UTEP softball travels to face Tulsa
El Paso, TX — The UTEP softball team will travel to Oklahoma to take on No. 18 Tulsa in athree-game series March 29 and 30 at the Collins Family Softball Complex. Game one of Saturday’s doubleheader will be shown on FOX Sports Southwest (3 p.m. CT/2 p.m. MT).
The weekend matchup will mark the fifth time UTEP will face a Top 25 program this season – No. 9 Nebraska (Feb. 7), No. 12 Florida State (Feb. 8), No. 10 Arizona (Feb. 25 & 26) and No. 7 Washington (March 2).
“The RPI came out this week and Tulsa is 13th, so we definitely have a challenge ahead of us,” head coach Tobin Echo-Hawk said. “The great news is, if you look at the RPIs, 1-19, we’ve played Washington (19), Arizona (eight), Nebraska (nine), and we’ve played Florida State (four). So it’s not like we haven’t seen that type of caliber team before. Hopefully that preseason tough schedule will pay off against a team like Tulsa, because we already know what to expect.”
The Golden Hurricane (29-3, 6-0 Conference USA) currently stand in first place, while the Miners (12-21, 4-5 C-USA) are in ninth place in the conference standings. Eight of the 13 schools will make the C-USA Tournament May 8-10 in Boca Raton, Fla.
The Miners are 0-5 against those Top 25 teams and will have to play flawless against the Golden Hurricane.
“We have to play good ball – nearly perfect,” Echo-Hawk said. “They’re a good team and we have to limit our mistakes. We need to do what we’ve been doing offensively for this tough challenge. Their pitcher is one of the top pitchers in the country.”
Tulsa’s ace in the circle is Aimee Creger. She is 13-1 with a 1.12 ERA and 166 Ks in 93.2 innings.
The Miners have a team batting average of .315, 18 home runs and have scored 178 runs this season. The team hit 18 home runs and scored 177 runs during the 2013 campaign.
Erika Arcuri is one of six Miners hitting over .300. The senior outfielder leads the team with a .391 batting average (43-for-110) and runs scored (24). Arcuri is also ranked second in conference in toughest tostrikeout, whiffing only four times this season (every 26.8 at bats).
Also on the offensive attack include, Ashley Eldridge (.365), Miraya Montiel (.361), Colleen Hohman (.346) and Tahla Wade (.343) who are also hitting over .300. Montiel also hit her first-career home run on March 15, a grand slam during a 12-3 win over La Tech. Wade leads the team in triples (three), while Hohman is tied with Alanna Leasau with six home runs and 20 RBI. Leasau is batting .295 on the season.
Eldridge is seeing double, as the junior leads the nation with 16 doubles. She is already tied third for most in a single season and is three away from tying the program record. Camilla Carrera tallied 19 during the 2009 campaign. Eldridge also leads the squad with 27 RBI.
UTEP and Tulsa will finish out the series on Sunday (12 p.m. MT).
Series vs. Tulsa
UTEP is 5-28 all time against Tulsa. The Miners have lost their last 10 meeting versus the Golden Hurricane, including lastseason’s series sweep in El Paso. Tulsa defeated UTEP 11-1 and 5-0 on April 27, 2013, and 8-0 on April 28. The Miners last victory came on May 1, 2010, a 4-2 win in Tulsa.
The Last Meeting
UTEP was blanked by No. 25 Tulsa, 8-0, in five innings on April 28, 2013 at the Helen of Troy Softball Complex. Creger, no-hit the Miners to pick up her 21st win of the season. Creger walked two and struck out five during the victory.
The first-place Golden Hurricane are led offensively by C-USA’s top hitter Jill Barrett. The senior is hitting .496 (57-for-115) with two long balls and 21 RBI. Haley Henshaw leads the team with 23 RBI, while Erica Sampson is pacing the squad with six home runs.
As a team, Tulsa is hitting .344, with 26 home runs and has scored 204 runs.
In the circle, Creger leads Tulsa’s pitching staff, but Bailey Erwin in 9-0 with a 1.00 ERA and four saves, while Caitlin Sill is 7-2 with a 1.43 ERA. The two have combined for 117 innings and 85 Ks.