NMSU vs UTEP Softball, Helen of Troy Softball Complex, El Paso TX, March 19, 2019, Andres Acosta / El Paso herald-Post
The UTEP softball team (8-20, 2-4) dominated NM State (11-12) in the second game of the double header, 11-3, in five innings. The Miners scored seven runs in fifth inning to down the Aggies in the night cap. UTEP fell to NM State earlier in the day, 12-4 .
“Awesome team win. I think after the first game we were all pretty frustrated. Things did not go our way and we out hit them. We just didn’t really do what we needed to in the circle,” shared Coach Tobin Echo-Hawks.
“Coming back the second game, Kira (McKechnie) stepped up for this team. She did what she did and she went back to being Kira of last year, and one of those dominating pitchers. Our offense did awesome. Kasey Flores was awesome. We had a big pinch hit from Bryanna (Molina) in that last inning. Everybody just did their part it was a great team win and you could feel it. It’s always great to beat the Aggies.”
Kasey Flores went 5-6 at the plate on the day with two homers and four RBIs. Ariana Valles added two solo shots on the day. Kira McKechnie pitched a complete game in the Miners run-rule victory.
The Miners dominated the Aggies in the night cap, 11-3, in five innings. This was the first time the Orange and Blue run ruled NM State at the Helen of Troy Softball Complex since Feb. 25, 2005.
Flores went 3-3 with two home runs and four RBIs. Valles smacked her second homer of the day and third of the year with two RBIs. Kira McKechnie pitched a complete game, only allowing three runs to the Aggies in the run-rule victory.
Flores got UTEP on the board early with a double that scored Ariel Blair. Flores would come around to score after Pate Cathey hit a single through the left side, taking the lead for the Miners 2-1.
NM State took the lead back in the third frame, scoring two runs for the one run lead, 3-2. Flores answered the call, tying the game with her sixth dinger of the season.
Mallorie Cross joined in on the party with an RBI single that scored Ilena Santos, and reclaimed the lead for the Orange and Blue, 4-3.
In the bottom of the fifth, Valles hit a rocket into center field towards the Franklin Mountains, giving the Miners some breathing room with a 5-3 advantage.
The freshman phenom Flores posted the second multi-home run game of her career with a two-run shot over the left field fence. This gave the Miners four runs to work with over the Aggies at 7-3.
NM State would never see the sixth inning however, as UTEP put the finishing touches on the Aggies. The Orange and Blue would score four more runs in the inning, including an RBI single by Bryanna Molina, who pinch hit for Lindsey Sokoloski, and the walk-off sacrifice fly from Duffield plating Sokoloski.
The Miners fell to the Aggies in the first game of the day 12-4 after a five run fourth inning.
Freshman Kasey Flores went 2-3 at the plate, and Cortney Smith recorded the first triple of her year. Senior Julia Wright recorded five strikeouts in her 3.0 innings of work. Kacey Duffield, Ilena Santos and Linda Garcia all tacked on RBIs to their season totals.
Early in the third inning, Ariana Valles blasted her second homer of the season to tie the game at 1-1.
The Aggies would answer with five runs in the fourth frame that ultimately put the game out of reach for the Miners.
> Cortney Smith, Duffield and Flores all have seven homers on the season
>> First win against the Aggies since March 1, 2017, a 5-3 victory in Las Cruces, N.M.
>> First home victory over NM State since March 4, 2014
>> The Miners run ruled the Aggies for the first time at Helen of Troy since the 2005 season and for the first time overall since 2010
On deck, the Miners will take on Southern Miss in their second home conference series of the season (March 23-24) at The Helen of Troy Softball Complex.
Gallery by Andres ‘Ace’ Acosta – Chief Photographer – El Paso Herald Post