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Home | Tag Archives: utep softball

Tag Archives: utep softball

UTEP Softball boasts 10 Easton/NFCA All-America Scholar Athletes

Thanks to their performance on and off the diamond, the UTEP Softball team has earned a roster full of honors.

Miners Pamala Baber, Pate Cathey, Kacey Duffield, Mariah Ellis, Sky Estrada, Linda Garcia, Allie Johnson, Bryana Munoz, Nadya Orozco and Jordyn Quevedo were all recipients of the Easton/National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) All-American Scholar-Athlete award for the 2018-19 academic year.

Officials share that this is the most Easton/NFCA All-America Scholar athletes in program history.

Seniors Baber and Johnson, as well as Miner-Alumna Ellis are recipients of their third NFCA honor.

This is the second NFCA recognition for senior Duffield, while Cathey, Estrada, Garcia, Munoz, Orozco and Quevedo are first-time honorees.

This is the first time in history that the NFCA has honored over 8,000 student-athletes (8,161), with 1,769 being Division I athletes.

Established in 1983, the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) is the professional growth organization for fastpitch softball coaches from all competitive levels of play.

Although collegiate coaches comprised the majority of the organization’s membership in the early days, today they are joined by high school, travel ball, professional and international coaches, along with umpires, clubs, businesses and fans of fastpitch softball.

UTEP Softball announces fall schedule

Head Coach Tobin Echo-Hawk announced the team’s eight-game fall slate on Monday morning.

The Miners will begin their preparation for the 2020 campaign with eight games scheduled for late September and early October.

The first pair of contests for the fall schedule will come against I-10 rival NM State on Sept. 21. The two teams will play a double header in Las Cruces, N.M., at 12 p.m. & 2 p.m. MT.

During the next weekend, the Orange and Blue will head home to the Helen of Troy Softball Complex to take on Odessa, Sept. 28 at 1 p.m. & 3 p.m. MT.

On Oct. 5, UTEP is scheduled to face off against Midland in a double header at 1 p.m. & 3 p.m. MT. The next day the Miners will finish off the fall slate versus Howard, with a double header beginning at 12 p.m. MT.

For complete coverage of UTEP Softball, be sure to follow the Miners on social media at @utepsoftball (Instagram) and @UTEPSoftball (Twitter) or visit the official home of UTEP Athletics at

UTEP adds Hall-of-Famer Camilla Carrera, Kaitlin Fifield to Softball Coaching Staff

UTEP Softball Head Coach Tobin Echo-Hawk announced the additions of UTEP Athletics Hall of Famer, Camilla Carrera, and former player Kaitlin Fifield as assistant coaches on Tuesday afternoon.

“I’m excited to add both Kaitlin (Fifield) and Cami (Carrera) to our staff.” Echo-Hawk said. “They bleed orange, and it is always special when you can have alumni on staff. I am excited to see how they help elevate our team on the field.”

Fifield and Carrera are the first two alumni to return to the Miners in a full-time coaching capacity.

Carrera played for the Miners from 2008-2012. During that time she became UTEP’s all-time leader in batting average (.401), on-base percentage (.508), games started (219), hits (260), home runs (61) and RBIs (197). Her historic 2012 season produced an NCAA record 0.60 home runs per game, leading the nation in homers (32) and slugging percentage (1.199).

Carrera became the first All-American in UTEP softball history, was a two-time Conference USA Player of the Year, and was inducted into the UTEP Athletics Hall of Fame in 2018.

Carrera hopes to bring that same level of excellence to her new role as assistant coach under Echo-Hawk. She previously served as a graduate assistant for NM State during the 2019 season. The UTEP Hall-of-Famer brings four additional years of coaching experience at Omaha (2017-2018) and Alvin CC (2014-1017) to the staff.

“I am beyond excited to be back at UTEP and back in El Paso.” Carrera said. “I am lucky to be working with such a great staff and athletes. This program has a bright future, and I am proud to say that I am a part of it.”

Kaitlin Fifield pitched for the Orange and Blue from 2014-2017. She threw the fifth no-hitter in UTEP history against Texas A&M CC Feb. 27, 2016, where she registered nine strikeouts with only one walk in 7.0 innings pitched. Fifield is also tied for third in all-time wins (24), and complete games (34) for UTEP pitchers.

The El Paso native, who played her high school ball at Chapin high school, was previously a graduate assistant on the 2019 UTEP squad. She is also the first El Pasoan to be a coach for the Miner softball program.

“I am so excited and thankful to be an assistant at UTEP.” Fifield noted. “To be able to continue to help this program succeed is such an amazing opportunity, and I cant wait to get started. Picks up and go Miners.”

UTEP Softball’s Pamala Baber honored with C-USA Spirit of Service Award

UTEP junior Pamala Baber, a member of the Miner softball team, was named one of 14 recipients of Conference USA Spirit of Service Awards for spring sports on Thursday.

A native of Rialto, California, Baber is majoring in Health Promotions with a minor in Nutrition and sports a 3.76 grade point average.  She completed over 30 community service hours this year, including working with the Miracle League, the Ronald McDonald House and Special Olympics.

Baber is a two-time Conference USA Academic Medalist (minimum 3.75 GPA) and a three-time member of the C-USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll (minimum 3.0 GPA).  She is also a former NFCA Scholar Athlete.

On the field, the utility player is a career .249 hitter with seven home runs and 37 RBI.  She was named the C-USA Hitter of the Week on Feb. 26, 2018.

The award honors the league’s student-athletes with significant community service endeavors, excellent academic standing and notable athletic achievements.

The Spirit of Service award is presented three times during the athletic year.

UTEP’s Kacey Duffield Earns NFCA All-Region Honors

LOUISVILLE, Ky.– UTEP softball’s Kacey Duffield earned National Fast Pitch Association All-Region third team honors, the NFCA announced on Thursday.

Duffield adds the NFCA All-Region selection to her senior season filled with accolades.

The Fairbanks, Alaska, native was named to the All-Conference USA First team, and was the C-USA Player of the Week (3/11).

The first baseman led the team in batting average (.388), hits (53) and on-base percentage (.482). She reached base safely in 44 of the Miners’ 50 games this season and produced a program-record 20-fielded double plays.

Duffield is only the seventh player in UTEP history to earn All-Region honors, and is the first since Courtney Clayton did it last season.

Miners Fall To Middle Tennessee In The C-USA Tournament

BIRMINGHAM – The UTEP softball team (17-33) fell to Middle Tennessee (28-26), 4-3, in a thrilling round-one game of the Conference USA Tournament at Mary Bowers Field Wednesday afternoon.

Julia Wright threw 6.2 innings in the game, recording three strikeouts. Pate Cathey registered a hit and two RBIs. Ariana Valles posted two hits, and Kacey Duffield and Cortney Smith both knocked doubles.

The Miners and Blue Raiders were engaged in a pitching duel. The two teams mustered up two hits each through the first three innings of play. UTEP’s hits were both doubles, from Smith and Duffield in the second and third innings, respectively.

The Orange and Blue had a scoring opportunity in the top of the third when Duffield doubled, and then Valles benefited from an infield single. However, Duffield and Valles stayed stranded on the base paths, keeping the score tied at 0-0.

The Blue Raiders drew first blood, scoring the first run of the game in the bottom of the fourth. Two errors from the UTEP defense helped the Middle Tennessee cause, and gave it the 1-0 advantage.

The Blue Raiders had a chance to add to the lead in the bottom of the fifth inning. A pair of base hits, and a sacrifice bunt put runners on first and second with two outs. A ball was hit by the Middle Tennessee batter into the shallow infield, but freshman Cathey made a diving snag to end the frame and the threat.

Still facing the 1-0 gap, UTEP was relying on the top of the order in the sixth inning to produce. With one out, Kasey Flores hit a ball that seemed destined to tie up the contest. However, the wind coming in from the outfield held the ball within the park, and UTEP was still down.

Middle Tennessee, once again had runners on second and third with two outs in the bottom of the sixth. The batter hit a ball into centerfield that looked like it would drop and score the two base runners, but Pamala Baber made an incredible diving catch to keep the game within reach of UTEP.

Smith, who holds the biggest bat on the UTEP roster, led off the seventh frame. The senior hit a rocket into center, but once again the wind kept it contained as it was caught on the warning track. Valles came to the plate, with two outs seemingly left in season. She was down 0-2 in the count, but she came up huge with a double and advanced to third on an error.

Lindsey Sokoloski slapped a hit to short that scored Valles and tied the contest. Linda Garcia followed with a single and Ariel Blair reached on an error to load the bases. Cathey, the freshman, stepped up big time and singled to score two runs and give the Miners a two-run lead going into the final inning, 3-1.

The Blue Raiders stayed composed, however. MT used two singles to begin the inning before a triple tied it up at 3-3. With one out, a long fly ball was hit to right field. Blair caught it and made a great throw, but the runner slid in safely to end the thrilling first-round game at 4-3.


>> Miners post a 17-33 record on the year

>> UTEP registered the lowest amount of errors is a season in program history (45)

UTEP Softball Garners Three All-C-USA Honors

DALLAS – UTEP senior Kacey Duffield was named to the 2019 All-Conference USA first team while Kasey Flores and Pate Cathey were both given All-Freshman team distinction, as announced by league officials Tuesday.

Cathey and Flores are the first pair of Miners in program history to be named all-frosh during the same season.

“Excited for Kacey Duffield. She worked hard all year.” UTEP Head Coach Tobin Echo-Hawk said. “She’s been one of our most consistent players. Great at the plate, great at first base and has great energy. This couldn’t have happened to a better kid.”

Duffield is receiving her fist all-conference honor, and is the seventh player in UTEP history to be named to the All-C-USA first team. The slugger leads the team in batting average (.390), hits (53), on-base percentage (.485) and slugging percentage (.640). The first baseman has only committed two errors on the year with a .992 fielding percentage and a team-high 259 putouts. The senior is leading the league in fielding double plays with 20 and her batting average ranks second amongst all players in the conference.

“It’s nice to know we can get two freshmen on that list.” Echo-Hawk said. “It just shows we have a lot of potential going forward. We are going to need it next year because we lose seven key seniors, so it’s nice to have those two that can step into those roles to help us out.”

Cathey and Flores become the eighth and ninth players in program history to be named to the All-Freshman team, joining teammate Ariana Valles who was named to the team during her freshman campaign a year ago.

Flores began the season with a bang, hitting two home runs in her debut game with seven RBIs, and earning C-USA Player of the Week to begin her career. The utility player set a freshman record at UTEP with 39 RBIs, passing Chelsea Troupe’s mark of 36 in 2009. The El Paso product is second on the team in batting average (.359), hits (51), total bases (88) and third in home runs (nine).

Cathey has been a staple of the Miner defense, converting web gem after web gem at second base. Her bat has been just as reliable as her glove. The second baseman is third on the squad in batting average (.326) and hits (43). During senior weekend, Cathey led off two games with a home run. Against top-75 RPI opponents the freshman is leading the team with a .400 batting average and 18 hits.

Their efforts helped the 2019 Miners advance to the C-USA Tournament in Birmingham, Ala. It’s the first postseason for the program since the 2016 campaign.

UTEP will take on defending tournament champions Middle Tennessee May 8 with first pitch set for 12:30 p.m. MT/2:30 ET at Mary Bowers Field in first-round action.

A victory would advance UTEP to the second round against no. 3-seed WKU Wednesday night at 5:30 p.m. MT. All games will be streamed on ESPN+, while the championship contest will be televised on CBS Sports Network May 11.

Linda Garcia wins C-USA Player of the Week; Team prepares for C-USA Tourney in Birmingham

UTEP softball’s Linda Garcia won Conference USA Player of the Week, the league announced Monday afternoon.

“I couldn’t be more excited for Linda.” UTEP Head Coach Tobin Echo-Hawk said. “She’s worked hard all year offensively and it couldn’t have happened at a better time.”

Garcia batted .714 during senior weekend with five hits and four RBIs. During Saturday’s doubleheader the senior went a perfect 4-4 with a huge home run that sparked a UTEP comeback in game one of the series.

The catcher also threw out two runners stealing in game three, placing her at second in conference in the category. She has caught 40 runners in her career attempting to steal, which is third in the UTEP record books.

Garcia is the fourth different player to win a conference weekly honor this season, joining Kasey Flores, Kacey Duffield and Julia Wright. Four different players earning the honor is the most in Miner history for a single season.

Last season, Kaitlyn Ryder earned C-USA Player of the Week honors on senior weekend. Garcia makes it back-to-back years that the league has honored a Miner on the final weekend of the regular season.

Now the UTEP softball team (17-32, 10-14 Conference USA) prepares for their fifth trip to the C-USA Tournament in program history and first since the 2016 campaign.

The seventh-seed Miners will take on sixth-seed and defending conference champions Middle Tennessee in the first round of the 2019 Air Force Reserve Softball Championship on Wednesday (12:30 p.m. MT) at Mary Bowers Field (UAB).

The Orange and Blue will face single elimination on day one of the tournament. With a victory against Middle Tennessee, UTEP will advance to play WKU later that day at 5:30 p.m. MT.

If the Miners were to advance past day one then the tournament becomes double elimination, and a matchup versus LA Tech on Thursday (2:30 p.m. MT) would be on the docket.

UTEP could see a variety of different scenarios once Friday comes around. Either two games could be played or just one depending on if the Miners were to win or lose at that stage in the tournament.

UTEP will take on defending C-USA tournament champions Middle Tennessee (11-13, C-USA) in the first round on Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. MT. The Miners are 10-5 all-time against the Blue Raiders.

Middle Tennessee finished sixth in the C-USA standings and are led by junior-slugger Lexi Cushing, who has 15 homers on the year. Pitching wise, the Raiders are relying on Corrina Dodd. Dodd leads the team in wins (12) and opponent batting average (.256). Middle Tennessee is 2-9 in its last 11 conference contests, but are coming off of a series victory at North Texas.

If the Miners are able to defeat the reigning C-USA tourney champions then they will face three-seed WKU (18-6, C-USA) at 5:30 p.m. MT on Wednesday. If UTEP wins that game and advances to day two, then the tournament becomes double elimination format, and a matchup against LA Tech will be awaiting the Orange and Blue on Thursday (2:30 p.m. MT).

The championship will be on Saturday at 10 a.m. MT.

All games will be streamed on the ESPN+ network until the championship game, which will be televised on the CBS Sports Network.

Tickets  |   Video   |    WatchESPN: Live Sports, Game Replays, Video Highlights

Senior Day Ends In a Walk-Off As UTEP Clinches Seventh Seed

The UTEP softball team (17-32, 10-14 Conference USA) defeated FIU (26-25, 7-16 C-USA), 11-3 [5], to clinch the seven seed in the C-USA Tournament and send off the UTEP seniors on a winning note.

“Happy to send the seniors out on a great note. Couldn’t have ended any more perfect, with Kacey (Duffield) with the walk-off for the run-rule. Everybody contributed, and every single senior did something today to help our team win,” Coach Tobin Echo-Hawks said. It’s a true model of who they are as people, and what they mean to this team. Super excited to clinch the seventh seed. It makes our life a little bit easier for when we get there. At the end of the day I am just happy we got this win and gave these seniors a great day.”

Ariana Valles went 3-3 with four RBIs on the day. The sophomore connected on a pair of two-run doubles, the first during a three-run first and the second came during a three-run third frame.

Senior Kacey Duffield singled in the game-winning run, while senior Julia Wright picked up her 11th win of the season and 18th during her two-year career, ranking tied for fifth in program history.

The seniors on Senior Day got big time help from their two stud freshmen Pate Cathey and Kasey Flores to start the game. Cathey smacked her second lead-off dinger of the weekend, and Flores followed up with a double. Flores and Duffield were both brought in by a Valles double, giving the Miners a 3-0 advantage.

The Golden Panthers answered with three runs of their own in the top of the second, knotting senior day up at 3-3.

The Sun City struck again, as a ball hit by Flores fell into the infield due to the third baseman being blinded by the sun in the third. Senior Cortney Smith then reached on an error, and Valles once again came through with a two-run double. The shortstop was brought in after a sacrifice fly from Ilena Santos that gave the Miners its second three run lead of the day, 6-3.

The Miners struck gold in the bottom of the fifth. Valles and Santos both singled and then scored when Garcia smacked a base hit that turned into three bases because off an error. Senior Ariel Blair came up huge with a triple into centerfield, and was eventually brought in by Cathey.

The Miners only needed one run to complete senior day with a run-rule victory. Who better to have at the plate than Duffield with freshman Cathey in scoring position?

The senior hit the ball into right field, and the freshman raced around the bases to score, sending the seniors and rest of the Miners into a frenzy.


>> Clinched seventh seed in C-USA Tournament

> Wright recorded her 11th victory of the season and is now tied for fifth all-time with 18


UTEP Softball Clinches C-USA Tournament Berth; Will celebrate Senior Day Sunday

The UTEP softball team (16-32, 9-14 Conference USA) defeated FIU (26-24, 7-15 C-USA), 8-4, in game one to clinch a C-USA tournament bid on Saturday afternoon at Helen of Troy Softball Complex. The Orange and Blue later fell, 4-2, to FIU in game two.

“Super big win for our seniors and our program. To get back to the conference tournament just shows how hard these kids have worked all year. Sometimes it’s not pretty, but they never quit. That is the one thing I am super proud of the about,”  Coach Tobin Echo-Hawks said.

The Miners clinched their first C-USA Tournament berth since 2016, after defeating FIU in game one. Currently, UTEP sits at seventh in the conference standings, needing a win on Sunday to clinch the seed.

Linda Garcia went a perfect 4-4 at the plate for the day with one home run and three RBIs. Cortney Smith registered two homers and three RBIs, and became only the fourth player in program history with more than 30 dingers. Pate Cathey tallied three hits, including a lead-off home run in game one. Kasey Flores posted two hits and an RBI during the doubleheader.

Julia Wright earned her 10th victory in game one, throwing a complete game. Allie Johnson locked in a career high in strikeouts (six) and innings pitched (5.2) in game two, while only allowing one run.

Game One

UTEP began game one with a bang, as Cathey smoked a dinger into center field to give the Miners the early momentum.

The Golden Panthers were not going to lay down, as they scored one run on a sac fly and then a two-run homer gave them a 3-1 advantage at Helen of Troy.

Garcia knew her team needed a boost after losing the lead. The senior took one deep with a solo shot, breathing life back into her squad to make the count 3-2.

The Miners were still dealing with the one-run deficit heading into the fifth frame, but UTEP’s offense had something ready for FIU. Cathey led off the inning with a double and was brought in by Flores to tie the contest. Valles, added to the damage with a two-run double. Garcia came up big again, earning two more RBIs on a single into left field that gave the Orange and Blue a 7-3 cushion.

FIU got one run back in the sixth, but Smith immediately answered with her 13th homer this year and 30th of her career to make the score 8-4 in favor of the home team.

The Golden Panthers had nothing left in top of the seventh, and watched as the Miners celebrated their first C-USA Tournament berth since 2016, and eliminated them from post season contention.

Game Two

UTEP fell in game two of the day by the score of 4-2. FIU got the scoring started, when a passed ball allowed a run to score.

Flores walked in the bottom half of the frame. The Sun City made its presence known, when a ball hit by Smith that would normally be a routine pop out became an RBI triple due to the El Paso sun effecting the FIU right fielder.

The Golden Eagles posted three more runs through four innings of play, gaining a 4-1 lead.

Smith continued to swing her scorching hot bat in the sixth frame, and sent her 14th bomb of the season into deep left field, chopping the lead down to two runs, 4-2.

Johnson entered the game in the second inning, and finished the contest, throwing a career high in strikeouts (six) and innings pitched (5.2).

The Orange and Blue got the game-tying run to the plate in the bottom of the seventh, but were unable to convert.

On deck, UTEP softball will look for the series victory today at noon on Senior Day.


>> Clinched first C-USA Tournament berth since the 2016 season

>> Smith became the fourth player in program history to hit 30 or more home runs in a career

>> Smith’s 14 home runs this year is tied for third by a Miner in a single season (Troupe had 14 in 2011)

>> Johnson posted a career-high six strikeouts and 5.2 innings pitched

>> Duffield has reached base in 42 of the Miners’ 48 games this season

>> Wright recorded her 10th victory of the season and 17th of her career, needing one to crack the top five in program history

UTEP Softball Looks To Earn C-USA Tournament Bid On Senior Weekend

The UTEP softball team (15-31, 8-13 Conference USA) will host FIU (25-23, 6-14 C-USA) for senior weekend on Saturday (11 a.m. MT & 3:30 p.m. MT) and Sunday (12 p.m. MT).

UTEP’s seven seniors (Lindsey Sokoloski, Ariel Blair, Linda Garcia, Kira McKechnie, Julia Wright and Cortney Smith) will be honored immediately following Sunday’s game.

The Golden Panthers have a 7-5 conference record in their last 12 C-USA contests. Their 3.34 ERA is seventh in the league, and are led by Megan Kuggleman in the circle who has an 8-5 record with 69 strikeouts. FIU comes in with the worst batting average in conference (.233)

For UTEP to make the conference tournament it will need to stay within the top eight teams in the league. The Miners (8-13) currently sit tied for seventh place in the Conference USA standings, and ultimately control their destiny.

With two victories this weekend, the Orange and Blue will clinch its first berth to the conference tourney since 2016.

UTEP holds a head-to-head tiebreaker over FAU (7-14) and Charlotte (6-14). UTSA (8-13) and UAB (5-15) both have the tiebreaker over the Miners. The Blazers are heading to Charlotte, UTSA is at Western Kentucky and The Owls are traveling to Marshall to end their seasons.

A single victory will eliminate Charlotte, FIU and UAB, while two wins will leave out any doubt of a trip to Birmingham.

During senior weekend at Helen of Troy, UTEP will honor seven seniors. Lindsey Sokoloski, Cortney Smith, Ariel Blair, Kira McKechnie, Julia Wright, Linda Garcia and Kacey Duffield. In the Echo-Hawk era, the Miners are 9-6 on senior weekends. This time around the Orange and Blue has post-season implications riding on the FIU series.

The Miner seniors are eyeing a trip to Birmingham. Sokoloski, Blair, Smith and Garcia are looking to make their second trip to the conference tournament, as the four played in the 2016 tourney.

Julia Wright was a menace to the FAU bats two weekends ago. She threw 10.2 scoreless innings against the Owls, collecting two victories and a save. The senior posted a complete-game shutout in the second game of the series, and earned herself the first outright Conference USA Pitcher of the Week honor for a Miner pitcher since Stacie Townsend in 2010. Recently, the pitcher chalked up her 16th victory at UTSA, needing two to crack the program top-five list.

Kira McKechnie was a force to be reckoned with against New Mexico (4/9). The senior fanned a career-high 12 batters, the most since Stacie Townsend in 2010 (18), and tossed a no-hit bid through 6.1 innings. McKechnie’s previous career high in strikeouts was six.

The senior threw for the fourth-most innings pitched in a single game in UTEP history (9.1) versus LA Tech (4/14). In the game, McKechnie took a no-hit bid 4.1 innings, and almost willed her team to victory over the Lady Techsters.

Linda Garcia has been on a tear in the Miners past 10 games. The senior is batting .348 with four RBIs and a .444 on-base percentage, providing a spark in the bottom half of the Miner batting order.

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 41 of UTEP’s 46 games this season. Her stellar batting average of .394 has her ranked second in C-USA and is a good reason why as she has tallied a team-high 50 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 22 walks, which rates in the top 10 in C-USA. She also boasts the fourth highest on-base percentage (.487) in the league. Duffield will continue to be seen on bases this season if she can maintain the discipline at the plate.

The Miners have been heavily dependent on their two stud freshmen, Kasey Flores and Pate Cathey. Flores leads the team in RBIs (38), and is second on the squad in total bases (83), hits (47), doubles (nine) and batting average (.353).

Cathey is third on the team in batting average (.308) and hits (37). She is also the premier second basemen, and has already collected her fair share of web gems. This duo of freshmen has provided stability to the Miner lineup, both offensively and defensively.

UTEP has never had a pair of freshmen land on the Conference USA All-Freshman Team. We may be seeing history come awards’ season.

Kasey Flores is amongst the best freshmen in all of Conference USA. She leads all newbies in RBIs (38). She is second batting average (.353), slugging percentage (.624), total bases (83), runs scored (30), hits (47) and home runs (nine).

She is the only freshman in the conference to display an ability to bat for average and power at the plate, as well as the only one to rank in the top two in all eight of the above categories.

Pate Cathey has had an amazing freshman season as of late. In her last 12 games she is batting .350 with 14 hits, two doubles and three RBIs. The second baseman has also not committed an error with 26 putouts and 12 assists during this stretch. It is safe to say that the Miners are relying heavily on the freshman both offensively and defensively as they approach the end of conference play.

The Miners already boast two player of the week and one pitcher 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. Then, 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.  Julia Wright is the latest to be recognized by the league, and the first Miner pitcher to do so since Kaitlin Fifield (2016).

The senior threw 10.2 scoreless innings, earning two victories and one save.

UTEP is second in Conference USA with 39 home runs this season. The Miners are averaging .956 home runs per game and is on pace to smack 47 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 52nd in home runs per game.

Cortney Smith is fourth all-time in program history in home runs (29), five back of third place (Stacie Townsend – 33). She currently is tied for fifth in homers in Conference USA with 11, and is looking to become only the fourth player in the UTEP record books to record 30 or more homers in their career.

The third baseman blasted the first walk-off of her career with a homer, that just barely stayed fair down the left field line, versus Southern Miss (3/23) in extra innings.

Cortney Smith is third all-time in assists at UTEP with 355. The third baseman is six assists away from overtaking second on the list.

The Miners have been excellent in the field so far this season. They have only tallied 41 errors, which is on pace for 43 by the end of the year. UTEP set a program record with only 58 errors and a .962 fielding percentage during the 2018 campaign. Forty-seven errors would shatter this mark and show impressive improvement on an already strong area for the Orange and Blue.

UTEP is currently second in Conference USA in double plays turned (25). This is also good enough for ninth nationally in double plays per game (0.56).

The game will be streamed on CUSA.TV, and Live Stats will be available.

UTSA blanks UTEP 8-0

SAN ANTONIO – The UTEP softball team (15-31, 8-13 Conference USA) fell to UTSA (20-27, 8-13) 8-0 [5] on Sunday afternoon at Road Runner field.

The Miners and Road Runners are now tied at seventh place in the C-USA standings at 8-13. The Orange and Blue can clinch a C-USA Tournament berth next weekend against FIU at home.

Kacey Duffield posted two hits in the effort, bringing her season batting average to .394. The senior has now reached base in 41 of the Miners’ 46 games this year.

The Road Runner jumped out to the early lead after a leadoff triple in the first that eventually scored, giving UTSA the 1-0 advantage.

The Miners got the bases loaded off of three straight hits in the top of the second, but were unable to push any runners across the plate.

UTSA scored five runs in the bottom half of the frame, after a grand slam that took control of the series-clinching contest.

The Orange and Blue got runners into scoring position in the third frame once again, but couldn’t string enough hits together to score any runs.

The Road Runners posted two runs in the bottom of the fourth, and the Miners were unable to cut into the deficit, losing the game in five frames, 8-0.

On deck, the Miners will host FIU on senior weekend next Saturday and Sunday at Helen of Troy Softball Complex.


>>  Duffield recorded her 50th hit this season

>> Duffield has now reached base in 41 of the Miners’ 45 games this season

Miners split Saturday series with UTSA

SAN ANTONIO – The UTEP softball team (15-30, 8-12 Conference USA) split a pair of games against UTSA (19-27, 7-13), 7-4 and 11-0 [5], on Saturday afternoon at Road Runner field.

Pamala Baber recorded three RBIs with a home run and two hits, during the first day of action. Kasey Flores batted .429 with a homer and two RBIs. Cortney Smith knocked her 12th dinger of the year.

Julia Wright went the distance in game one. The senior recorded her ninth win of the season, and 11th complete game.

Game One

UTEP defeated UTSA, 7-4, in game one. The Orange and Blue benefited from five errors from the Road Runners.

Baber had two hits and three RBIs, including a two-run homer. Smith and Flores both posted home runs in the effort. Julia Wright locked in the complete-game victory for UTEP with three strikeouts.

The Miners jumped on the Road Runners early, scoring two runs on hits by Baber and Flores, in the first and second innings.

However, UTSA knotted the game up at 2-2 in the bottom of the second with a two-run homer by Brycen Blinco.

The top of third started out in favor for the Miners, as Smith reached on an error. Baber stepped to the pate next and gave UTEP another two-run lead with the second homer of the season for the junior. Garcia added another run off of a double to score Bryanna Molina, and give the Miners a 5-2 lead.

In the bottom half of the inning, UTSA loaded the bases, but was unable to convert, leaving three runners stranded.

Smith added more run support for the Orange and Blue with her 12th bomb of the season in the top of the fourth frame, 6-2.

The Road Runners gained ground, posting two runs in the fourth, cutting into the Miner lead to 6-4.

The bat of Flores once again came in huge for UTEP. The freshman led off the sixth with her ninth dinger, and gave Wright some breathing room with a 7-4 advantage.

Wright finished business as she retired Madison Washington and Victoria Villarreal in the seventh. The senior hurler walked Grunberg, but forced Nix to flyout to chalk up her ninth victory of the season. Baber recorded the second out on a dazzling diving snag in center.

Game Two

The Miners dropped game two 11-0 [5] against UTSA.

Flores, Duffield and Ariana Valles all recorded hits in the second game of the series.

The Road Runners raced out to a 3-0 lead off of a homer in the bottom of the first. The damage wouldn’t end there, as UTSA scored eight runs in the third to take control of game two, 11-0, heading into the fourth.

Nadya Orozco entered the game in relief in the bottom of the fourth frame. The freshman sat down the three batters she faced, giving UTEP a chance to cut into the deficit.

The Orange and Blue would fail to close the gap, falling to UTSA in five innings.  On deck, the Miners will play game three of the series against UTSA at Noon MT/1 CT.


>>  Flores set a freshman-UTEP record with her 38th RBI of the year

>> Wright won her 16th career game, needing two victories to crack the program’s top-five list

UTEP Student-Athletes, Teams Honored At Inaugural Golden Pick Axe Awards

Golf’s Aaron Terrazas and cross country/track & field’s Lilian Koech were named the UTEP Male and Female Athlete of the Year, and women’s cross country was appointed the UTEP Team of the Year at the inaugural Golden Pick Axe Awards in the Don Haskins Center Thursday evening.

Men’s Basketball’s Efe Odigie and softball’s Kasey Flores were named the Male and Female Underclassmen of the Year. Terrazas and Koech were chosen the Male and Female Upperclassmen of the Year.

Other awards presented included Best Comeback (track & field’s Sean Bailey), Unsung Hero (softball’s Ariel Blair) and the Thomas Howard Academics & Athletics Achievement Awards (volleyball’s Briana Bustillos & men’s basketball’s Ountae Campbell).

The Moment of the Year was the buzzer beater by men’s basketball’s Jordan Lathon to beat Rice, and the Community Service Award went to the softball program.

Team MVP Awards were presented to Boaz Ronoh (men’s cross country), Linda Cheruiyot (women’s cross country), Lathon (men’s basketball), Jordan Alexander (women’s basketball), Steffen Gregory and Jasmine Romo (cheerleading), A.J. Hotchkins (football), Terrazas (men’s golf), Lily Downs and Valeria Mendizabal (women’s golf), Jessica Boyce (rifle), Carleigh Simmons (soccer), Kacey Duffield (softball), Blair and Justin Garrett (strength & conditioning), Kirsten Prelle (tennis), Bailey (men’s indoor track & field), Koech (women’s indoor & outdoor track and field), Michael Saruni (men’s outdoor track & field) and Macey Austin (volleyball).

The Golden Pick Awards are organized and presented by the UTEP Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC).

Male Athlete of the Year & Male Upperclassman of the Year – Aaron Terrazas (Men’s Golf)
Terrazas was the Miners’ top finisher at seven tournaments, and also led the team with six top-10 placements. His scoring average of 71.5 rated first on the squad. He earned his first collegiate victory at the Herb Wimberly Intercollegiate in October, where he tied for first place. He followed that up with his second collegiate victory, winning the Pepsi-Cola Classic outright. His 15-under par score of 201 led the Miners to the tournament title. He was named the Conference USA co-Golfer of the Week after firing a career-low score in Las Cruces. Terrazas tied for fourth place at the John Burns Intercollegiate in Hawai’i, firing a seven-under par 209 to garner C-USA Golfer of the Week honors. He began his final season at UTEP by tying for fifth place at the Golfweek Conference Challenge with a four-under-par 140.

Female Athlete of the Year & Female Upperclassman of the Year – Lilian Koech (Women’s Cross Country and Track & Field)
Koech is closing out her collegiate career in stellar fashion, having been a member of two conference championship teams during the 2018-19 athletic year. She garnered first-team All-Conference honors as the women’s cross country team captured its first league title. She was named C-USA Outstanding Senior after crossing the finish line in fifth place overall. Koech went on to lead the UTEP women’s track and field team to the title at the 2019 Conference USA Indoor Championship. Koech secured a gold and silver medal in the mile and 800 meters, respectively. Earlier in the year, she posted a personal-best time of 2:06.29 in the 800 meters, which rates fourth in program history. During the 2018 outdoor season, Koech notched a gold and silver medal at the C-USA Championships in the 1,500 meters and 800 meters, respectively. She’s putting the finishing touches on an illustrious UTEP career during the 2019 outdoor season, as she ranks in the top-25 nationally in the 800 meters and 1,500 meters.

Team of the Year – Women’s Cross Country
The Miners enjoyed a storybook 2018 season, winning their first conference championship. They took four of the top-six spots at the Conference USA Meet as Linda Cheruiyot and Winny Koech finished first and second, respectively. Carolyn Chepkosgei and Lilian Koech also merited first-team All-Conference USA honors as they took fifth and sixth place in the individual standings. Lilian Koech was appointed the Senior of the Meet and Paul Ereng was named the league’s Coach of the Year. UTEP sent Cheruiyot and Koech to the NCAA Championships. Cheruiyot was chosen the C-USA Cross Country Athlete of the Year. She finished in the top three at five meets, with a pair of first-place showings. Overall the Miners won four meets over the course of their record-breaking campaign.

Male Underclassman of the Year – Efe Odigie (Men’s Basketball)
Odigie was a member of the C-USA All-Freshman team after becoming the first Miner to average a double-double (12.7 ppg, 10.1 rpg) since the 1982 season. The 10.1 rebounds per game was a UTEP freshman record while also pacing C-USA and rating 16th in the nation. He also led the league in defensive boards per game (7.4). He produced a UTEP freshman record 11 double-doubles (second in C-USA), which was fifth among DI freshmen. He started 21 of 25 games played before missing the final four contests of the year with an injury.

Female Underclassman of the Year – Kasey Flores (Softball)
Flores burst onto the scene with two homers and a UTEP-debut record seven RBIs in the season-opening win against Creighton. She was named the C-USA Player of the Week and was an NFCA top performer for her efforts that weekend. The freshman has continued to thrive, pacing the team in RBIs (36-tied fourth in C-USA), doubles (nine) and runs scored (29). She also checks in second on the team in batting average (.358-ninth C-USA), total bases (77-10th C-USA) and slugging percentage (.626-seventh C-USA), and third in home runs (eight-tied 10th C-USA).

Best Comeback – Sean Bailey (Track & Field)
Bailey’s performance in the 400 meters at the 2019 Conference USA Indoor Championships earned him the Best Comeback Award. The transfer from Western Texas College was back in the pack during the first lap of the finals before finding his second gear and surging to victory in his heat. He claimed third place overall on the way to securing All-Conference honors after the photo finish.

Unsung Hero – Ariel Blair (Softball)
Blair has been an inspirational leader for UTEP softball the past four years. She has fulfilled her dream of playing for her hometown Miners, one she refused to give up on even after being paralyzed and in a wheelchair as a result of contracting a rare disease at the age of 14. She frequently makes highlight-reel catches in the outfield and throws out runners at the plate. She is on track to become the first Miner in program history to lead the team in steals for four consecutive seasons.

Thomas Howard Academics & Athletics Achievement Awards – Briana Bustillos (Volleyball) & Ountae Campbell (Men’s Basketball)
The Thomas Howard Academic & Athletics Achievement Awards are presented to UTEP walk-on student athletes who have excelled academically and athletically. They are presented by the Thomas Howard Foundation in honor of former UTEP football player Thomas Howard, who passed away in a car accident at the age of 30 in 2013. Bustillos played in all 99 sets and started every match for the Miners at the libero position. She ranked seventh in C-USA in digs with a team-leading 388. Campbell played in 24 games for the men’s basketball team with 10 starts. He was a recipient of a C-USA Commissioner’s Academic Medal (minimum 3.75 GPA).

Moment of the Year – Jordan Lathon (Men’s Basketball) Buzzer-Beater vs. Rice
There were many exciting moments during the 2018-19 UTEP Athletics year, but Lathon’s buzzer beater in a 65-64 win vs. Rice (Jan. 12) surpassed them all. The Owls led 64-63 after Trey Murphy III grabbed an offensive board and connected on a three-pointer with 1.6 seconds left. Ountae Campbell’s first pass attempt was deflected out of bounds in the corner, taking time off the clock. Campbell, from the bottom corner and with 0.5 seconds remaining, threw the ball to an open Lathon. The ball took one bounce, Lathon grabbed it and nailed the jumper from the baseline just inside the three-point line. Lathon was mobbed by his teammates, coaches and fans while the referees looked at the play on the monitor. The refs declared the shot good, electrifying the Haskins Center and giving Rodney Terry his first league win as UTEP’s head coach.

Community Service Award – Softball
The UTEP softball team has gone above and beyond to achieve its goal of engaging the community. From helping with Special Olympics sporting events to volunteering at the children’s hospital, the squad has racked up 658 community service hours since the beginning of the school year. The efforts have set the standard for service for all UTEP sports.

UTEP’s Julia Wright Wins C-USA Pitcher Of The Week

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.

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