TUCSON, Ariz. – The UTEP softball only registered two hits, as No. 10 James Madison kept its potent offense in check during a 3-0 victory on Sunday on the final day of the Wildcat Invitational at Hillenbrand Stadium.
The Miners fall to 9-13 on the season, while the Dukes improve to 16-1.
Courtney Clayton connected on both Miners’ hits, the first to lead off the game, while the second in the sixth inning. But the Miners couldn’t sustain any consistency as James Madison pitcher Megan Good (10-1) fanned six in 7.0 innings of work. Good retired 11 consecutive at one point before Clayton’s single in the sixth.
The Dukes took an early 2-0 when Jailyn Ford doubled in a pair of runs on a 2-2 pitch. But Kaitlin Fifield forced two consecutive groundouts to third to get out of the top half of the first.
Niki Prince tacked on another run, as she drove in Kassie Brammer in the fifth frame.
Fifield (2-7) pitched effectively, getting out of a pair of bases loaded jams – the first in the third inning, as Tahli Moore grounded to first, and the second in the sixth, as pinch hitter Jessica Mrozek grounded out to second.
Fifield threw 6.0 innings, striking out a pair, but allowing five walks and 10 hits.
UTEP will open Conference USA action at Marshall on March 12 and 13 in Huntington, W.V. The Miners will then play a sting of seven consecutive home contests March 15-21, as they will host New Mexico in a doubleheader (March 15), C-USA foe LA Tech (March 19-20) and SEC power No. 18 Missouri (March 21).