Miners win two games at UTEP Invitational
El Paso, TX — After a sluggish start to the 2014 campaign, the UTEP softball team slugged its way to a couple big victories on day one at the UTEP Invitational at Helen of Troy Softball Complex on Friday.
The Miners (3-9) took care of business, defeating Incarnate Word, 12-4, in five innings, and beating Houston Baptist, 5-2, to close out the day. It was the first back-to-back wins for the Orange and Blue since defeating Siena on March 26 and 27 of last season.
“It was a good day overall,” first-year head coach Tobin Echo-Hawk said. “I think our pitchers did a nice job. I think Taylor (Grohmann) coming in the first game did well and Danielle (Pearson) giving up four hits in the second game did a good job against a good-hitting team – I think that shows a lot about her potential.”
The two victories were Echo-Hawk’s first of her UTEP career in the Sun City.
UTEP 12, Incarnate Word 4 (5 innings)
The Miners found themselves down 3-0 heading into the bottom of the second inning, but answered with four runs to take the advantage.
Senior Miraya Montiel plated fellow classman Kayla Black on a bunt single for the Miners’ first run. Black reached on an error to start the inning, while senior Colleen Hohman’s singled through the left side (advanced to third on the Montiel bunt). Senior Erika Arcuri, who’s hitting .500 in her last five games, sprinted out a triple to right center that scored Montiel and Hohman to tie the contest. The Miners took the lead when Junior Samantha Alvillar advanded Arcuri across the dish on a sac-fly to left field.
Incarnate Word would tie the game in the top of the fourth, but that was it as UTEP scored seven runs the next two innings to clip the Cardinals.
Black doubled in sophomore Kawehiokalani Netane in thethird, while senior Alanna Leasau blasted her third home run of the season, a two-run shot to center field in the bottom fourth. Brianna Tourtillott sealed the game. The freshman smacked a two-run double to right center, and eventually scored the game-winning run on a fielder’s choice. Tourtillott tallied her first-career RBI.
“On offense, we did awesome,” Echo-Hawk said. “We had key, timely hits and when we had runners in scoring position we did something with it. It’s nice to see everybody participate and the kids that have struggled in the past get some hits.”
Redshirt freshman Taylor Grohmann finished out the game, picking up her first-career win.
UTEP 5, Houston Baptist 2
Danielle Pearson garnered victory No. 2 as the sophomore tamed the Huskies with a complete game. Pearson allowed only four hits, walked one and struck out three to lead the charge.
“The good thing about (Pearson) is I think she just worked to get outs today,” Echo-Hawk explained. “She didn’t see the big picture – she just focused on the next batter. Our defense played great behind her and got the little outs we needed.”
Alvillar started at shortstop for the first time this season. She made clutch plays, leading the squad with four assists, and recording five putouts.
“I think Sam did a great job at shortstop, making some huge plays for us in crucial times,” Echo-Hawk added.
Junior Tahla Wade was 2-for-4, with two RBI (run-one singles in the fifth and seventh innings). Junior McKenzey Finley notched her second RBI of the season (run-one single that scored Leasau in the fifth), while Black knocked in her third run of the day (a one-run double in the third). Arcuri finished 3-for-4 in the nightcap.
The Miners continue the weekend with Houston Baptist (3 p.m. MT) and Incarnate Word (5:30 p.m.) on Saturday. The Miners close out the Invitational on Sunday against Incarnate Word (1:30 p.m.). All games are free admission.