File photo by Andres ‘Ace’ Acosta – Chief Photographer – El Paso Herald Post
The UTEP softball team will head west to take part in a five-game slate at the Aggie Invitational (Feb. 21-23) hosted by UC Davis in Davis, California.
The Miners will begin the weekend with a double header versus UC Davis on Thursday Feb. 21 (1 p.m. & 3:30 p.m. MT). UTEP will then take on Idaho State (10 a.m. MT) and Saint Mary’s (12 p.m. MT) to conclude the second day of action.
On Saturday the Miners will battle Seattle (10 a.m. MT) to finish off play at the Aggie Invitational.
THE SUN CITY BOMBERS
UTEP’s Kacey Duffield, Kasey Flores and Cortney Smith combined for 11 home runs, 31 RBI, 37 hits and a .493 batting average in the first two weekends of play 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 (1.214), Smith (1.000) and Duffield (.783) rank first, second and 10th in slugging percentage for Conference USA, respectively.
The long ball will be a major weapon for the Miners as the season progresses.
FLORES HEAT CHECK
Freshman Kasey Flores has had an incredible opening two weekends where she has posted a .571 batting average, five home runs, 16 hits and 16 RBI. She earned Conference USA Player of the Week and NFCA Top Performer recognition after the opening four games of play due to her ridiculous bat.
In her first collegiate game, Flores had two home runs, one single and seven RBIs. Her RBI total for the game is tied for the second most in UTEP history and is the most in a debut by a Miner. The freshman is leading the conference in batting average (.571), home runs (five), RBIs (16) and slugging percentage (1.214).
Flores has reached base safely in all nine games this season and is currently on an eight-game hitting streak.
FRESHMAN ON TOP
Kasey Flores is the highest-ranking freshman in hits (16), slugging percentage (1.214) and total bases (34) nationally. The freshman also rates second in home runs (5) and RBIs (16) and third in batting average (.571) amongst college newbies across the country.
Flores is the highest ranked freshman in C-USA in batting average, hits, runs scored, slugging percentage, on-base percentage and total bases.
CORT IS IN SESSION
Senior Cortney Smith started her final season with a bang. In her first at-bat versus Creighton (Feb. 8), she hit a two-run bomb into deep right field. In the next inning, Smith went yard again tacking on another three runs to her RBI total (five) for the day.
The senior, after the first two weekends of play, is posting a .417 batting average, 10 hits, four home runs, 10 runs scored and 11 RBIs.
UC DAVIS SCOUTING REPORT
The Miners fell to UC Davis last weekend at the Boyd Gaming Rebel Classic. The Aggies boast a 6-2 record after their trip to Las Vegas, Nev., last weekend. Sophomore pitcher Brooke Yanez was awarded Big West Pitcher of the Week for the fourth time in her career. Yanez posted a 3-1 record with a 2.58 ERA in 19 innings of work. The pitcher also notched 26 strikeouts to only seven walks, six of which came against the Miners, and held opponents to a .212 batting average. Meghan Bradbury is pacing UC Davis at the plate, hitting .435 with 10 hits, three doubles, two home runs and nine RBIs.
IDAHO STATE SCOUTING REPORT
UTEP run ruled the Bengals, 9-0, in five innings the last time they met in 2018. Idaho State holds a 2-4 record heading into Davis, Calif. It is posting a .239 batting average as a team and has stolen 10 bases on the year. The Bengals play small ball in the batter’s box, averaging just over six hits per game with no home runs on the year. Bengals’ freshman Autumn Pease was named the Big Sky Conference Pitcher of the Week after the first weekend of play. She posted a 0.78 ERA with 12 strikeouts and a perfect 2-0 record in her appearances.
SAINT MARY’S SCOUTING REPORT
The Orange and Blue was victorious over the Gaels, 7-0, last season when the two teams met. The Gaels are 1-4 to begin their 2019 campaign. Bailey Lotz is leading the way at the plate, hitting .417 with five hits and a team-high three RBIs. Saint Mary’s opened up the year with a victory over Georgia Southern, 7-5, where Erin McCoy earned the victory in the circle with eight strikeouts, and Sofia Earle capped off the win by throwing 1.1 innings to receive the save.
SEATTLE SCOUTING REPORT
This will be the first meeting between the Miners and Redhawks. Seattle has posted a 6-4 record through its first 10 games of the season. At the Boyd Rebel Gaming Classic, the Redhawks went a perfect 5-0, winning by an average of six runs per contest. Bailey Thompson and Carley Nance were named Western Athletic Conference Hitter and Pitcher of the Week, respectively, for their performances in Las Vegas, Nev. Thompson went 8-13 with five home runs with 11 RBIs, while Nance threw 17.1 innings with 16 strikeouts and a perfect 3-0 record.