in program history). Clayton joins Miner greats Camilla Carrera and Chelsea Troupe as only Miners to produce multiple .400-plus batting average seasons.

The native of Cornelius, Ore., led the Miners in runs (42), doubles (15), triples (four), home runs (eight – career high), RBI (32), slugging (.686) and on-base percentage (.455). Clayton also only struck out five times in 172 at bats, ranking tied for 11th nationally (34.4).

Clayton came up clutch in the final weekend, hitting .700 (7-10) during the sweep of LA Tech, while registering six runs, a home run and three RBI. Clayton’s numbers in C-USA only games were especially high after hitting .449 with four dingers, 17 RBI, 18 runs, eight doubles and a triple in 24 league games.

Valles, a native of El Paso and Chapin High School graduate, started in all 54 games at the shortstop position, while leading the Miners with 104 assists. Her season assists rank tied for seventh during a single season in program history. Valles also recorded 102 putouts.

Offensively, Valles was solid, ranking third on the team with 24 RBI and tied for second on the squad with 10 doubles. Valles tallied two triples, scored 20 runs and hit .255 (38-149).

Valles gave Miner fans a glimpse of the future as she made spectacular defensive plays and being part of 10 double plays turned. Valles turned in a career-high three RBI on a bases-clearing double at WKU (April 8). Her breakout moment came against New Mexico on Feb. 17 when she tripled in two runs in the bottom fifth to clinch an 8-0 run-rule win during a combined no-hit effort. It was Valles’s first career RBI and triple.

Valles recorded her first hit and run scored during a win against Saint Mary’s College on Feb. 10. At UNLV, Valles produced a career high in hits (3-4) with two RBI, a double and a run scored during the 8-7 victory. She added a career-high six assists at UNLV and matched that total against Ole Miss on April 20.

During an April 14 sweep of North Texas, Valles recorded three hits, two RBI and scored four runs, including a career-high three runs in game two against the Mean Green.

Valles is the first Miner to be named all-freshman since 2015 when Clayton earned a spot on the team. She is also the seventh Miner ever to be named all-freshman, joining Amber Bennett (2006), Stacie Townsend (2007), Carrera (2008), Troupe (2009) and Tahla Wade (2012).

UTEP Softball’s Ryder Named C-USA Hitter of the Week

IRVING, Texas – UTEP softball senior Kaitlin Ryder went out with a bang this past week as she was named the Conference USA Hitter of the Week as announced by the league office on Monday.

Ryder’s bat lit up the final five games of her senior season.

The Chatsworth, Calif., native went out in style, hitting an astronomical .625 (10-16) as five of her 10 knocks went for extra bases against Texas Tech and a series sweep of C-USA power LA Tech.

Ryder’s big highlight was drilling a three-run, game-tying home run in the sixth during the series finale against LA Tech. The Miners rallied from 5-0 down to win 6-5. Ryder’s week began with a 2-for-3, two-run effort against the Big 12 school Texas Tech and recording two putouts in leftfield.

Ryder followed with another multi-hit game in game two against the Red Raiders and recording three putouts and an assist from behind the plate.

The bat kept hot for the Lady Techsters as Ryder went a perfect 3-for-3 with a run scored a RBI, two doubles and a triple. In game one, with UTEP down 3-1, Ryder doubled in a run during the sixth that got the Miners within a run. In game two, UTEP was down 4-0 and rallied to win 7-4. Ryder contributed to the rally as she extended UTEP’s lead to 7-4 after a RBI single in the sixth. Ryder registered five RBI against LA Tech, while collecting six hits in the three-game set.

Of the six hits, five were extra-base hits. Ryder also slugged 1.125 during the week with an on-base percentage of .667. Ryder also recorded 17 total putouts with three assists and no errors from the outfield and behind the plate.

Ryder finished her career with 101 RBI, only the ninth Miner to punch their ticket into the 100-RBI club.

Ryder finished the season hitting .348, including a .444 batting average over the last 20 games of the season. Ryder connected on four home runs and ranked second on the team with 26 RBI. She also finished with a career-high 10 doubles and career-best two triples.

Ryder will receive her degree in Criminal Justice on May 12.

The C-USA Hitter of the Week honor is the third overall for UTEP in 2018, as Pamala Baber was named player of the week on Feb. 26 and Kacey Duffield earned the honor on April 16.

It’s the first time in program history that three different Miners were named C-USA Hitter of the Week. Though, in 2010, Camilla Carrera was named hitter of the week once and Stacie Townsend earned hitter of the week twice. Townsend was also named pitcher of the week twice.

Gallery+Story: Miners Complete Sweep of LA Tech on Senior Sunday

The UTEP softball team fought on Saturday and bounced back to win both contests; the Miners did it again on Senior Day as they rallied from a 5-0 deficit to defeat LA Tech, 6-5, on a sunny and clear Sunday afternoon at the Helen of Troy Softball Complex.

UTEP’s trio of seniors, as they did all weekend, came through in the clutch during the series finale. In fact, they recorded the final three outs of the game. Taylor Sargent tallied the first out in right field, Courtney Clayton registered an assist on an out to first base, and Kailin Ryder caught the game-clinching strikeout.

“The team played hard this weekend and there was no quit in them. We just kept fighting,” fifth-year UTEP head coach Tobin Echo-Hawk said.

After Sargent homered for the go-ahead lead in game one, and Courtney Clayton’s two-run shot in game two started a rally, fellow senior Ryder joined the long-ball club by unloading a game-tying two-out, three-run home run on a 2-1 pitch over left during the big five-run fifth inning.

“(Ryder) was clutch and it couldn’t have happened to a better kid,” Echo-Hawk said. “All of the seniors were clutch this weekend going out the way they did. I’m so happy for them because they deserve it.”

Cortney Smith, a 2019 senior, followed with the go-ahead one-run double that plated pinch runner Jordyn Quevedo. The freshman was inserted for Kacey Duffield who had doubled following Ryder’s dinger. Smith finished the day 3-for-3 with a walk and RBI, while posting a .317 batting average to conclude her junior season.

With the victory, the Miners knocked the Lady Techsters to the no. 4 seed, but have been eliminated from postseason action with WKU defeating FIU 1-0 earlier on Sunday morning.

“It’s a great way to finish, we did our job,” Echo-Hawk said. “It’s just a little heartbreaking that we had to rely on someone else.”

UTEP recorded 12 hits, led by Clayton’s 3-for-4, two-run outing. The Cornelius, Ore., native also became the program’s all-time leader with 75 multi-hit games and will finished her UTEP career with 251 hits, second only behind Miner great Camilla Carrera (260). The 2016 C-USA Player of the Year will also finish third on the program’s all-time batting list with a .365 career average. Clayton’s 143 career runs ranks fifth all-time.

Clayton led the Miners in hitting (.413), home runs (eight – career high), runs (42), doubles (15), triples (four) and RBI (32). Her 71 hits will rank third most during a single season in program history, while her batting average is fourth best all-time. Her 42 runs rank tied for sixth most during a single season.

Ryder finished 2-for-4 with three-RBI and a run. With her trio of RBI, Ryder is the ninth Miner to hit the 100-RBI club as she finishes with 101 and is tied for eighth on the all-time home run’s list with 18 career bombs.

Ryder finished the season hitting .348, including a .444 batting average the last 20 games of the season. Ryder connected on four home runs and ranked second on the team with 26 RBI. The Chatsworth, Calif., native finished with a career-high 10 doubles and career-best two triples.

Sargent will finish her UTEP career tied for no. 1 with 41 double plays turned, while her .983 career fielding percentage will rank fifth on the all-time list.

Sargent finished the season hitting .278 with two dingers and 18 RBI. The Albuquerque, N.M., native scored 22 runs and recorded 116 putouts and 10 assists.

Clayton’s, Ryder’s and Sargent’s teammates also contributed on Senior Day as freshman Ariana Valles drove in the first run during the sixth. Valles led the team with 104 assists as a freshman, starting all 54 games. Duffield went 2-for-3 with a RBI during the fifth that started the scoring rally. Duffield finishes her first season as Miner with a .290 average, five home runs and 22 RBI, while leading the squad with 230 putouts.

Kira McKechnie made the start, while Julia Wright came into relief to register the win. Both McKechnie and Wright will be seniors next season. Wright won her seventh game in her first season as a Miner after transferring from Ranger College. Wright threw 2.0 solid frames and struck out the last batter looking with two runners on the seventh.

McKechnie led the staff in wins (nine) and threw 5.0 innings on Sunday, allowing four hits and tallying four K’s. Both finished with 134.1 innings, while Wright registered four saves, tying the program’s single-season mark.

Pamala Baber went 1-for-1 and drew a walk to lead off the. Baber doubled with one out in the sixth. Valles drove Baber home for the first run of the inning. Baber finished her sophomore campaign with a .326 batting average, a dramatic improvement from last season’s .211 average.

Photo gallery by Andres ‘Ace’ Acosta, Chief Photographer, El Paso Herald-Post

Miners Keep Postseason Hopes Alive with Saturday Sweep of LA Tech

The UTEP softball team has done its part up to this point in keeping its postseason bid alive. The Miners (20-33, 9-14 Conference USA) rallied twice to defeat the Lady Techsters (33-20, 15-8 C-USA) on a festive Cinco de Mayo at the Helen of Troy Softball Complex.

“(The Miners) were fighters today. They just came, no matter what happened, kept plugging away and didn’t get down on themselves and kept going,” fifth-year UTEP head coach Tobin Echo-Hawk said. “It’s like I told them, they just have to keep fighting and they did a great job of that.”

UTEP defeated LA Tech, 5-3, in game one behind Taylor Sargent’s go-ahead three-run home run in the sixth and followed with a 7-4 triumph in game two behind a four-run fifth highlighted by a Cortney Smith go-ahead RBI single. The Miners also received help from Charlotte, as it swept Southern Miss on Saturday. FIU and WKU series was postponed today and will play a pair of games on Sunday. If UTEP defeats LA Tech on Sunday and FIU sweeps WKU, the Miners will advance to the C-USA Softball Championship in Charlotte, N.C., next week as the no. 8 seed.

“The WKU-FIU series is out of our hands and we need to take care of business on Sunday,” Echo-Hawk said. “We can’t focus on anyone else but ourselves and make sure we show up tomorrow. LA Tech also needs a win and are playing for the number one overall seed in the tournament. Again, we need to show up, fight and worry about ourselves in this situation.”

Sunday’s ‘Senior Day’ contest is set for a noon start. The FIU-WKU two-game set will start at 10 a.m. MT/11 CT in Bowling Green, Ky. UTEP’s trio of seniors will be celebrated following the final out.

The UTEP seniors were the difference in today’s contests. Sargent hit a go-ahead home run in the sixth with UTEP down 3-2 in game one, and Courtney Clayton connected on a two-run home run in the third inning that started a game two rally in which the Miners outscored LA Tech 7-0 after being down 4-0 after two frames. Kailin Ryder went 3-for-3 and tallied a RBI in game one that got UTEP within a run (3-2) prior to Sargent’s first home run since Feb. 10 against Saint Mary’s College in Tempe. Ariz.

“It’s just nice to see what the three seniors did today. They deserve it so much, they work hard and they’re such great people,” Echo-Hawk said. “I think this is the epitome of the end of their careers and I wouldn’t want them to go out any other way. They were big and clutch in certain situations.”

The trio of seniors came up clutch and combined for 10 hits, two home runs, two doubles, a triple and seven runs scored during the Saturday sweep. Clayton registered two more multi-hit games on Saturday, giving her 74 in her career and tying with Camilla Carrera for no. 1 on the program’s all-time list.

UTEP 5, LA Tech 3
The Miners found themselves down 3-1 after pinch runner Kailey Anderson scored a run on a wild pitch in the fifth inning. LA Tech, with only one out, looked to extend its lead in the fifth with bases loaded, but relief pitcher Devyn Cretz, who entered the circle with bases loaded, recorded two huge outs to get her squad out of the jam.

In the bottom sixth, Clayton singled to center field and advanced to second base on an error. Ryder then connected on a full-count pitch and doubled in Clayton. Kacey Duffield followed with a single to put runners at the corners for Sargent, who got a hold of a 1-0 toss from Presslee Gallaway (17-7) and sent it over left field, giving the Miners the go-ahead 5-3 lead.

Starting hurler Kira McKechnie allowed only two hits in 4.1 innings of work. Cretz (3-4) earned the win in 2.2 frames of work, while allowing zero hits, no runs and tallying two K’s. She won her first game since Feb. 17 at UNLV. Cretz didn’t allow a baserunner in the seventh, retiring the Lady Techsters in order to clinch the win.

“Devyn did a great job coming in relief, especially with bases loaded,” Echo-Hawk said.

One of the defining plays of the contest came during the fourth inning when LA Tech loaded the bases with two outs. Katie Smith had a chance to blow the game open but sent a 0-1 pitch to left center that looked like it might fall and clear the bases. But center fielder Ariel Blair, who possesses speed and has made spectacular plays in games prior, raced to her left and made a diving catch to record the third out and save three runs from being scored.

UTEP recorded nine knocks in game one as Duffield finished 2-for-3, while Blair singled in the first and scored the first run for the Miners on a Clayton RBI single.

Ryder finished 3-for-3 with a run and RBI, while Clayton went 2-for-3 with a run and RBI.

UTEP 7, LA Tech 4
It took some time for starting pitcher Julia Wright to settle down as LA Tech scored two quick runs in the first inning and another pair of runs during the second to take a 4-0 lead.

But Wright settled down, tossing a complete game and picking up the victory, her sixth of the season. Wright allowed eight hits, four runs (two earned) and struck out four in the process.

“Julia didn’t start the best, but she came back and did a fantastic job for us,” Echo-Hawk said. “We played great defense – in both contests – and got timely hits.”

With Wright in her rhythm, Clayton got the scoring spree started when she drilled a 2-0 pitch over left field that made the scored 4-2 after three frames.

Starting short stop Ariana Valles helped Wright’s cause as she turned a double play in the fourth to end the top half. It was UTEP’s league-leading 22nd double play turned this season.

The Miners then took the go-ahead lead during a four-run fifth inning. Pamala Baber drew a full-count, leadoff walk. Blair then registered her second bunt single of the day to put two runners on. Valles then used a sacrifice bunt to advance the runners, but an error by the second baseman on a throw to third plated Baber to get UTEP within a run at 4-3, while Blair advanced to third.

The crazy inning continued when LA Tech head coach Mark Montgomery instructed starting pitcher Krystal De La Cruz (4-9) to intentionally walk Clayton and Ryder in back-to-back at bats to load the bases.

The Miners made them pay.

Duffield singled in Blair to tie the game at 4-4. Smith followed with a single of her own that plated Clayton and the go-ahead 5-4 lead. Sargent drove Ryder home on a single, giving her squad a 6-4 lead.

Ryder extended the lead to 7-4 in the sixth when she singled in Clayton with two outs.

UTEP was credited with 11 hits, as Duffield went 3-for-4 with a RBI and Clayton finished 2-for-3 with three runs scored to tie her career high. Smith finished 2-for-3 and Blair went 2-for-4 with a run scored.

UTEP to Host C-USA Leader LA Tech in Final Regular-Season Series

UTEP seniors Courtney Clayton, Kaitlin Ryder and Taylor Sargent will play their final home series as the Miners will host LA Tech to close out the regular season in a three-game set May 5-6.

The Miners (18-33, 7-14 C-USA) and Lady Techsters (33-18, 15-6 C-USA) will play a doubleheader on Saturday starting at 2 p.m., while Sunday’s ‘Senior Day’ contest will begin at noon at the Helen of Troy Softball Complex.

The senior ceremony will commence following the final out on Sunday.

The Miners are looking to advance to the C-USA Softball Championship in Charlotte, N.C., May 9-12, but will need some help to get there. UTEP needs to sweep LA Tech, while WKU (9-12) needs to lose all three contests at home against FIU and Southern Miss (8-13) can only win one game at Charlotte. With that scenario, UTEP will clinch the no. 8 seed in the postseason tournament.

The Miners and Lady Techsters field two of the best hitters in C-USA as junior Morgan Turkoly leads the league in hitting with a .403 average (58-144), while Clayton ranks no. 2 with a .395 batting average (64-162). LA Tech possess a lot of speed as it leads C-USA with 120 stolen bags, while ranking fifth nationally with 2.30 stolen bases per contest.

Clayton, Ryder and Sargent combined for 10 hits (.476 avg.) against Texas Tech on May 3. Clayton started her 207th consecutive contest, ranking second most in school history, while Ryder and Sargent each played in their 195th career game, ranking tied for eighth on the program’s all-time games’ list.

Cortney Smith’s bat lit up on Thursday, as the junior tied her career high with three RBI on a three-run home run against Texas Tech in game one, while also tying her career high with three hits in game two.

While the Miners are hoping for a postseason bid, the Lady Techsters have clinched a spot and are looking to keep the no. 1 overall seed. FIU and Florida Atlantic are both 12-7 in C-USA action.

ALL-TIME SERIES VS. LA TECH
The Miners are 9-10 all-time against the Lady Techsters. UTEP fell in a trio of contests last season at LA Tech. Taylor Sargent hit .375 with a double, triple and two RBI in series in Ruston. The Miners completed a sweep of LA Tech in 2016 at the Helen of Troy Softball Complex.

Cortney Smith hit .600 (3-5) with three runs scored, while Courtney Clayton racked up five RBI with four runs and a double on a 6-for-12 series. Kaitlin Ryder hit .455 (5-11) with two runs and four RBI. Taylor Sargent hit .364 (3-11) with three runs, a double and two RBI during the series sweep of the Lady Techsters.

SCOUTING LA TECH
The Lady Techsters are currently on a four-game winning streak after defeating Utah State 2-0 on April 29 to move 33-18 overall. LA Tech, in its last league series won two of three against UAB in Ruston April 21-22 to improve to 15-6 in Conference USA play, which has it ranked a top the C-USA standings.

Junior Preslee Gallaway pitched 6.2 innings against Utah State allowing only four base runners and tossing for eight strike outs. The Lady Techsters are hitting .278 (356-1279) and 24 home runs who has them ranked in third place offensively in conference. Offensive team leader is junior Morgan Turkoly with a .403 (58-144) batting average, ranking first in the league and four home runs. Turkoly extended her streak of consecutive games reach base to 37 contests, the longest in C-USA this season.

In the circle, the Lady Techsters record an ERA of 2.73 placing fourth in Conference action. Team leader in the circle is junior Preslee Gallaway with a 2.18 ERA, 148.0 innings pitched, 132 strike outs, and a 17-6 record in 34 appearances. Gallaway’s numbers rank in the top of C-USA.

IRON WOMAN
Courtney Clayton will make her 208th start in game one on Saturday. The seniors’ consecutive starts rank second behind Stacie Townsend’s 217 consecutive starts from 2007-2010. Camilla Carrera started the most overall games during her career, 219 from 2008-2012 (missed most of 2011 due to injury).

OVERALL GAMES STARTED & PLAYED
As far as most games started, Courtney Clayton’s 207 games started is ranked fourth on the all-time most games started list. Ashley Ellis (2007-10) ranks third with 211 starts, while Stacie Townsend (217 starts) and Camilla Carrera (219) rank as the top two. In overall games played, Carrera leads with 227 games, while Townsend ranks second with 217 games played. Ellis (213) ranks third and Clayton is tied with Bennett with 205.

CLAYTON’S 2018 HITS
Courtney Clayton has 64 hits to this point of the season. Her senior season total currently ranks fifth on the program’s all-time single-season list. Clayton holds the school record with 79 knocks during her Conference USA Player of the Year 2016 campaign.

DIGGING UP RECORDS
After research in the 2018 Conference USA Record Book, it was found that Courtney Clayton’s 43 hits in C-USA only games during 2016 is the current single-season record in conference history. Clayton broke Audrey Rendon’s 11-year old record of 41 hits in 2005 while at Louisville.

DIGGING OUT TRIPLES
UTEP ranks second in C-USA with 11 triples after Courtney Clayton tripled against Ole Miss on April 20. The season total is also ranked third in school history for most triples during a single season. The 2005 and 2015 Miners recorded 12 triples during their respective campaigns.

CC’ING TRIPLE
Courtney Clayton is tied for the Conference USA lead with a career-high four triples after digging one out against Ole Miss on April 20. With that, she now has six triples during her career, ranking tied for second on the program’s all-time triple’s list with Sarah Ramirez and teammate Taylor Sargent. Tahla Wade leads the all-time list with nine. Clayton registered a pair of triples in 2016.

CLAYTON MOVING UP THE RBI LIST
Courtney Clayton recorded a RBI against Ole Miss on April 20 and another at Middle Tennessee, giving the senior 115 during her career and ranking fourth in the program’s all-time RBI list behind Stacie Townsend (124).

CC’S SUCCESSFUL CAREER
Courtney Clayton is ranked in the top five in multiple offensive categories. Clayton leads the all-time at bat’s list with 678 in her career. Clayton’s .360 career batting average is currently ranked third, while her runs (137) rank fifth behind Stacie Townsend (145). Clayton has totaled 244 hits, ranking second in program history (Camilla Carrera – 260 hits).

Clayton ranks second with 53 career doubles (Carrera – 57). Clayton’s 25 home runs rank tied for fourth with Simone Holland. Clayton ranks third in total bases (384), first in most sacrifice flies (eight) and first in most times reached base on error (32).

CC’S DEFENSE
Courtney Clayton ranks no. 1 in program history with 382 career assists. Clayton ranks ninth with 395 career putouts and sixth with 815 career chances.

COURT’S IN SESSION
Courtney Clayton has put up big numbers during her senior campaign. Clayton ranks second in Conference USA and leads the Miners in hitting (.395). Clayton also paces UTEP in slugging (.667), on-base percentage (.438), runs scored (36), hits (64), RBI (29), doubles (15), triples (four), home runs (seven) and total bases (108). In C-USA only games, Clayton is ranked seventh with a .412 average in 21 league games, while her 28 hits are tied for third.

RYDING HIGH
Kaitlin Ryder entered UTEP’s March 30 contest against UTSA with a .286 batting average after falling into a short slump. Since that game, Ryder is hitting .407 (22-54) with a home run, 11 runs, eight RBI, three doubles, a triple and three walks during the last 15 games (March 30-April 29). Ryder is upped her average to .329, ranking second on the team and in the top 25 in Conference USA. Ryder has also tallied 21 RBI, 26 runs, three home runs and 68 total bases.

RYDER’S CAREER NUMBERS
Kaitlin Ryder went a combined 4-for-7 against Texas Tech on May 3, adding four more hits to her career total. Ryder now has 177 career hits, moving to sixth on the program’s all-time list behind Amber Bennett (187). Ryder ranks tied for seventh with four career triples, tied for ninth with 17 career home runs and ranked ninth with 96 career RBI after posting a RBI against the Red Raiders.

RYDER’S SCHOOL RECORD
Kaitlin Ryder is the program leader with 19 career sacrifice hits after registering a trio sacrifice hits – the first at NM State on March 27 and two more against North Texas during the April 14 doubleheader. Ryder has four sac-hits to her credit in 2018 and entered the season with 15 sac-hits, ranking second.

RYDER’S RUNS
Kaitlin Ryder scored a career-high four runs against UAB on March 18 during UTEP’s 16-13 victory. Ryder joins five other Miners and is tied for second most runs scored during a single game in program history. The last Miner to do so was Ryder’s teammate Pamala Baber who crossed the dish four times last season at New Mexico.

Chelsea Troupe scored four runs in two separate games in 2012 and Kelly Lombard did so twice in 2007. Simone Holland and Amber Bennett each scored four runs in single game during the 2007 season. Kayla Oranger holds to school record with five runs scored at Brown on March 3, 2012.

DRILL SARGENT
Taylor Sargent got off to a slow start as she entered the March 13 at Florida Atlantic hitting .218. Since then, Sargent is hitting .333 (21-63) with 15 runs six RBI, three doubles and two triples (23 games [March 13-May 3]). In 19 C-USA games played, Sargent is hitting .279 (12-43) with 11 runs, two doubles, a triple and three RBI.

$ARGENT IS ON THE MONEY
Taylor Sargent has made multiple ‘money’ plays the last few games, while boasting a .992 overall fielding percentage, playing the majority of the season in right field. Sargent’s throw to home from right to tag a runner out won game two against North Texas on April 14. Sargent followed with another assist from right to tag out a runner at home, this time against New Mexico on April 16. Of Sargent’s 10 assists, four of them have come from the outfield. The first came at FAU on March 13, while she posted another against Ole Miss on April 21.

SARGENT’S CAREER SUCCESS
Taylor Sargent has moved into the top 10 in multiple categories during her career. The senior ranks ninth with 551 career at bats, tied for second with six triples, tied for seventh with 11 sacrifice hits, tied for eighth by reaching base on error 19 times, ranks third with a .984 career fielding percentage, ranks fifth with 819 chances and fifth with 762 putouts. Sargent ranks tied for first with Simone Holland with 41 career double plays turned. Sargent has been part of six in 2018.

UTEP Falls to Texas Tech During Thursday Doubleheader

Texas Tech scored four runs during the top seventh to rally past UTEP, 8-5, in game one. The Red Raiders (28-24) followed with a 10-3 victory over the Miners (18-33) in game two on Thursday afternoon at the Helen of Troy Softball Complex.

Senior Courtney Clayton, who made her 207th consecutive start in game two, added to her career total, going 2-for-3 with a double and run scored in game one, while adding another double and run in game two. Clayton now has 244 career hits and 53 career doubles. Clayton needs four doubles to tie Camilla Carrera for no. 1 all-time. Clayton also added her 72nd career multi-hit game and has scored 137 career runs.

Junior Cortney Smith went a combined 4-for-7, including a three-run home run in game one, while tying her career high in hits with a 3-for-4 outing during game two. Smith upped her season average to .300 with her fifth dinger of the campaign.

Senior Kaitlin Ryder went a combined 4-for-7 with two runs and a RBI. Ryder now has 177 career hits and moved to sixth on the program’s all-time hits’ list. Ryder also has 96 career RBI and is looking to become the ninth Miner to hit 100 or RBI during a career. Ryder has played in 195 career games, ranking tied for eighth on the school’s all-time list.

Senior Taylor Sargent finished a combined 3-for-7 with a pair of RBI. Sargent started her 182nd game, ranking 10th on the program’s all-time list, while playing in her 195th contest, ranking tied for eighth on the program’s all-time list.

UTEP totaled 18 hits on the day, including 10 knocks in game two.

UTEP 5 – TEXAS TECH 8
In a back-and-forth contest, UTEP took a 5-4 lead when Ariana Valles, who had singled to reach, scored on an error in the fifth inning. The Miners took that 5-4 lead into the seventh, but the Red Raiders rallied to score four runs as Jessica Hartwell hit a leadoff solo shot to tie the contest and Breanna Russell connected on a two-run home run later in the top half.

The Miners took a 4-2 lead in the fourth after Smith lifted a 2-1 pitch and sent over right center. Texas Tech tied the contest in the top fifth.

Kira McKechnie made the start in the circle and struck out five batters in 6.0 frames of work. Julia Wright pitched an inning and recorded a K.

The Miners tallied eight hits as each of the three seniors – Ryder, Sargent and Clayton – went 2-for-3. Ryder scored a pair of runs during the second and fourth innings. Sargent tallied an RBI during the second inning that plated Ryder.

UTEP 3 –  TEXAS TECH 10
After Taylor Satchell hit a solo home run in the top third, the Miners answered and tied the game after Ryder singled in Clayton in the home half. Clayton, who hit in the leadoff spot in game two, had doubled to reach base.

But the Red Raiders put three runs on the board during the fifth on a Hartwell three-run home run to take a 4-1 lead and then added four more runs in the sixth to pull away from UTEP to take an 8-1 advantage.

With the score 10-1, UTEP scored a pair of runs in the seventh on a Mariah Ellis RBI single and a Sargent RBI after reaching on a fielder’s choice.

UTEP turned its Conference USA-best 21st double play of the season in the fourth inning.

UP NEXT
UTEP will host C-USA overall leader LA Tech (33-18, 15-6 C-USA) on May 5-6 during Senior Weekend. Saturday’s doubleheader will start at 2 p.m., while Sunday’s ‘Senior Day’ contest is set for a noon start. The senior ceremony will commence following the final out.

Doubleheader: UTEP to Host Texas Tech on Thursday

The UTEP softball team will host Big 12 program Texas Tech on May 3 in a doubleheader starting at noon at the Helen of Troy Softball Complex.

Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for children. The giveaway for Thursday’s games will be foam bats for the first 150 fans.

The Miners (18-31) and Red Raiders (26-24) will player their final non-conference contests of the season. UTEP will then host Conference USA foe LA Tech May 5-6, while Texas Tech will begin preparations for the 2018 Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship.

UTEP is coming off a series loss at Middle Tennessee April 28-29, while Texas Tech is coming off a non-conference victory against Abilene Christian (10-2 [5]) on Tuesday night and sweep of Big 12 opponent Kansas April 27-29. Texas Tech is making its first trip to El Paso since the 2015 season when the Miners swept the two-game series.

The Miners’ trio of seniors Courtney Clayton, Taylor Sargent and Kaitlin Ryder will have a chance to play more regular season games before ‘Senior Weekend’ against LA Tech.

Following its contests versus Texas Tech, UTEP will prepare for LA Tech. The Miners are still bidding for the no. 8 seed in the C-USA Softball Championship in Charlotte, N.C. May 9-12.

In order for UTEP to advance to postseason play, this scenario needs to happen – UTEP needs to sweep LA Tech, WKU needs to be swept at home versus FIU and Southern Miss can only win one game at Charlotte.

ALL-TIME VS. TEXAS TECH
UTEP is 5-7 all-time against Texas Tech after losing a pair of contests in Lubbock last season. Cortney Smith hit a home run in game two, while posting a pair of RBI and Kaitlin Ryder registered a pair of RBI. The Miners recorded 10 hits during the contest. The Red Raiders last made the trip to El Paso in 2015 as the Miners swept the two-game series. UTEP won game one, 5-3, and game two, 9-7, on March 11, 2015. Courtney Clayton went a combined 2-for-6 with two runs scored in the series. Kaitlin Ryder registered a pinch-hit single during the sixth in game two.

SCOUTING TEXAS TECH
The Red Raiders run-ruled Abilene Christian, 10-2 [5], on May 1 to improve to 26-24 overall. Texas Tech also completed a sweep of Kansas after a 1-0 victory on April 29 to move to 5-13 in Big 12 action. Kelcy Leach went 1-for-2 with three RBI, which included a three-run home run during the first inning. Against Kansas in the series finale, sophomore Kassidy Scott pitched a complete game, allowing just two hits and four total baserunners on the day.

The Red Raiders outhit Kansas 32-13 during the series and played error-free ball for all three games.

The team ranks fourth in the Big 12 Conference with a batting average of .289 and 41 home runs, being the third best mark in the league. Leading the team offensively is junior Jessica Hartwell with a .386 (54-140) average and ranking ninth in the conference, while her 16 home runs are the second-best number in the league. Hartwell also leads the team with 48 RBI. The Red Raiders have stolen 60 bases led by Karli Hamilton’s 14 and Hartwell’s 13 stolen bags.

Hamilton has also chipped in with seven dingers and 46 RBI. In the circle, the Red Raiders record an ERA of 3.79. Team leader in the circle is freshman Erin Edmoundson with a 3.09 ERA, 151.2 innings pitched, 5.26 strikeouts per game, and a 14-10 record; alongside Edmoundson is Scott with a 3.95 ERA, and 133.0 innings pitched including the shutout victory on Sunday against Kansas.

IRON WOMAN
Courtney Clayton will make her 206th start on Thursday. The seniors’ consecutive starts rank second behind Stacie Townsend’s 217 consecutive starts from 2007-2010. Camilla Carrera started the most overall games during her career, 219 from 2008-2012 (missed most of 2011 due to injury).

OVERALL GAMES STARTED & PLAYED
As far as most games started, Courtney Clayton is ranked tied with Amber Bennett (2006-09) for fourth on the all-time most games started list. Ashley Ellis (2007-10) ranks third with 211 starts, while Stacie Townsend (217 starts) and Camilla Carrera (219) rank as the top two. In overall games played, Carrera leads with 227 games, while Townsend ranks second with 217 games played. Ashley Ellis (213) ranks third and Clayton is tied with Bennett with 205.

CLAYTON’S 2018 HITS
Courtney Clayton has 61 hits to this point of the season. Her senior season total currently ranks eighth on the program’s all-time single-season list. Clayton holds the school record with 79 knocks during her Conference USA Player of the Year 2016 campaign.

UTEP Falls at Middle Tennessee

MURFREESBORO, Tn. –The UTEP softball team lost its series finale at Middle Tennessee, 5-2, on Sunday at Blue Raider Softball Field.

The Miners fall to 7-14 in Conference USA play, while the Blue Raiders improve to 11-9 in league play and setting themselves up with a potential trip to the C-USA Softball Championship in Charlotte. UTEP will host LA Tech on May 5-6 to close out the regular season and will look to make run at postseason play.

UTEP received RBI’s from Courtney Clayton during the third inning and Linda Garcia in the seventh, but Middle Tennessee took an early 3-0 lead in the first inning off a Morgan Harris three-run home run.

The Miners started a rally in the seventh when Taylor Sargent led off with a standup double to deep right center and starting pitcher Kira McKechnie followed with a single to shallow left center. Garcia plated Sargent on a sac-fly hit to center. The Miners eventually got two runners on bases with a game-tying run at the plate, but MT starting hurler Cori Jennings (18-8) forced groundout to end the contest.

UTEP recorded six hits as Garcia and Ariel Blair each singled in the third inning, Cortney Smith singled in the fourth inning and Kaitlin Ryder doubled in the sixth.

McKechnie threw a complete-game effort, while allowing five hits and tallying two K’s.

UTEP Falls at Middle Tennessee

MURFREESBORO, Tn. – The UTEP softball team fell in a pair of contests at Middle Tennessee. The Blue Raiders (33-18, 10-9 Conference USA) defeated the Miners (18-30, 7-13 C-USA) 7-0 and 7-2 on a windy Saturday afternoon at Blue Raider Softball Field.

Courtney Clayton registered a hit in each game, the first was a single in game one during the sixth inning that broke up a no-hitter, while her second knock came during the third inning in game two. Clayton now has 241 career hits. Clayton is also set to start her 205th consecutive game on Sunday against Middle Tennessee.

The Miners took a 2-0 lead during game two in the second inning. Kacey Duffield drew a walk to lead off the second frame. Pamala Baber followed with a single on a high pop fly that fell between two MT defenders and rolled into the dugout that was ruled a dead ball.

With that, the runners advanced to second and third. Ariana Valles put UTEP ahead 1-0 on a groundout that plated Duffield. Cortney Smith put her squad up 2-0 on a sacrifice fly hit to center that scored Baber, who had advanced to third on Valles’s groundout.

But the Blue Raiders would score seven unanswered runs, putting up three in the fourth, and two each during the fifth and sixth innings. Lexi Cushing hit a two-run home run in the fifth that gave MT a 5-2 lead.

UTEP tallied four hits in game two, as Valles singled in the seventh and Lindsey Sokoloski singled in the third.

Kira McKechnie (9-9) started game one, tallying four K’s in 5.0 innings, while Julia Wright (5-16) got the nod in game two, tossing 4.0 frames.

The series finale is Sunday during Middle Tennessee’s Senior Day. First pitch is set for a noon CT/11 a.m. MT start.

C-USA SOFTBALL UPDATE
North Texas (9-10) split its two-game set at Southern Miss (8-12), while UTSA (7-13) split its two games at UAB (12-7-1). WKU (9-10) fell in game one at Florida Atlantic (11-7). Charlotte (6-14) fell in game one at FIU (12-7).

As of Saturday night, LA Tech (15-6), who has its bye weekend in conference action, is standing in first place overall in C-USA, while FIU with its sweep leads C-USA East Division. FAU is in second place in the East, while UAB is second place in the West.

Marshall (11-9-1), with its bye weekend from league play, stands in third in the East while North Texas is in third in the West. MT, with its Saturday sweep, stands in fourth in the East (seventh overall) and WKU stands in eighth overall. USM moves ahead of UTEP, while UTEP and UTSA each own the same league mark. Charlotte is in last place overall.

UTEP Softball to Play Crucial Series at Middle Tennessee April 28-29

The UTEP softball team, winners of its last three Conference USA games, will play an important three-game series at Middle Tennessee April 28-29.

The Miners (18-28, 7-11 C-USA West) and Blue Raiders (31-18, 8-9 C-USA East) will open the weekend series on Saturday in a doubleheader starting 2 p.m. CT/1 MT. Sunday’s series finale is set for a noon CT/11 a.m. MT start.

UTEP and Middle Tennessee boast the league’s top offenses as are both vying for a spot in the C-USA Softball Championship May 9-12. The top three teams from each division will advance to the postseason tournament in Charlotte, N.C., while the next two teams with the best record/winning percentage will round out the tournament.

The Miners, after a series sweep against North Texas April 14-15 and winning six of their last nine league games, are sitting in ninth place with Southern Miss (7-11). WKU (9-9) and Middle Tennessee (8-9) are currently placed in the seven and eight spots, respectively.

MT ranks no. 1 in hitting (.301), while UTEP ranks no. 2 with a .286 batting average. The Miners and Blue Raiders’ offenses, overall in C-USA, each rank in the top five in 11 of 21 total offensive categories. UTEP and MT are two of four league schools hitting over .280 on the season.

UTEP, during a bye weekend in league play, is coming off a pair of non-conference losses to SEC school Ole Miss April 20-21, but had won its last four contests, including a 7-0 win against New Mexico April 16.

The Miners are led by All-C-USA hopeful Courtney Clayton, who ranks second in C-USA behind LA Tech’s Morgan Turkoly with a .410 batting average. Clayton’s 59 hits rank fourth in C-USA, while it surpassed her 50 hits from last season. Clayton ranks second in total bases (101), ranks third in doubles (13) and ranks second in triples (four).

UTEP is making its second ever trip to Murfreesboro, Tenn., while it marks the final regular-season road trip of 2018. The Orange and Blue will close the regular season with five home consecutive home games, as a doubleheader against Texas Tech was recently added to the schedule on May 3. The Miners will host LA Tech during Senior Weekend May 5-6.

C-USA SOFTBALL QUICK RUNDOWN

LA Tech (15-6 Conference USA West) and FIU (10-7 C-USA East) lead its respective divisions. UAB (11-6-1) sits in third overall and second in the West, while Florida Atlantic (10-7) is fourth overall and Marshall (11-9-1) is fifth overall. North Texas (8-9) is in sixth. The next two teams are WKU (9-9) and Middle Tennessee (8-9), which sits at seven and eight, respectively.

UTEP (7-11), Southern Miss (7-11), UTSA (6-12) and Charlotte (6-12) are on the outside looking in. FAU, FIU, UNT and MT have each played one less league game to this point of the season after cancellations during the weekend of April 21-22.

ALL-TIME SERIES VS. MIDDLE TENNESSEE

UTEP owns a 10-2 mark against MT, while winning two of three last season in El Paso and two of three in Murfreesboro, Tenn., in 2016. Last season, UTEP hit .376 in the three games, while scoring 19 runs. Kaitlin Ryder hit .444 (4-9) with a home run and six RBI. Pamala Baber hit .500 (5-10) with a double, triple and two runs scored.

The Miners held off the Blue Raiders in game one, 7-6. MT scored four runs in the top seventh. UTEP scored three runs in the second behind Ryder’s three-run home run and another three runs in the fourth frame.

Taylor Sargent went 2-for-3 with two runs. UTEP, after registering 13 hits, overcame a MT five-run first inning and won game three to clinch the series victory. The Miners would eventually take a 10-5 lead after scoring a trio of runs in the fourth inning. MT put up another two runs in the fifth. Baber went 2-for-4 with two RBI and a run.

SCOUTING MIDDLE TENNESSEE

The Blue Raiders improved to 31-18 overall after a 3-1 victory at Tennessee State on April 25. Middle Tennessee, after splitting a two-game series against Florida Atlantic April 21, is 8-9 in Conference USA action and sits in eighth place in the overall league standings. The Owls and Blue Raiders didn’t play the third game of the series due to rain.

The Blue Raiders lead C-USA in batting average (.301) and hits (383), while ranking in the top five in multiple offensive categories. MT also ranks 33rd nationally with its .301 average. Summer Burgess leads MT with a .368 average (60-163), while ranking 13th in C-USA, and ranks second on the team with 18 stolen bases.

MT has stolen 78 bases – ranked fourth in C-USA – as Precious Birdsong (.348 avg.) leads the team and ranks tied for fourth in C-USA with 24 stolen bags (27 att.), while also leading MT with 39 runs scored. Lexi Cushing ranks second in C-USA with her school record 12 home runs. Cushing broke the program’s single-season mark with her 11th dinger hit against FAU. Cushing also leads the team with 40 RBI, which is also tied for the league lead.

Morgan Harris (.359 avg.) has hit a pair of home runs and ranks second on the team with 29 RBI. The Blue Raiders’ 2.68 ERA ranks third in C-USA as the staff ace is Cori Jennings (15-8). She leads the team in wins, ERA (2.23), innings pitched (138.0), K’s (83), saves (two) and starts (21). Amber Baldwin (9-7), after Wednesday night’s complete-game victory, is posting a 2.91 ERA in 103.1 innings with 45 K’s. The MT pitchers have combined for 105 walks.

MINERS POTENT OFFENSE

UTEP ranks in the top five in 10 of 21 offensive categories in Conference USA. The Miners rank second in hitting (.286), third in slugging (.426), fifth in runs scored (199), fifth in hits (345), fourth in RBI (178), fifth in doubles (57), second in triples (11), fourth in home runs (30), fourth in total bases (514) and tied for second in hit by pitch (24). Miners rank sixth in on-base percentage (.350).

MINERS’ SOLID DEFENSE

UTEP is tied for first with Marshall with 19 double plays turned, while the Miners’ fielding percentage (.962) ranks fourth in Conference USA. UTEP’s 49 errors are also tied for fourth least in C-USA. UTEP leads the league with 23 runners caught stealing. UTEP’s 383 assists ranks seventh.

Late Surge Powers Ole Miss Past UTEP 7-1

Julia Wright notched a solid performance for UTEP, but Ole Miss scored four runs in the seventh to pull away and top the Miners, 7-1, on Saturday afternoon at the Helen of Troy Softball Complex.

The Rebels improve to 25-18 overall, while the Miners fall to 18-28. UTEP will continue Conference USA action next weekend at Middle Tennessee.

Wright (5-15) threw all 7.0 frames and recorded five strikeouts and only two walks allowed on 98 total pitches. Two earned runs were credited to Wright.

UTEP registered four hits – Kaitlin Ryder singled in the first, while Courtney Clayton, Taylor Sargent and Kacey Duffield each singled in the third.

Ole Miss went up 1-0 in the first inning on a Brittany Finney single.

The Miners, as they did last night, got runners aboard during the Saturday contest. But UTEP stranded three in back-to-back innings (second and third) early in the contest. The Miners recorded all their hits against Ole Miss starter Kaitlin Lee. UTEP left three runners on during the second inning on a pair of errors, while Pamala Baber was hit by a pitch to load the bases.

Left-handed pitcher Anna Borgen (4-5) who earned her first save on Friday night, came into relief in the fourth frame and kept UTEP’s bats in check, not allowing a hit and retiring the final 12 batters. Borgen got the win after throwing the final 4.0 innings. Lee tossed 3.0 frames.

With the score 2-0, UTEP got on the board in the third frame when Kira McKechnie was hit by a pitch with bases to loaded, scoring Ryder.

But Ole Miss scored another run during the fourth to make the count 3-1 and Alex Schneider put the ball game away when she connected on a three-run home run in the seventh.

Miners Rally Comes Up Short, Falls to Ole Miss 8-4

Ole Miss of the SEC jumped out to a big lead after a five-run sixth, but UTEP held its own, scoring three runs in the seventh while the game-tying run came to the plate. But the Rebels (24-18) held off the Miners’ (18-27) rally, winning 8-4 on a brisk and breezy Friday night at the Helen of Troy Softball Complex in front of a rowdy and loud crowd of 451 fans.

UTEP and Ole Miss will conclude the weekend series on Saturday at 4 p.m.

The Miners registered 10 hits, as Kaitlin Ryder finished 3-for-3 with a RBI and run, and Courtney Clayton went 2-for-4 with two runs and a RBI, along with her team-leading fourth triple. Cortney Smith added a 3-for-4 outing, while Kacey Duffield and Taylor Sargent each singled.

Ole Miss got the on the board first during the first when Brittany Finney used a two-out single to go ahead 1-0. The Rebels scored two more runs during the fourth to go up 3-0.

In the fifth, UTEP put a run on the board to get within a pair of runs. Clayton led off the home half with a triple hit to right center. Ryder plated her best friend on a sac-fly hit to left to make the score 3-1.

The Rebels answered with the five runs in the sixth to go up 8-1.

But the Miners showed more resiliency, proving they can hit on SEC pitching.

After Ariana Valles drew a one-out walk and eventually reached second base on a wild pitch. Clayton then drove Valles home with her second hit of the night, a hard single to left center. Ryder then doubled down the right line, advancing Clayton to third base. Duffield made the score 8-3 on a sac-fly hit to right, plating Clayton for her second run of the night.

Sargent followed with a single of her own, brining Ryder across the dish, making the count 8-4. Smith singled for a third time during the evening and Kira McKechnie drew a walk to load the bases with two outs. But Ole Miss pitcher Anna Borgen forced the final batter to ground out to earn her first save of the season.

McKechnie (9-8) made the start in the circle, throwing a complete game and tallying three K’s.

Clayton’s triple was the sixth of her career. She ranks tied for second on the program’s all-time list with teammate Sargent and Sarah Ramirez. Clayton, with her 2-for-4 outing, recorded her 71st multi-hit game, while starting her 201st consecutive game.

Ryder registered her 95th career RBI and upped her average to .331 on the season. Smith, with her three hits, increased her batting average to .301.

UTEP put runners on board, but left 11 stranded to Ole Miss’s four.

UTEP Softball to Host SEC’s Ole Miss Friday, Saturday

The UTEP softball team will take a break from league action and will host Southeastern Conference program Ole Miss April 20 and 21 at the Helen of Troy Softball Complex.

Friday’s contest between the Miners (18-26) and Rebels (23-18) will start at 7 p.m., while Saturday’s game is set for a 4 p.m. start.

Friday night’s contest is a ‘Blackout’ as tickets will be $2 for fans who wear black.

The Miners are on a four-game winning streak and have won seven of their last 10 contests, after shutting out New Mexico on April 16. The Miners threw a no-hitter against New Mexico on Feb. 17 in Las Vegas, Nev., during an 8-0 win in five innings. UNM went hitless for the first 4.1 frames during Monday’s contest.

Prior to the victory against UNM, UTEP is coming Conference USA foe North Texas April 14-15.

UTEP first baseman Kacey Duffield was named the C-USA Player of the Week after her clutch performance during the Miners’ sweep against the Mean Green during the weekend. The junior hit .600 with a slugging percentage of 1.400. Duffield hit two home runs with four runs and racking up seven RBI.

Sunday’s contest ended in unique fashion as back-to-back putouts were recorded from left and right field, respectively, to complete the series sweep. In back-to-back UNT at bats, Kaitlin Ryder threw a runner at home from left field to record the second out, while Taylor Sargent threw out another runner at home from right field.

With the sweep against North Texas, the Miners jumped up to the no. 9 spot in the conference standings, as the top eight schools will advance to the C-USA Softball Championship May 9-12 in Charlotte, N.C.

C-USA series sweep was the first for UTEP since sweeping North Texas April 30-May 1, 2016.

UTEP, after a 1-8 start in C-USA action, is 6-3 since when with a pair of victories against UTSA (March 30), a triumph at WKU (April 7) and the recent series sweep against UNT. UTEP also improved to 12-4 at home overall, while its league home mark is 6-3. UTEP defeated UAB, 16-13, on March 18.

UTEP senior Courtney Clayton, who started her 200th consecutive game on April 16, ranks third in C-USA with a .406 batting average, while ranking in the top 10 in multiple offensive categories. Ryder ranks in the top 30 in C-USA with a .315 average. Ryder, who had struggled a bit at the plate, is hitting .476 during her last seven starts.

Junior hurlers Kira McKechnie and Julia Wright have combined for four wins during the four-game winning streak, while Wright earned her C-USA-leading fourth save against North Texas on Saturday.

Wright also tied the program’s single-season record with her fourth save. Wright added her first complete-game shutout in the mix on Monday against New Mexico.

ALL-TIME SERIES VS. OLE MISS

UTEP is 0-1 all-time as it fell 6-4 against Ole Miss on March 6, 2011 in Denton, Texas. Kayla Black put the Miners ahead 2-0 in the top first after she connected on a two-run home run.

With the score 4-2 in favor of Ole Miss, Kia Moore brought the Miners within a run during the fourth when she was hit by a pitch with bases loaded. Moore also scored a run in the seventh inning.

SCOUTING OLE MISS

The Rebels are coming off a 7-0 victory against ULM on April 18 in Oxford, Miss. Old Miss is 23-18 overall on the season and 5-13 in SEC play after losing the first two games against Mississippi State, but coming back to win the third game of the series, 7-6, after being down 6-3 on Sunday.

Ole Miss is 6-4 in its last 10 contests, that includes a victory against no. 14 LSU on April 8. Ole Miss also defeated no. 3 Oregon in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, on Feb. 17. The Rebels are hitting .253 with 13 home runs. Kylan Becker leads the team with a .323 batting average and has tallied 10 RBI, while Elantra Cox paces the squad with 18 stolen bases, while hitting .315 with 10 RBI.

Autumn Gillespie leads the team with 25 RBI and seven doubles, and is tied with Amanda Roth (.147 avg.) for the team lead with three home runs. Ole Miss has a 2.72 ERA, while Kaitlin Lee (13-8) leads the team in wins, starts (19), innings pitched (128.1) and K’s (64). Ava Tillmann (3-3) has a 2.46 ERA in 48.1 innings and Anna Borgen (3-5) has fashioned a 2.46 ERA in 49.2 innings.

UTEP VS. SEC TEAMS

Ole Miss is only the second SEC program to play in the Sun City. Missouri played a pair of contests on March 21, 2016. UTEP dropped both contests, but Taylor Sargent hit .500 with two doubles and scored a run.

Sargent also registered two RBI and drew a walk in the series. UTEP (0-8) has yet to defeat a SEC program. UTEP also faced Missouri to open the 2018 campaign while taking on Arkansas in 2004, Tennessee in 2004 and 2009, Ole Miss in 2011 and Texas A&M in 2016.

C-USA POST SEASON UPDATE

The top three teams (by winning percentage) in each division, along with two Wild Card teams from either division will advance to the Conference USA Championship in Charlotte, N.C. May 9-12. As of April 19, UTEP is standing in ninth place in the C-USA overall standings.

LA Tech (13-5) leads the West Division, while Florida Atlantic (9-6) leads the East. UAB (10-4-1) ranks second in the West, while North Texas (8-7) sits at third in the West. Marshall (10-7-1) is in second and FIU (8-7) is in third in the East. Middle Tennessee (7-8) and WKU (7-8) occupy the Wild Card spots.

MT will host FAU this weekend, while Marshall will play at WKU. UTSA will host Southern Miss, and North Texas will host FIU. UAB will play at LA Tech.

Wright’s Complete-Game Performance Helps Miners Blank Lobos 7-0

UTEP starting pitcher Julia Wright allowed only four hits and struck out six behind a complete-game effort as the Miners (18-26) shutout New Mexico (11-29), 7-0, on Monday afternoon at the Helen of Troy Softball Complex.

“[Julia Wright] did a great job, she only gave up four hits and had a no-hitter going into the fifth inning,” fifth-year UTEP head coach Tobin Echo-Hawk said. “She did a great job of getting ahead early in the counts and it work to her advantage.”

The Lobos, after being no-hit by UTEP on Feb. 17 in Las Vegas, Nev., finally chalked one up when Monica Salas singled with one out during the fifth inning.

Monday’s victory was the fourth straight for the Miners after sweeping Conference USA foe North Texas this past weekend, while their home record improves to 12-4. UTEP has already surpassed last season’s win total of 12.

UTEP went up 4-0 early as Kaitlin Ryder drove home Courtney Clayton in the first frame. Clayton had singled to get on base for her 236th career hit.

The Miners scored a trio of runs in the second as Ariana Valles registered a RBI when she singled to right center, plating Taylor Sargent. Valles would reach second on the throw. Then with two outs on the board, Clayton put the ball into play as UNM shortstop Cameryn O’Grady committed a throwing error and letting Valles and Pamala Baber score runs.

Clayton has now reached base 32 times on errors during her career, extending her school record.

After going scoreless three innings, the Miners put up three more in the sixth to make the score 7-0. Sophomore Bryanna Molina, on a pinch-hit opportunity, was hit by a pitch with bases loaded to earn a hard RBI – the first of her career. Linda Garcia and Ilena Santos each grounded out but were credited with an RBI each during their pinch-hit at bats.

Wright then took the circle for the top seventh and after allowing the leadoff hitter Chelsea Johnson to single, she struck out D’Andra DeFlora looking and Andrea Howard swinging for back-to-back K’s. Salas popped out to the Conference USA Player of the Week first baseman Kacey Duffield to end the contest.

Miners the were credited with eight hits, led by Sargent’s 2-for-2 outing, along with her second triple of the season and sixth of her career. Sargent now ranks tied for second with Sarah Ramirez on the program’s all-time list. Valles’s added a 2-for-3, one-run, one-RBI performance.

Lindsey Sokoloski registered a pinch-hit single during the sixth and scored a run, Mariah Ellis, also on a pinch-hit opportunity, scored a run after she was walked. Baber drew a walk in the second and scored a run, while singling on a bunt during the fourth frame.

Sargent, who recorded the last out by throwing out a runner at home plate from right field during Sunday’s win over North Texas, threw out a runner at home during the fifth. Sydney Broderick singled to right with Salas at second base, but Sargent snagged the ball and made a direct throw to Ryder to end the top half.

“[Sargent] is just solid out there [in right field],” Echo-Hawk said. “She has a great arm and is one of our more accurate throwers. So, as long as she’s being aggressive, she’s gives us a good chance to get that out at home.”

UP NEXT

UTEP will host Southeastern Conference program [RV] Ole Miss (21-18) April 20 and 21. Friday’s contest will begin at 7 p.m., while Saturday’s game is set for a 4 p.m. start at the Helen of Troy Softball Complex. The Rebels are playing Mississippi State on Monday night and are 4-13 in SEC play.

UTEP Softball’s Kacey Duffield Named C-USA Player of the Week

IRVING, Tx – UTEP starting first baseman Kacey Duffield helped the Miners power past North Texas during a series sweep. For her weekend performance, the junior was named the Conference USA Softball Player of the Week on Monday.

Duffield hit .600 (6-10) with a 1.400 slugging percentage. She also produced seven RBI, two doubles, two home runs, four runs, a walk and stolen base during the series sweep against North Texas. Defensively, the junior recorded 17 putouts and committed zero errors.

Photo courtesy UTEP Athletics

Duffield started the weekend with a 2-for-4 performance that included a two-run single during the third of game one. Duffield stole a base and scored a run during the fourth frame. She added seven putouts in the first contest. Duffield’s bat stayed for game two, as she registered a career-high four RBI.

She also connected on a two-run home run in the second inning of game two, while adding a two-run double in the fourth frame. Duffield drew a walk in the third and scored a run.

In game three, the Miners had to rally to beat UNT, as Duffield hit a solo home run – her fifth of the season and second of the weekend – during the fourth to get within a run. Duffield also doubled in the second.

Duffield is the second Miner to be named Player of Week after sophomore Pamala Baber was named Player of the Week on Feb. 26.

It’s also the first time since the 2015 season that multiple Miners earned the prestigious honor.

 

Ashely Eldridge was named Player of the Week on March 9, while current UTEP softball graduate assistant Kawehiokalani Netane followed on April 13.

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