El Paso, TX — The UTEP softball team won two conference games in 2013. This season, the Miners have won three after defeating La Tech, 11-6, in the first game of a doubleheader, and won game two, 12-3, in five innings on Saturday at Lady Techster Softball Complex.
The Miners did it with 31 hits, solid pitching and a first-career home run from one of their seniors.
“Offensively, we came to play,” head coach Tobin Echo-Hawk said. “They did what they needed to do each game and kept scoring runs.”
It was the first time the Miners (11-17, 3-2 Conference USA) won back-to-back games against a conference opponent since taking two from Southern Miss on March 10, 2012. The Lady Techsters (8-17, 0-5) remain winless in the conference play.
“It was awesome, we came to play from the first pitch,” Echo-Hawk said. “Both pitchers Danielle (Pearson) and Colleen (Hohman) did their job and played well.”
In the circle and batter’s box, Pearson and Hohman showed up focused and ready. Pearson earned her fifth win on the rubber, pitching a complete game, and went 3-for-4 with three RBI in the first game. Hohman pitched a complete game with one earned run, three walks and three Ks. She too was 3-for-4 with three RBI and two runs scored.
Runs were bunched up during the first two innings. The Miners scored five runs in the top first and the Lady Techsters put up six. But the Orange and Blue held composure and took the lead back from La Tech by scoring two runs in the fourth inning, and kept a tight grasp on the lead with two more runs in the fifth and two in the sixth.
Ashley Eldridge started the run fest when she singled in Samantha Alvillar, who singled up the middle to open the contest. Kawehiokalani Netane singled to left field that plated Eldridge, while Tahla Wade stole home on the same play. Pearson kept the scoring alive with a single to the shortstop that brought Alanna Leasau across the dish. Netane would go ahead and score the final run on an error by the first baseman.
The second inning was highlighted by Bianca Duran’s two-run double, while Erin Kipp started the scoring spree with a single up the middle that scored Courtney Lowe for the Techsters.
But UTEP would not settle.
In the fourth inning, Wade would score a run that was set by an error, while Kayla Black grounded out to second base, but Eldridge made her way home. Erika Arcuri’s single to left center scored Jade Rodriguez and Eldridge singled down the left field line that brought Miraya Montiel home in the fifth inning. And in the sixth, Pearson slammed the nail in the coffin with a two-run single, scoring Netane and Black.
Alvillar, Wade and Montiel each had two hits, while Eldridge connected on three.
The Miners belted 15 hits and scored five runs in the third inning to complete the Saturday sweep.
Hohman hammered a two-run home run to centerfield that ignited the Miners during a three-run first inning.
The contest was highlighted by Montiel’s grand slam in the third inning. It was her first-career collegiate long ball.
“It was a shot that left the ballpark to leftfield,” Echo-Hawk said. “It was awesome and it got us pumped up.”
Wade and Eldridge each were 3-for-4, as Eldridge recorded two RBI and Arcuri was 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored.
The Miners will complete the three-game set on Sunday (Noon MT).