UTSA Defeats UTEP 7-2, Roadrunners Avoid Series Sweep

After claiming the series win with Friday’s doubleheader sweep, UTEP fell in the series finale 7-2 against UTSA on Saturday at the Helen of Troy Softball Complex.

The Miners (13-24, 3-9 Conference USA) recorded 11 hits, their second consecutive game with double-digit knocks, but 12 runners were left on base during the Saturday contest. The Roadrunners (15-15, 4-5 C-USA) tallied 13 hits, while scoring three runs in the first inning, two in the fifth and two more in the seventh.

“We left runners on and had untimely walks,” fifth-year UTEP head coach Tobin Echo-Hawk said. “[UTSA] barley hit the ball, but they fell in the right places and we crush the ball, they’re hit right to [UTSA].”

Courtney Clayton produced another multi-hit game, going 2-for-4 while tallying her team-leading third triple of the season and fourth stolen base of the season. Clayton now has 68 multi-hit games in her career, while she now ranks tied for third on the all-time triple’s list with five in her career. Clayton also became the program’s all-time leader with 363 assists after registering six during the weekend series.

Kira McKechnie put the Miners on the board first as the junior recorded a career high in hits on a 2-for-4 outing, while registering her second double of the season that plated Ariana Valles during the third inning to make the score 3-1.

Mariah Ellis used a pinch-hit single that scored Taylor Sargent in the fourth frame to get within a run (3-2). But UTSA answered with two runs in the top fifth.

Cortney Smith added a 2-for-3 performance, her first multi-hit game since March 12, while Sargent went 2-for-3 for a second consecutive game. Sargent hit .571 during the weekend series.

UTEP turned its 17th double play of the season during the fifth inning. Kylea Nix lined a ball just over Devyn Cretz’s head, but Cretz threw her glove up, snagged the ball and threw to first base for the double play.

Cretz threw 3.0 frames in relief with a strikeout, while starting hurler Julia Wright (3-13) threw 4.0 innings with two K’s and two walks.

UTEP will look the build on the series win as it makes its first ever trip to Bowling Green, Ky., to take on WKU April 7-8. The two programs met for the first time ever last season in El Paso. The Miners took game one, 10-2 [6], but fell in the next two contests.

“When you win the weekend, it’s always a positive thing heading into the next series,” Echo-Hawk said. “We’re swinging the bats well and even today, we really did it right to [UTSA]. I would like to see better at bats when runners are in scoring position. There were multiple times where we could’ve scored runs. We gave them easy outs with pop outs in the infield. That’s not what we’re looking for.”

Ashleyn Walls went 3-for-4 with an RBI in the first inning, while Celeste Borza also went 3-for-4 with a pair of RBI (first and fifth inning). Leadoff hitter Celeste Loughman went 2-for-4 and scored the game’s first run for the third consecutive time during the weekend. Bailee Baldwin tallied a RBI on a sac-fly during the seventh.