LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Cortney Smith provided power as the sophomore hit a pair of home runs on the day, but it wasn’t enough as San Jose State defeated UTEP 4-1 and Boise State used a five-run first inning to claim a 16-7 shootout victory on Sunday afternoon on the final day at the DeMarini Desert Classic hosted by UNLV.
The Miners remain winless (0-9) thus far in 2017 and will travel to Riverside, Calif. to compete in the Riverside Classic hosted by UC Riverside Feb. 24-26.
UTEP 1, San Jose State 4
Cortney Smith connected on a solo home run, the team’s first of 2017, in the fourth inning but single-inning struggles for the Miners continued as San Jose State scored three runs in the second frame.
With one out in the second, Mackenzie Drake got a hold of a first pitch double to left center that plated Cassidy Clark and Emma Entzminger to make the score 2-0. Clark had reached on a leadoff walk, while Entzminger was hit by a pitch. Drake would make the score 3-0 when she crossed the dish on an error by third baseman Kiki Pepi.
Freshman Allie Johnson made her fourth start of her young career but got into a jam early by walking the first two Spartans in the bottom first. Senior hurler Taylor Grohmann (0-1) relieved the freshman and got the Miners out of the jam by forcing two fly outs and a groundout.
Grohmann and the rest of the staff only allowed four runs (two unearned) and three hits but combined for seven walks. Grohmann threw 4.0 frames, allowing two hits but three walks. Kaitlin Fifield registered a pair of innings, allowing one hit, an unearned run and two walks.
San Jose State’s Colette Riggs (1-1) earned the ‘W’, by throwing 4.2 innings and fanning three. Katelyn Linford earned the save as she struck out four Miners. Both Spartan pitchers had zero walks allowed.
UTEP left six runners on base, including the third inning when UTEP loaded the bases with no outs. But Riggs got out of trouble by forcing a pair of pop outs and a groundout.
The Miners recorded seven knocks, led by Lindsey Sokoloski’s 2-for-3 outing (tied career best). Courtney Clayton, Mallorie Cross, Hope Moreno and Ariel Blair each tallied a hit as well.
UTEP 7, Boise State 16
The Broncos tacked on five quick runs in the top first as Corey Hendrickson connected on a two-run home run and Rebekah Cervantes tallied a pair of RBI. Hendrickson would go deep again with a three-run shot during a four-run second inning.
Boise State would take a 10-0 lead. But Smith answered with a two-run home run with Sokoloski on base in the bottom third to cut the lead. Hendrickson answered with a one-run double in the top fourth, but the relentless Miners would answer back in the home half.
UTEP cut the deficit to 11-7 with a five-run fourth of their own that stared with a Pamala Baber single to left. Transfer Mariah Ellis blasted a one-run double to the left field corner that advanced Baber to third. Kiki Pepi, who had been slumping, came up with a one-run single to left that scored Baber to start the scoring.
With Ellis on at third, Clayton drew a walk to load the bases. Sokoloski followed as she reached on a fielder’s choice, but Ellis would cross the dish for Sokoloski’s first RBI of the season. Taylor Sargent also reached on a fielder’s choice that plated Pepi. The inning continued as Hope Moreno got a hold one to right towards a diving right fielder and produced a two-run triple to make the score a respectable 11-7.
But the rally ended and Boise State would go on to score three runs in the fifth and two more in the seventh.
Clayton led the team with a 2-for-3 performance, raising her average to .345, and scored a run. UTEP pitchers combined for four walks and three K’s, while Boise State staff walked seven and struck out three.
Boise State outhit UTEP 17-7 as Hendrickson went 3-for-3 with six RBI on two long balls.