A day after rain postponed Saturday’s game, The UTEP softball team continued on Sunday, winning, 10-4, over Southern Miss with clutch hitting to capture its first conference win. But the Miners (10-15, 1-4 C-USA) fell to the Golden Eagles (11-21, 1-7 C-USA) in game two, 4-3, in extra innings at the USM Softball Complex.
The Miners’ consistent hitting with two outs proved to be the formula for scoring. UTEP hitters were 7-for-15 with two outs, to whichthree of those hits scored seven runs.
Senior Ashley Collazo ripped a two-out, three-run home run down the left line to give the Orange and Blue the early lead in the secondinning on Saturday afternoon before rainy conditions postponed the game. The very next day in the next inning, freshman Danielle Pearson, who started in the circle, hit a two-run single down the left line that brought junior Erika Arcuri and senior Ashley Oranger across home plate.
The Golden Eagles answered with two runs in each of the innings but the Miners took a 5-4 lead heading into the fourth.
Collazo and sophomore Ashley Eldridge both singled up the middle to start the inning. Oranger and Arcuri would each ground out, but Collazo and Eldridge were put into scoring position for Alanna Leasau. The junior hit a two-run single through the left side that gave her squad a 7-4lead.
The Miners tacked on three insurance runs in the sixthinning. Oranger and Arcuri both singled with two outs and Leasau reached first on a fielding error that advanced Arcuri to third and Oranger to home. Senior Kayleigh Walts then hit a two-run triple to right center.
Pearson (5-5) had a productive day as she threw her second complete game of the season and struck out three batters. She, along with Oranger, Arcuri, Collazo, and Eldridge, had multi-hit games. Collazo finished with three RBI, while Leasau, Walts, and Pearson each drove in two runs.
The Miners had a 3-1 lead heading into the sixth inning, but Michelle Stringer tied the game with a two-run home run down the right line. The Golden Eagles won their first conference game in the bottom ninth when Mackenzie Sher hit a bases-loaded sac-fly to center that brought in the winning run.
The Miners threatened to score in the eighth inning when freshman Morgan Rasmason tried to steal home, but got caught to end the inning.
Walts went 2-for-3 with two RBI and a run scored, while Oranger had a three-hit day with a run scored and Arcuri had a two-hit day with a run scored. Pearson (5-6) threw another 8.2 innings with two strikeouts.
The Miners will begin a string of seven games in a row at the Helen of Troy Softball Complex starting with a doubleheader against Siena on Tuesday, March 26 at 3 p.m. MT.