Photo by Ruben R. Ramirez/UTEP Athletics
UTEP softball (0-4) welcomes Northern Colorado (0-0) for the first games of its season at Helen of Troy Field with another pair of doubleheaders on Friday and Saturday, February 19-20.
Friday’s first pitch times will be at 4 and 6 p.m. MT while Saturday’s will take place at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. MT, respectively. All games will be available for streaming on C-USA.TV.
The two programs have faced off 17 times before with UTEP holding the upper hand, 15-2, winning all of the last six contests. These will be the first meetings between the Miners and the Bears since Feb. 10, 2011.
The Miners are still looking for their first win of the season after being swept at the 2021 Miner Invitational last week by No. 4 Oklahoma and Abilene Christian.
Redshirt sophomore outfielder Idalis Mendez opened the season with six hits in eight plate appearances and was one of two runs the Miners scored against the Sooners in two games. With an added two walks, Mendez’s on-base percentage sits at .800.
Northern Colorado had all six of its games scheduled to start the 2021 season canceled due to inclement weather. The Bears finished 2020 with a 10-15 start, and in their last full season of competition in 2019, finished 14-39 with a first-round exit in the Big Sky Tournament.
In head coach Ben Garcia’s second year in 2020, the Bears were 21st in the nation in doubles with 43 and 24th in doubles per game with 1.72 in 2020. Junior infielder Mady Young and freshman utility Reyna Caudillo led the way with 10 and seven two-baggers, respectively. Caudillo was also the Bears’ batting champion last season sporting a .388 average.
Young was their RBI leader (19) and boasted a .628 slugging percentage and 1.023 OPS. In total, Northern Colorado had five hitters with a .319 batting average or better before the season’s end.
In the circle, all the Bears’ pitchers from last season posted an ERA above 4.30. Right-handed pitchers Erin Caviness (4.63 ERA) and Lainey Hanehan (6.52 ERA) were Northern Colorado’s workhorses with 45.1 and 44 innings pitched, respectively.
Combined, the Bears’ pitching staff has an opposing batting average of .348.
For complete coverage of UTEP softball, be sure to follow the Miners on social media at @UTEPSoftball (Twitter), @utepsoftball (Instagram) and on Facebook or click here to visit the official home of UTEP Athletics.