UTEP seniors Courtney Clayton, Kaitlin Ryder and Taylor Sargent will play their final home series as the Miners will host LA Tech to close out the regular season in a three-game set May 5-6.
The Miners (18-33, 7-14 C-USA) and Lady Techsters (33-18, 15-6 C-USA) will play a doubleheader on Saturday starting at 2 p.m., while Sunday’s ‘Senior Day’ contest will begin at noon at the Helen of Troy Softball Complex.
The senior ceremony will commence following the final out on Sunday.
The Miners are looking to advance to the C-USA Softball Championship in Charlotte, N.C., May 9-12, but will need some help to get there. UTEP needs to sweep LA Tech, while WKU (9-12) needs to lose all three contests at home against FIU and Southern Miss (8-13) can only win one game at Charlotte. With that scenario, UTEP will clinch the no. 8 seed in the postseason tournament.
The Miners and Lady Techsters field two of the best hitters in C-USA as junior Morgan Turkoly leads the league in hitting with a .403 average (58-144), while Clayton ranks no. 2 with a .395 batting average (64-162). LA Tech possess a lot of speed as it leads C-USA with 120 stolen bags, while ranking fifth nationally with 2.30 stolen bases per contest.
Clayton, Ryder and Sargent combined for 10 hits (.476 avg.) against Texas Tech on May 3. Clayton started her 207th consecutive contest, ranking second most in school history, while Ryder and Sargent each played in their 195th career game, ranking tied for eighth on the program’s all-time games’ list.
Cortney Smith’s bat lit up on Thursday, as the junior tied her career high with three RBI on a three-run home run against Texas Tech in game one, while also tying her career high with three hits in game two.
While the Miners are hoping for a postseason bid, the Lady Techsters have clinched a spot and are looking to keep the no. 1 overall seed. FIU and Florida Atlantic are both 12-7 in C-USA action.
ALL-TIME SERIES VS. LA TECH
The Miners are 9-10 all-time against the Lady Techsters. UTEP fell in a trio of contests last season at LA Tech. Taylor Sargent hit .375 with a double, triple and two RBI in series in Ruston. The Miners completed a sweep of LA Tech in 2016 at the Helen of Troy Softball Complex.
Cortney Smith hit .600 (3-5) with three runs scored, while Courtney Clayton racked up five RBI with four runs and a double on a 6-for-12 series. Kaitlin Ryder hit .455 (5-11) with two runs and four RBI. Taylor Sargent hit .364 (3-11) with three runs, a double and two RBI during the series sweep of the Lady Techsters.
SCOUTING LA TECH
The Lady Techsters are currently on a four-game winning streak after defeating Utah State 2-0 on April 29 to move 33-18 overall. LA Tech, in its last league series won two of three against UAB in Ruston April 21-22 to improve to 15-6 in Conference USA play, which has it ranked a top the C-USA standings.
Junior Preslee Gallaway pitched 6.2 innings against Utah State allowing only four base runners and tossing for eight strike outs. The Lady Techsters are hitting .278 (356-1279) and 24 home runs who has them ranked in third place offensively in conference. Offensive team leader is junior Morgan Turkoly with a .403 (58-144) batting average, ranking first in the league and four home runs. Turkoly extended her streak of consecutive games reach base to 37 contests, the longest in C-USA this season.
In the circle, the Lady Techsters record an ERA of 2.73 placing fourth in Conference action. Team leader in the circle is junior Preslee Gallaway with a 2.18 ERA, 148.0 innings pitched, 132 strike outs, and a 17-6 record in 34 appearances. Gallaway’s numbers rank in the top of C-USA.
Courtney Clayton will make her 208th start in game one on Saturday. The seniors’ consecutive starts rank second behind Stacie Townsend’s 217 consecutive starts from 2007-2010. Camilla Carrera started the most overall games during her career, 219 from 2008-2012 (missed most of 2011 due to injury).
OVERALL GAMES STARTED & PLAYED
As far as most games started, Courtney Clayton’s 207 games started is ranked fourth on the all-time most games started list. Ashley Ellis (2007-10) ranks third with 211 starts, while Stacie Townsend (217 starts) and Camilla Carrera (219) rank as the top two. In overall games played, Carrera leads with 227 games, while Townsend ranks second with 217 games played. Ellis (213) ranks third and Clayton is tied with Bennett with 205.
CLAYTON’S 2018 HITS
Courtney Clayton has 64 hits to this point of the season. Her senior season total currently ranks fifth on the program’s all-time single-season list. Clayton holds the school record with 79 knocks during her Conference USA Player of the Year 2016 campaign.
DIGGING UP RECORDS
After research in the 2018 Conference USA Record Book, it was found that Courtney Clayton’s 43 hits in C-USA only games during 2016 is the current single-season record in conference history. Clayton broke Audrey Rendon’s 11-year old record of 41 hits in 2005 while at Louisville.
DIGGING OUT TRIPLES
UTEP ranks second in C-USA with 11 triples after Courtney Clayton tripled against Ole Miss on April 20. The season total is also ranked third in school history for most triples during a single season. The 2005 and 2015 Miners recorded 12 triples during their respective campaigns.
Courtney Clayton is tied for the Conference USA lead with a career-high four triples after digging one out against Ole Miss on April 20. With that, she now has six triples during her career, ranking tied for second on the program’s all-time triple’s list with Sarah Ramirez and teammate Taylor Sargent. Tahla Wade leads the all-time list with nine. Clayton registered a pair of triples in 2016.
CLAYTON MOVING UP THE RBI LIST
Courtney Clayton recorded a RBI against Ole Miss on April 20 and another at Middle Tennessee, giving the senior 115 during her career and ranking fourth in the program’s all-time RBI list behind Stacie Townsend (124).
CC’S SUCCESSFUL CAREER
Courtney Clayton is ranked in the top five in multiple offensive categories. Clayton leads the all-time at bat’s list with 678 in her career. Clayton’s .360 career batting average is currently ranked third, while her runs (137) rank fifth behind Stacie Townsend (145). Clayton has totaled 244 hits, ranking second in program history (Camilla Carrera – 260 hits).
Clayton ranks second with 53 career doubles (Carrera – 57). Clayton’s 25 home runs rank tied for fourth with Simone Holland. Clayton ranks third in total bases (384), first in most sacrifice flies (eight) and first in most times reached base on error (32).
Courtney Clayton ranks no. 1 in program history with 382 career assists. Clayton ranks ninth with 395 career putouts and sixth with 815 career chances.
COURT’S IN SESSION
Courtney Clayton has put up big numbers during her senior campaign. Clayton ranks second in Conference USA and leads the Miners in hitting (.395). Clayton also paces UTEP in slugging (.667), on-base percentage (.438), runs scored (36), hits (64), RBI (29), doubles (15), triples (four), home runs (seven) and total bases (108). In C-USA only games, Clayton is ranked seventh with a .412 average in 21 league games, while her 28 hits are tied for third.
Kaitlin Ryder entered UTEP’s March 30 contest against UTSA with a .286 batting average after falling into a short slump. Since that game, Ryder is hitting .407 (22-54) with a home run, 11 runs, eight RBI, three doubles, a triple and three walks during the last 15 games (March 30-April 29). Ryder is upped her average to .329, ranking second on the team and in the top 25 in Conference USA. Ryder has also tallied 21 RBI, 26 runs, three home runs and 68 total bases.
RYDER’S CAREER NUMBERS
Kaitlin Ryder went a combined 4-for-7 against Texas Tech on May 3, adding four more hits to her career total. Ryder now has 177 career hits, moving to sixth on the program’s all-time list behind Amber Bennett (187). Ryder ranks tied for seventh with four career triples, tied for ninth with 17 career home runs and ranked ninth with 96 career RBI after posting a RBI against the Red Raiders.
RYDER’S SCHOOL RECORD
Kaitlin Ryder is the program leader with 19 career sacrifice hits after registering a trio sacrifice hits – the first at NM State on March 27 and two more against North Texas during the April 14 doubleheader. Ryder has four sac-hits to her credit in 2018 and entered the season with 15 sac-hits, ranking second.
Kaitlin Ryder scored a career-high four runs against UAB on March 18 during UTEP’s 16-13 victory. Ryder joins five other Miners and is tied for second most runs scored during a single game in program history. The last Miner to do so was Ryder’s teammate Pamala Baber who crossed the dish four times last season at New Mexico.
Chelsea Troupe scored four runs in two separate games in 2012 and Kelly Lombard did so twice in 2007. Simone Holland and Amber Bennett each scored four runs in single game during the 2007 season. Kayla Oranger holds to school record with five runs scored at Brown on March 3, 2012.
Taylor Sargent got off to a slow start as she entered the March 13 at Florida Atlantic hitting .218. Since then, Sargent is hitting .333 (21-63) with 15 runs six RBI, three doubles and two triples (23 games [March 13-May 3]). In 19 C-USA games played, Sargent is hitting .279 (12-43) with 11 runs, two doubles, a triple and three RBI.
$ARGENT IS ON THE MONEY
Taylor Sargent has made multiple ‘money’ plays the last few games, while boasting a .992 overall fielding percentage, playing the majority of the season in right field. Sargent’s throw to home from right to tag a runner out won game two against North Texas on April 14. Sargent followed with another assist from right to tag out a runner at home, this time against New Mexico on April 16. Of Sargent’s 10 assists, four of them have come from the outfield. The first came at FAU on March 13, while she posted another against Ole Miss on April 21.
SARGENT’S CAREER SUCCESS
Taylor Sargent has moved into the top 10 in multiple categories during her career. The senior ranks ninth with 551 career at bats, tied for second with six triples, tied for seventh with 11 sacrifice hits, tied for eighth by reaching base on error 19 times, ranks third with a .984 career fielding percentage, ranks fifth with 819 chances and fifth with 762 putouts. Sargent ranks tied for first with Simone Holland with 41 career double plays turned. Sargent has been part of six in 2018.