The UTEP softball team will continue its nonconference slate on the road at New Mexico on March 8. The Miners and Lobos will play a two-game set starting at 2 p.m. at Lobo Softball Field.
The Miners (4-14) and Lobos (9-9) will meet for a seventh consecutive season, while it’s the fourth time in five years the contests will be played at New Mexico. The two programs met last season at Helen of Troy Softball Complex.
After its trip up the road to Albuquerque, UTEP will open Conference USA action at North Texas on March 11-12. The Miners will finally play in the Sun City on March 18 against C-USA foe Middle Tennessee that will start five home dates in a row (eight consecutive home games). UTEP will host the Blue Raiders (March 18-19), Southern Miss (March 25-26) and rival NM State in a doubleheader (March 28).
Albuquerque native Taylor Sargent will return to her hometown as she played at Volcano Vista High School. Senior Taylor Grohmann was born in Albuquerque, but grew up in El Paso and played her high school softball at Americas.
UTEP registered two wins in five games last week (March 1-5). The Miners started their fourth week of play by beating NM State, 5-3, in Las Cruces. It was the first win at NM State since Feb. 15, 2010. Kiki Pepicame up with four RBI, including a two-run home run against the Aggies. Devyn Cretz earned the win andErika Harrawood was credited with a save.
Hope Moreno tallied an RBI after she got hit by a pitch was bases loaded. The Miners dropped their next three contests, losing at Texas Tech twice and against Wichita State. The Orange and Blue recorded 45 hits (.331 avg.) during the five-game stretch, while double-digit hits were tallied in four of those contests. UTEP recorded 11 at NM State, 10 and 12 against Wichita State, respectively, and 10 at Texas Tech.
The Miners hit four dingers, led by Cortney Smith’s two bombs andKaitlin Ryder’s first four-bagger of 2017.
ALL-TIME SERIES VS. NEW MEXICO
UTEP is 8-14 all-time against New Mexico, dating back to Feb. 29, 2004. The Miners are 3-7 all-time in Albuquerque as the two schools last met up the road during the 2015 season. The Lobos won both contests that season, 7-5, and, 7-4.
In 2016, New Mexico pulled off a second straight sweep, beating UTEP, 8-2, and, 7-6. The Miners hit .377 (23-61) against the Lobos as Courtney Clayton went 4-for-8 in the two contests, while adding two runs, two doubles and two RBI. Kaitlin Ryder hit .600 (3-for-5) with a pair of runs and a double and Ariel Blair went 3-for-7 with two runs scored. UTEP last won at New Mexico during the 2014 season, a 7-6 triumph.
SCOUTING NEW MEXICO
The Lobos have recorded a split overall record so far of 9-9 in their preseason ventures. New Mexico has defeated Seattle, 5-0, St. Mary’s, 4-3, UC Riverside, 1-0 and Texas State, 3-2. The Lobos also faced off against Conference USA team UTSA, splitting the pair of games. The Lobos have taken down against Missouri State twice, Stephen F. Austin twice and no. 5 Texas A&M, all in College Station.
The Lobos are currently hitting a .281 average at the plate, with senior Jasmine Casados leading the team in RBI (14), hits (26) and doubles (six). On the defensive side, the pitching staff has recorded a 3.19 ERA. The majority of pitching time has been given to freshman Jenson Main and senior Tess McPherson who have both totaled four games this season. McPherson leads in strikeouts with 20.