TUCSON, Ariz. – The UTEP softball team split a pair of contests on day two at the Wildcat Invitational on Saturday night. The Miners (9-12) lost to No. 15 Arizona (15-6) 9-1 in six innings, but bounced back in a big way to beat Mount St. Mary’s (0-14) 16-1 in five frames.
UTEP 16, Mount St. Mary’s 1 (5)
Kawehiokalani Netane registered career highs in home runs (two) and RBI (six), as the Miners plateaued the Mountaineers.
Netane started the scoring frenzy when she connected on a two-run long ball in the second inning. Taylor Sargent was on base after she led off the inning with a walk.
UTEP notched eight hits during an 11-run fourth inning, highlighted by Netane’s grand slam. During the epic fourth frame, Kiki Pepi recorded two RBI, one on a base loaded walk and the other on a double that brought home Kailin Ryder. Ryder also notched an RBI on a single up the middle plating Jade Rodriguez. Courtney Clayton and Sargent also notched an RBI each.
Rodriguez tied her career high in hits with a 3-for-4 performance and scored a pair of runs, which also tied her career best. She had a trio of knocks and scored a pair of runs against Colorado State on Feb. 28, 2015 on the very same field (Hillenbrand Stadium). Ryder added her second home run of 2016, a solo shot to the bleachers in the left field in the third inning.
Ryder tied her career best in hits (three) and runs (three) on a 3-for-4 night. Pepi and Sargent also tied their career highs in runs scored (two).
Starting hurler Taylor Grohmann (5-1) won her team-leading fifth game after throwing 5.0 frames, allowing only three hits, one walk and fanning four. Ariel Blair, Linda Garcia, Lindsey Sokoloski and Morgan Rasmason each scored a run in the victory.
In three games against Mount St. Mary’s, UTEP has scored 38 runs on 44 hits this season.
UTEP 1, Arizona 9 (6)
With the contest scoreless in the third inning, Sargent gave the Miners an early edge when she singled to left, plating Clayton. Mandie Perez tried to make a diving catch, but the ball staying on the right side of the left line, paving the way for the run to score. But the Miners left two baserunners on to end the inning.
Arizona answered with a pair of runs in the home half, as Perez led off with a walk and Alexis Dotson singled. After a Mo Mercado groundout to third, Katiyana Mauga drove in both base runners on a hard shot up the middle between the pitcher’s legs. The Wildcats would go on to add a run each in the fourth and fifth innings. After three runs were tallied in the sixth, pinch hitter Hillary Edior drove in the winning runs.
Kaitlin Ryder recorded UTEP’s other hit during the third inning. Starting pitcher Kaitlin Fifield (2-6) threw 4.0 innings, while striking out four and walking four. Arizona’s starting hurler Taylor McQuillin (5-2) threw 6.0 innings, allowing one run (unearned), walking none and striking out nine batters. Mauga registered three RBI on a 2-for-3 night.
UTEP will conclude the weekend against No. 10 James Madison on Sunday at 11 a.m. MT. The Mines will open Conference USA action at Marshall on March 12 and 13 in Huntington, W.V.