Andres Acosta / El Paso herald-Post
The UTEP softball team (8-20, 2-4 Conference USA) will take on Southern Miss (15-13, 2-4 C-USA) at Helen of Troy Softball Complex on Saturday (1 p.m. & 3:30 p.m. MT) and Sunday (12 p.m. MT)
Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for kids. This weekend fans can bring their dogs to Helen of Troy for the annual Bark at the Park. The marketing department will give out UTEP bandannas to fans in attendance as part of the game day promotion.
The Miners finally made their home debut after spending 20 games on the road to begin the season. They earned a series victory over Charlotte, 2-1, to open up conference play. The Miners followed up the strong home play against NM State, where the Miners dominated the second game scoring 11 runs with three home runs. Last year, UTEP went 15-8 at home and holds a 54-42 record at home since head coach Tobin Echo-Hawk has taken the lead of the program.
It is no secret the Miners like to play at their home stadium of Helen of Troy. The stats tell an interesting story. In 11 away games UTEP is batting .230 with 26 RBIs and only six home runs. At home in El Paso the Miners offense is batting .381 with 36 RBIs and eight homers in 126 less at-bats.
The Orange and Blue pitching staff has also benefited from the home field advantage posting an ERA that is 2.34 less than on the road. The 1-10 record on the road and 3-2 at home combined with the statistics behind the records truly tells a story of two teams.
For the Golden Eagles, Sarah Van Schaik is leading in batting average (.378), hits (31), doubles (11), RBIs (25) and total bases (47). The pitching staff is posting an impressive 1.99 ERA that is pacing Conference USA. The Miners have the edge in power over Southern Miss with 19 more homers.
UTEP’s Kacey Duffield, Kasey Flores and Cortney Smith have combined for 21 home runs, 60 RBI, 79 hits and a .351 batting average for the Orange and Blue. The trio of bats in the Miner lineup have been a problem for opposing pitching staffs.
In the first game of the season versus Creighton (Feb. 8), the three sluggers made their presence known, with Smith and Flores smacking two homers each and Duffield adding another. Smith and Flores are the first pair of teammates to record two home runs in the same game since 2006 when three Miners did it against NM State in 2006 (Amber Bennett, Amber Camancho and Ashley Perez).
Flores ranks third in slugging percentage (.731) and Duffield rates fourth (.708) for Conference USA. The long ball is a major weapon for the Miners as they lead the league in homers (32). Smith, Flores and Duffield each have hit seven home runs.
They rank tied for second most in Conference USA in that department. Middle Tennessee’s Lexi Cushing and Marshall’s Mya Stevenson are tied for the league lead with eight home runs each.
UTEP will travel to UAB to take on the Blazers (March 30-31). The Miners will start a string of nine consecutive away games (at Arizona [DH], at New Mexico, at LA Tech).
For more information about the team day program call the UTEP marketing department at (915) 747-6065.