R-So. OF Idalis Mendez | Photo by Ruben R. Ramirez – UTEP Athletics
UTEP softball (3-7) held onto its three-run lead to defeat Incarnate Word (2-6), 4-3, Friday afternoon following its loss to Montana (3-9), 5-2, earlier in day one’s competition in the 2021 Orange and Blue Classic at Helen of Troy Field.
Redshirt sophomore Idalis Mendez continued her hot start at the plate, going 6-for-7 over the two games to put her average at .679 on the season.
Mendez currently leads the country in batting average (minimum 28 at-bats) through the first month of the season. Oklahoma’s Jocelyn Alo is second with a .629 average in 35 plate appearances.
UTEP 4 – UIW 2
The Miners opened the bottom of the first inning with back-to-back singles by sophomore Zaylie Calderon and junior Pate Cathey. Mendez brought Calderon across the plate with a base hit to right field.
Junior Kasey Flores lined out to left field in the next at-bat, allowing Cathey to tag up from third base and score, 2-0.
Sophomore Izzy Kelly got the nod in game two and gave up just one run in her four-and-two-thirds innings of work. The Cardinals’ run came on a bases-loaded walk in the top half of the second inning.
Kelly threw two shutout frames before the Miners were threatening again at the plate. In the fourth inning, Cathey ripped a two-RBI double in the gap after freshman Ashlynn Allen beat out an infield single and sophomore Karina Somoza reached on an error earlier in the inning, 4-1.
Cathey leads UTEP in RBIs (7) and is second on the team in hits (11) with a .379 batting average through the first ten games of the season.
UIW tallied one more run off a fielding error by Allen in left field with Calderon pitching in relief, 4-2. Calderon trotted back out to the circle in the top of the sixth to face the meat of UIW’s order and picked up two outs before giving up her second walk of the inning.
Head coach T.J. Hubbard signaled for Kelly to re-enter in as pitcher. Kelly loaded the bases when she walked the third batter of the inning but got out of the jam by producing a fly out to left field.
The Miners allowed two more walks in the top of the seventh inning: one from Kelly and one from freshman Mackenzee Collins. Collins ended the game sending the Cardinals’ Tori Alvarez-Lopez down looking to earn the first save of her career.
MONTANA 5 – UTEP 2
Collins was the starter for UTEP game one and allowed five runs (two earned) over six innings.
The Miners were held to two hits through the first four innings. Both of those hits belonged to Mendez who finished 4-for-4 in the game with an RBI double as the Miners attempted to put together a two-out rally in the seventh.
Allen reached base on her first career hit: a double to left center. Allen followed that at-bat with another hit later in the seventh inning.
UTEP’s bats were held in check by Grizzlies’ pitcher Tristin Achenbach, sending the Miners down on strikes 12 times in the game.
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