LAS CRUCES, N.M. – The UTEP softball team fell in a pair of games versus No. 24 Arkansas, 10-0, and Nebraska, 10-7, on Friday in the team’s opening day of action at the NM State Troy Cox Classic in Las Cruces.
UTEP (0-2) tallied a combined 17 hits on the day with senior first baseman Bryanna Molina leading the way, going 3-for-5 at the dish with a pair of RBIs, a walk and a run scored. Pate Cathey and Kasey Flores tallied two hits apiece on Friday, while each homered in the Miners’ second game versus Nebraska.
The Miners also saw production from a trio of freshmen in Idalis Mendez, Karina Somoza and Zaylie Calderon with each tallying a pair of base knocks in the two games. Mendez started both games in centerfield for the Miners and finished the afternoon 2-for-4 at the plate with a home run, two runs scored, a pair of walks and five total bases on the day.
UTEP returns to action at 2 p.m. on Saturday when the Miners take on the Nebraska Cornhuskers once again at the NM State Softball Complex in Las Cruces. On Sunday, UTEP will take on Bradley (1-0) at 11:30 a.m. MT before closing out the weekend versus the host NM State Aggies at 2 p.m. that afternoon.
GAME 1: ARKANSAS 10, UTEP 0 (5 INN.)
UTEP fell to the No. 24-ranked Arkansas Razorbacks (1-1), 10-0, on Friday morning in a shortened contest at the NM State Softball Complex in Las Cruces.
The Miners found themselves down 2-0 after the first two frames before Arkansas put up crooked numbers in the third, fourth and fifth innings to close out the first game of the day.
In the circle, the Miners struggled with command, issuing 12 walks and plunking four batters in the game, while Arkansas scored 10 earned runs with seven base hits on the day.
The Razorbacks pitched a five-inning shutout, holding UTEP to four hits in the game and no walks, while striking out three. Autumn Storms (1-0) picked up the win for the Razorbacks, while Allie Johnson (0-1) was charged with the loss in the circle for UTEP.
Despite picking up the loss in the first game, Johnson forced the Razorbacks to strand a total of 13 runners on base in the game, including surviving base-loaded jams in each of the first four innings.
UTEP was held at bay at the plate for the majority of the game, but the Miners did get some production out of Ilena Santos, Calderon, Mendez and Somoza, who each had a base hit on the day.
GAME 2: NEBRASKA 10, UTEP 7
The UTEP bats came alive in the second game on Friday as the Miners fought back from an early 5-0 deficit on multiple occasions, but eventually fell, 10-7, to Nebraska.
Freshman Isabella Kelly got her first collegiate start in the circle for the Miners and battled through a rocky start in the first two innings, eventually settling in and letting the UTEP offense go to work.
Down 5-0 through the first inning and a half, UTEP received a spark to begin the bottom of the second when sophomore Pate Cathey ripped a solo home run to left field to get the Miners on the board. A pair of strikeouts then led to a two-out double by Ariana Valles, who came around to score on an RBI single by Bryanna Molina to make it a 5-2 deficit.
Kelly held the Huskers scoreless through the next two frames, while UTEP chipped away at the lead with a run scored in each of the third and fourth innings thanks to a solo homer by Kasey Flores and an RBI double by pinch hitter Mallorie Cross.
Nebraska added an insurance run in the fifth, but UTEP once again responded in the bottom half of the inning with its third solo home run of the game, this time off the bat of Idalis Mendez to make it a one-run ball game.
The sixth inning spelled doom for the Miners with Nebraska breaking open the game by plating four runs on three hits, a pair of walks and a defensive mishap to give the Huskers a 10-5 advantage.
In the bottom of the sixth, the UTEP bats once again answered the call, plating two runs on an RBI single by Macey Brown and a bases-loaded walk from Molina to score Mendez and make it a three-run game, but the Miners left the bases juiced to end the inning and eventually the game.
Molina led UTEP in game two, going a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate with two RBIs, a walk and a run scored, while Cathey and Flores each had two hits apiece in the contest.
Courtney Wallace (1-0) picked up the win in the circle for Nebraska, while Lindsey Walljasper (1) earned her first save of the year after pitching a scoreless seventh inning. Santos (0-1) was charged with the loss for the Miners after allowing six runs on 11 hits and five walks in 6.2 innings of work. Ilena Santos also pitched a third of an inning for UTEP, allowing four runs on three hits and issuing a pair of walks.
All Troy Cox Classic games are set to stream live on FLOSOFTBALL (subscribers only). Live stats for every game this weekend will be available through www.StatBroadcast.com.