Doubleheader: UTEP to Host Texas Tech on Thursday

The UTEP softball team will host Big 12 program Texas Tech on May 3 in a doubleheader starting at noon at the Helen of Troy Softball Complex.

Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for children. The giveaway for Thursday’s games will be foam bats for the first 150 fans.

The Miners (18-31) and Red Raiders (26-24) will player their final non-conference contests of the season. UTEP will then host Conference USA foe LA Tech May 5-6, while Texas Tech will begin preparations for the 2018 Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship.

UTEP is coming off a series loss at Middle Tennessee April 28-29, while Texas Tech is coming off a non-conference victory against Abilene Christian (10-2 [5]) on Tuesday night and sweep of Big 12 opponent Kansas April 27-29. Texas Tech is making its first trip to El Paso since the 2015 season when the Miners swept the two-game series.

The Miners’ trio of seniors Courtney Clayton, Taylor Sargent and Kaitlin Ryder will have a chance to play more regular season games before ‘Senior Weekend’ against LA Tech.

Following its contests versus Texas Tech, UTEP will prepare for LA Tech. The Miners are still bidding for the no. 8 seed in the C-USA Softball Championship in Charlotte, N.C. May 9-12.

In order for UTEP to advance to postseason play, this scenario needs to happen – UTEP needs to sweep LA Tech, WKU needs to be swept at home versus FIU and Southern Miss can only win one game at Charlotte.

UTEP is 5-7 all-time against Texas Tech after losing a pair of contests in Lubbock last season. Cortney Smith hit a home run in game two, while posting a pair of RBI and Kaitlin Ryder registered a pair of RBI. The Miners recorded 10 hits during the contest. The Red Raiders last made the trip to El Paso in 2015 as the Miners swept the two-game series. UTEP won game one, 5-3, and game two, 9-7, on March 11, 2015. Courtney Clayton went a combined 2-for-6 with two runs scored in the series. Kaitlin Ryder registered a pinch-hit single during the sixth in game two.

The Red Raiders run-ruled Abilene Christian, 10-2 [5], on May 1 to improve to 26-24 overall. Texas Tech also completed a sweep of Kansas after a 1-0 victory on April 29 to move to 5-13 in Big 12 action. Kelcy Leach went 1-for-2 with three RBI, which included a three-run home run during the first inning. Against Kansas in the series finale, sophomore Kassidy Scott pitched a complete game, allowing just two hits and four total baserunners on the day.

The Red Raiders outhit Kansas 32-13 during the series and played error-free ball for all three games.

The team ranks fourth in the Big 12 Conference with a batting average of .289 and 41 home runs, being the third best mark in the league. Leading the team offensively is junior Jessica Hartwell with a .386 (54-140) average and ranking ninth in the conference, while her 16 home runs are the second-best number in the league. Hartwell also leads the team with 48 RBI. The Red Raiders have stolen 60 bases led by Karli Hamilton’s 14 and Hartwell’s 13 stolen bags.

Hamilton has also chipped in with seven dingers and 46 RBI. In the circle, the Red Raiders record an ERA of 3.79. Team leader in the circle is freshman Erin Edmoundson with a 3.09 ERA, 151.2 innings pitched, 5.26 strikeouts per game, and a 14-10 record; alongside Edmoundson is Scott with a 3.95 ERA, and 133.0 innings pitched including the shutout victory on Sunday against Kansas.

Courtney Clayton will make her 206th start on Thursday. 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).

As far as most games started, Courtney Clayton is ranked tied with Amber Bennett (2006-09) for 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. Ashley Ellis (213) ranks third and Clayton is tied with Bennett with 205.

Courtney Clayton has 61 hits to this point of the season. Her senior season total currently ranks eighth 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.