EL PASO, TEXAS (KTSM) – UTEP (4-10) hung crooked numbers on the scoreboard in three of the final five innings on Sunday to win its second straight in an 8-4 victory over Omaha (7-7) at Helen of Troy Softball Complex.
Kasey Flores hit two home runs in the win, including a go-ahead two-run shot in the fifth to help lead the Miners to a victory. Flores provided some cushion to UTEP’s lead in the sixth with a three-run homer to right field to put the game out of reach.
Freshman Isabella Kelly (3-6) picked up another win in the circle for the Miners less than 24 hours after clinching a 6-5 win over IUPUI on Saturday night. On Sunday, Kelly pitched seven full innings, while allowing four runs – only two earned – and striking out a season-high four in the win over Omaha.
UTEP broke up a scoreless tie in the third after Macey Brown and Zaylie Calderon reached on back-to-back singles before Idalis Mendez drove in the first run of the game. Calderon and Mendez eventually came around to score later in the inning when Ariana Valles laced a two-run single up the middle to give the Miners a 3-0 advantage.
The three-run lead was short-lived, though, when Omaha answered back immediately in the fourth by plating four runs – only two of which were earned after a pair of Miner fielding mishaps.
With Omaha leading 4-3, UTEP came to bat in the fifth and wasted no time regaining the lead. Mendez led off the inning by beating out an infield single to shortstop before Flores drove an 0-2 pitch over the fence in right field to give the Miners a 5-4 lead heading to the sixth.
Pate Cathey and Calderon both walked in the sixth before Flores capped off an 11-pitch at bat with a three-run opposite field home run to extend UTEP’s lead to four entering the final frame.
Kelly shut the door on the Mavericks in the top of the seventh, allowing just one base hit, but limiting the damage by inducing a pair of ground outs and a line drive to Cathey at shortstop to cap off the victory.
Flores led the Miners at the plate after going 2-for-4 with two home runs and driving in five runs in the win over Omaha. Mendez also recorded a two-hit day with an RBI and two runs scored, while Ilena Santos continued her impressive weekend with a double and a walk in three at bats. UTEP also saw offensive production off the bats of Calderon, Valles, Brown and Pamala Baber in the win.
The Miners return to the diamond next weekend at the Boyd Rebel Gaming Classic in Las Vegas. The tournament is scheduled for Feb. 28-March 1 with UTEP set to face Houston and UNLV twice each and NM State once. UTEP will open the tournament at 10 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 28 versus Houston.