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H-P Sports In Depth: UTEP Softball to Play Four Games in Lubbock

After its big win at NM State on Wednesday night, the UTEP softball team will compete at the Jeannine McHaney Memorial Classic hosted by Texas Tech March 3-5.

The Miners will open against Texas Tech on Friday (4 p.m. CT). The weekend will continue with a pair of contests on Saturday, the firstagainst Wichita State (10:30 a.m. CT) and anther contest against the Red Raiders (3:30 p.m.). The Classic will conclude against the Shockers on Sunday (10:30 a.m.).

The Miners (3-11) defeated the Aggies, 5-3, on Wednesday night behind a four-RBI effort from Kiki Pepi. The senior infielder blasted a two-run, line drive home run and came up with a liner up the middle that scored two runs.

Starting pitcher Devyn Cretz tallied five Ks in 5.1 innings, while gaining her second win of the season. Erika Harrawood finished the game, throwing 1.2 frames and striking out the last batter to secure the triumph over the Aggies.

MORE ON UTEP’S VICTORY

The Miners’ 5-3 win over the Aggies was just the third overall road win in the rivalry, and the first triumph at NM State Softball Complex since Feb. 15, 2010 – a 22-5 (5) victory. The victory against the I-10 rival is the second for fourth-year head coach Tobin Echo-Hawk. Her 2014 squad defeated NM State, 5-1, on March 14at the Helen of Troy Softball Complex.

The two programs will meet again on March 28, this time a doubleheader starting at 5 p.m. in the Sun City.

ALL-TIME SERIES VS. TEXAS TECH

The programs have spits their 10 games, as the Miners have won their last two games against the Red Raiders. UTEP swept Texas Tech on March 11 in El Paso. The Orange and Blue claimed a 5-3 victory in game one, while winning game two 9-7. Kiki Pepi went hit a home run on a 1-for-2 performance in game one.

Kaitlin Fifield and Taylor Grohmann combined for 7.0 innings and two strikeouts. Grohmann started the contest, throwing 4.0 frames and Fifield earned the victory. Pepi added two more RBI in the game.

SCOUTING TEXAS TECH

The Red Raiders have had a pretty split preseason so far, leaving their most recent trip in Tuscaloosa, Ala. with an overall 8-7 record. The Red Raiders competed at the Easton Bama Bash, tallying two wins in five games.

Texas Tech took two games from Garner-Webb, 6-5 and 4-0. Although the team has a total of a .227 batting average, Raina O’Neal has tallied five home runs and 11 RBI. Kassidy Scott is leading the pitching staff with a 2.38 ERA, 21 strikeouts and four wins on the season so far.

ALL-TIME SERIES VS. WICHITA STATE

The programs have split their only two contests. UTEP defeated Wichita State, 2-0, on Feb. 21, 2010 at the QTI Getterman Classic in Waco, Texas, while the Shockers claimed an 11-0 victory on March 4, 2011 at the North Texas Courtyard Classic in Denton, Texas.

SCOUTING WICHITA STATE

The Shockers have kicked off their 2017 season with a 9-3 record, only falling short to no. 20 Arizona State, 6-4, South Dakota, 3-2 and most recently no. 9 Oklahoma, 7-3. They are currently hitting a solid .345 as a team with Kelli Spring being consistent at the plate recording a .462 average, 18 hits and six RBI.

Laurie Derrico and Macklin Hitz each have hit four home runs, while Hitz leads the team in RBI (14). Paige Luellen ranks second with 11 RBI. The Shockers defense has also been very strong, starting with their two pitchers. Between them they have totaled a 1.87 ERA with Katie Malone tallying eight wins and 49 strike outs.

KIKI’S BAT IS LIT

Entering the Riverside Classic, Kiki Pepi was struggling at the plate, hitting .136 (3-22) with a pair of RBI in nine games. Since then, Pepi’s bat has been smoking as she’s hitting .500 (8-16) with a home run, 10 RBI, six runs and three walks during her last five games. She’s upped her average to .289 and currently leads the team with 12 RBI.

HARRWOOD’S FIRST SAVE

Erika Harrawood threw 1.2 innings and struck out the last hitter to secure UTEP’s 5-3 victory at NM State on Wednesday night. She also earned her first career victory on Feb. 24 against Utah State in Riverside, Calif. She’s thrown a staff-high 25.0 innings and has a 4.48 ERA. The El Paso native has 17 Ks and has made seven appearances.

STRIKEOUT QUEEN

Devyn Cretz tallied five more strikeouts at NM State on Wednesday night. The redshirt freshman leads the staff with 24 Ks in 23.0 innings. Cretz also leads the team with a 4.26 ERA. In her last three appearances, which includes a pair of starts, Cretz’s ERA is 2.15 and she’s fanned 17 batters in 13.0 innings.

CROSS’S SOLID START

Mallorie Cross has been off to a good start to begin her career. The freshman has played in 12 games, starting eight and is hitting .350 (7-20) with an RBI and a double. She’s made multiple starts behind the plate, tallying 16 putouts and three assists. One of those assists came at NM State when she threw a runner out trying to steal second.

MORENO THE BALL MAGNET

Hope Moreno was hit by another pitch at NM State in a pinch-hit effort in the fourth inning. It’s her fourth time being hit by a pitch, while it was probably the biggest HBP this season. She stepped into the batter’s box with bases loaded and drew the hit on the first pitch. The junior has now been hit 22 times in her career. She ranks fourth in program history behind Chelsea Troupe (24), Ashley Ellis (26) and Amber Bennett (27).

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