Photo Courtesy UTEP Athletics
The UTEP softball team will play six straight home contests starting with Conference USA West Division foe and league leader in home runs North Texas April 14-15.
Saturday’s doubleheader will start at 2 p.m., while Sunday’s series finale is slated for noon at the Helen of Troy Softball Complex.
Tickets are $5 dollars for adults and $3 for children. The April 14-15 weekend is highlighted by ‘Bark in the Park’ as tickets are $2 if fans bring their dogs to the ball park.
UTEP will also host New Mexico on Monday, April 16 in a single contest starting at 3 p.m. UTEP will then host [RV] Ole Miss April 20-21 to close out the home stand.
During their last meeting against New Mexico, UTEP threw a combined no-hitter during an 8-0  win on Feb. 17 in Las Vegas, Nev. Kira McKechnie and Devyn Cretz combined for the no-hit effort.
The Miners (14-26, 4-11 C-USA) are coming off a 1-2 weekend at WKU, as the lone victory was a 6-4 comeback win in game two against the Hilltoppers. The Mean Green (22-17, 8-4 C-USA) have won four in a row. UNT is coming off a 9-5 win against Houston Baptist Wednesday night and a non-conference sweep at Mississippi Valley State April 7-8. UNT’s last league games was a 2-1 series win at Florida Atlantic March 30-31. The Lobos (11-28) lost two of three at Colorado State April 7-8.
The Miners hit .333 during the weekend in Bowling Green, while outhitting WKU, 30-22. UTEP came up short in game’s one and three, but rallied the win game two, 6-4, after scoring six runs in the seventh inning that was capped by Cortney Smith’s two-run home run.
Kaitlin Ryder’s bat picked some momentum as the senior hit .500 (5-10) with a home run and three RBI. Kacey Duffield also hit .500 (five hits), while leading C-USA hitter Courtney Clayton hit .455 (5-11) with a pair of RBI. McKechnie showed her power skills as she went deep twice during the weekend.
Allie Johnson also picked up her second career victory during the game-two triumph.
Clayton has stayed consistent as the senior leads C-USA with a .421 batting average and leads the league with 92 total bases. Clayton ranks just outside the top 50 nationally in hitting, sitting at no. 54 in the NCAA’s.
The April 14-15 series versus North Texas will be ‘Bark in the Park Weekend’, as fans can bring their K-9 companions to the Helen of Troy Softball Complex. Attendees must bring proof that their dog is up to date on current vaccinations.
All fans with a dog must fill out a liability waiver form at the first base side marketing table before entering the game. Here’s the link for the waiver.
Monday’s afternoon contest against UNM will feature a ‘White Out’ – wear white and pay $2 for a ticket. The UTEP softball junior trading cards will be the giveaway on Saturday and Sunday along with UTEP softball 2018 schedule posters and roster cards. Monday’s giveaway will be sunglasses to the first 150 fans.
ALL-TIME VS. NORTH TEXAS
UTEP is 4-11 all-time against North Texas after losing three games last season in Denton. The Miners swept the Mean Green in 2016, the last time UNT made it out to West Texas. Courtney Clayton hit .545 with five runs and two doubles during the 2016 series. Kaitlin Ryder (.500) added a home run and four RBI, while Taylor Sargent (.400) hit two solo home runs. Linda Garcia (.375) led the way with five RBI with two home runs hit.
SCOUTING NORTH TEXAS
The Mean Green improved the 22-17 overall after a 9-5 win against Houston Baptist on April 11. North Texas currently ranks first in Conference USA with 46 and ranks 10th nationally at 1.18 home runs per game. The team hits .290 and has scored 188 runs, ranking second in C-USA in both categories.
Hanna Rebar is hitting .323 and ranks second in C-USA with 10 home runs. Lacy Gregory leads the squad with 30 RBI (tied for fourth in C-USA), while Bebar ranks second on UNT with 28 RBI. Katie Clark paces the squad with a .385 average, 27 runs and 15 stolen bases. Clark has hit 16 dingers and tallied 16 RBI. The pitching staff has a 3.43 ERA, led by Hope Trautwein (12-6).
Trautwein leads the team in wins, ERA (2.31), appearances (30), games started (19), innings (124.1) and K’s (122). Maria Priest (10-11) has thrown 118.1 frames with 53 K’s. The staff has combined for 95 walks in 265.0 innings.
ALL-TIME VS. NEW MEXICO
UTEP improved to 10-15 against New Mexico all-time after its no-hit performance on Feb. 17 in Las Vegas, Nev. The Miners defeated the Lobos 8-0 in five innings as Kira McKechnie and Devyn Cretz combined for UTEP’s seventh no-hitter in program history. Cretz threw 3.0 frames to earn the win and McKechnie tossed 2.0 frames.
The pair combined for five K’s and four walks. The Miners recorded 12 hits, led by Courtney Clayton’s 3-for-3, three-run outing. Cortney Smith went 2-for-3 with two RBI and a home run. Ariana Valles registered a two-run triple that won the game in the fifth. The Lobos last came to El Paso in 2016.
SCOUTING NEW MEXICO
New Mexico lost two of three against conference rival Colorado State by taking the first game 5-3 in 10innings. With the series loss, the Lobos moved to 11-28 on the season and 4-7 in Mountain West Conference play.
Offensively, the team holds a .252 batting average, including 23 home runs. Leading the team is senior Chelsea Johnson with an average of .357 (40-112) and seven home runs, ranking fourth in the league.
The Lobos record an ERA of 7.12. Team leader in the circle is sophomore Jensen Main with a 5.46 ERA, 100.0 innings tossed and 52 strikeouts. Against CSU, senior Krissy Fortner enter the game in the fifth inning to only allow three hits, no runs and a career-high seven strikeouts.