AUSTIN, Texas – The UTEP softball team hung tough with Texas in game one, falling 4-1, but the Longhorns (24-9) scored in each of the first four innings in game two, run-ruling the Miners (17-23), 8-0, on Tuesday at Red & Charline McCombs Field.
The Miners would load the bases a couple times in game one, including the top seventh. But a total of 13 runners were left stranded in the two games combined.
UTEP 1, Texas 4
In the third, UTEP loaded the bases, as Cortney Smith was hit by a pitch and then advanced to second on a Jade Rodriguez sac-bunt, followed by a Courtney Clayton single and a Kiki Pepi walk with two outs. But the runners were left stranded.
Texas took advance and scored a pair of runs on a Lindsey Stephens ground out RBI and a Celina Felix RBI single to center in the bottom third. The Longhorns scored two more runs in the fourth, as Paige von Sprecken put her squad up 4-0 on a two-out, two-run double to deep center.
UTEP made the game interesting, as it loaded the bases again in the seventh. Rodriguez reached first on a fielder’s choice, as pinch-hitter Danielle Pearson, who singled to lead off, was thrown out at second. Clayton and Kaitlin Ryder tallied back-to-back singles, while Pepi also singled, driving home Rodriguez.
But Texas starting pitcher Tiarra Davis (14-7) struck out the next two batters to end the contest.
The Miners outhit the Longhorns 8-6, but left 10 runners on base. Clayton and Sargent each went 2-for-4, while though Kaitlin Fifield (6-12) took the loss, she threw 6.0 solid innings, tallying 5 Ks.
UTEP 0, Texas 8 (5)
Texas got on the board early, scoring the game’s first two runs in the first. Starting pitcher/cleanup hitter von Sprecken and Devon Tunning tallied back-to-back RBI singles with base loaded. But starting game two hurler Pearson forced a Stephanie Ceo groundout to second base to end the frame.
The Miners would get runners on again the following frame, but again had issues getting them across home.
In the second, Sargent led off with a double, her 11th of the season, and Hope Moreno was hit by a pitch. Kawehiokalani Netane then advanced the runners over with a sac-but. But Sargent was thrown out at home after Linda Garcia connected on a ball that was hit to short. It looked as if the ball was going to pass the shortstop Tunning, but she swiped the ball off the ground and made the throw to home. Von Sprecken then struck out the next batter.
The Longhorns put the Miners away, scoring two more runs in the second and three more in the third inning and another in the fourth.
Sargent’s double gives the Miners 55 on the season, the most in Conference USA. Netane added a single in the fifth.
UTEP will have its bye week (April 9-10) and will return to action at Conference USA opponent Middle Tennessee on April 16-17. The Miners’ next home game is against I-10 rival NM State (April 19), while their next home series will be against West Division foe UAB (April 23-24).