DALLAS – UTEP senior Kacey Duffield was named to the 2019 All-Conference USA first team while Kasey Flores and Pate Cathey were both given All-Freshman team distinction, as announced by league officials Tuesday.
Cathey and Flores are the first pair of Miners in program history to be named all-frosh during the same season.
“Excited for Kacey Duffield. She worked hard all year.” UTEP Head Coach Tobin Echo-Hawk said. “She’s been one of our most consistent players. Great at the plate, great at first base and has great energy. This couldn’t have happened to a better kid.”
Duffield is receiving her fist all-conference honor, and is the seventh player in UTEP history to be named to the All-C-USA first team. The slugger leads the team in batting average (.390), hits (53), on-base percentage (.485) and slugging percentage (.640). The first baseman has only committed two errors on the year with a .992 fielding percentage and a team-high 259 putouts. The senior is leading the league in fielding double plays with 20 and her batting average ranks second amongst all players in the conference.
“It’s nice to know we can get two freshmen on that list.” Echo-Hawk said. “It just shows we have a lot of potential going forward. We are going to need it next year because we lose seven key seniors, so it’s nice to have those two that can step into those roles to help us out.”
Cathey and Flores become the eighth and ninth players in program history to be named to the All-Freshman team, joining teammate Ariana Valles who was named to the team during her freshman campaign a year ago.
Flores began the season with a bang, hitting two home runs in her debut game with seven RBIs, and earning C-USA Player of the Week to begin her career. The utility player set a freshman record at UTEP with 39 RBIs, passing Chelsea Troupe’s mark of 36 in 2009. The El Paso product is second on the team in batting average (.359), hits (51), total bases (88) and third in home runs (nine).
Cathey has been a staple of the Miner defense, converting web gem after web gem at second base. Her bat has been just as reliable as her glove. The second baseman is third on the squad in batting average (.326) and hits (43). During senior weekend, Cathey led off two games with a home run. Against top-75 RPI opponents the freshman is leading the team with a .400 batting average and 18 hits.
Their efforts helped the 2019 Miners advance to the C-USA Tournament in Birmingham, Ala. It’s the first postseason for the program since the 2016 campaign.
UTEP will take on defending tournament champions Middle Tennessee May 8 with first pitch set for 12:30 p.m. MT/2:30 ET at Mary Bowers Field in first-round action.
A victory would advance UTEP to the second round against no. 3-seed WKU Wednesday night at 5:30 p.m. MT. All games will be streamed on ESPN+, while the championship contest will be televised on CBS Sports Network May 11.