FILE: UTEP will play six games in Boca Raton, Fla., the first three against Stony Brook and Long Island (March 10), and Rutgers (March 11). The Miners will then open Conference USA action against Florida Atlantic March 12-13.
HONOLULU, Hawai’i – The UTEP softball split its two contests, shutting out East Carolina, 1-0, and falling to Hawai’i, 6-2, on Sunday on the final day of the Texaco Malihini Kipa Aloha Tournament at Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium.
The Miners (10-12), however, did end their four-game losing streak with the 1-0 triumph over ECU and ended their 13-game losing streak in the state of Hawai’i in the process.
UTEP 1 – ECU 0
UTEP softball program won its first ever game in the state of Hawai’i after shutting out East Carolina 1-0 behind starting hurler Kira McKechnie’s (6-3) complete-game effort during the first game on Sunday afternoon.
McKechnie, after tallying a career-high four K’s on Saturday night, upped her career best to five K’s against the Pirates and allowed only two hits, while walking five. The junior transfer threw her second complete game of the season and posted her fourth shutout and third overall complete-game goose egg.
The Miners got on the board with their lone score in the fourth frame on a Pamala Baber double that plated Cortney Smith for an early 1-0 edge. Smith used a two-out single to reach, while Baber followed with her knock.
McKechnie also received a superb defensive effort from her teammates as Ilena Santos recorded a career-high four assists, including the final out of the contest, in her first start at second base. Fellow freshman shortstop Ariana Valles recorded three putouts and two assists. Courtney Clayton made her first ever start in in the outfield, playing in left, and tallying three putouts, including one to end the top first in which she took great strides forward to make the snag in shallow territory. Kaitlin Ryder made the start behind the dish, registering six putouts and a caught stealing.
The Pirates made things interesting in the top seventh when two batters drew walks and eventually put runners at the corners with two outs, but McKechnie forced Tyler King to groundout to Santos. Ryder recorded the first out on a heads-up play to make an out in foul territory on a pop out.
Clayton and Ryder each added a knock. Clayton doubled in the first inning, her 42nd career double and 205th career hit.
UTEP 2 – UH 6
The Rainbow Wahine received their first run during the first inning as runners were at the corners and completed a double steal.
Kallee Heen, who homered against UTEP on Saturday, registered a RBI on a double with a pair of outs and advanced a runner to third, but Heather Cameron popped out to stop more offense.
With the score 2-0, Kacey Duffield picked a great time to hit her first home run in a UTEP uniform. Duffield got a hold of a 1-1 pitch with Smith on and sent it over left center. Smith had reached on a walk; while it was Duffield’s first Division I long ball.
But Heen struck again during the fifth when she connected on a two-run home run and Danielle Garcielita tallied a two-run single with bases loaded to make the score 6-2.
The Miners got back-to-back one-out singles from Santos and Valles, but couldn’t produce more hits to score the runners.
Clayton registered her 206th career hit, while Duffield finished 1-for-3 with two RBI.
Starting hurler Devyn Cretz, who made her seventh start in 2018, went a solid 3.0 frames, walking none and striking out Britnee Rossi looking in the second inning to leave a runner stranded.
UTEP will play six games in Boca Raton, Fla., the first three against Stony Brook and Long Island (March 10), and Rutgers (March 11). The Miners will then open Conference USA action against Florida Atlantic March 12-13.