UTEP softball (5-15) drops two against no. 16 Texas Tech, 10-0 and 16-8.
Ariana Valles had a monster second game with three hits and two RBIs for the Miners. Kacey Duffield blasted her fifth homer of the year and recorded two RBIs on the day. The senior also reached base in every single at-bat during the final game of the day. Cortney Smith also went yard with the sixth bomb of her senior campaign. Kasey Flores registered a hit in her lone at-bat of the day, scoring her team-high 18th RBI of her freshman season.
The Red Raiders quickly tacked on three runs in their first appearance at the plate, taking the early lead, 3-0.
Duffield led off the second with a looping single into center field. Smith followed by drawing a walk with one out and two on base. That was all of the damage done in the inning from the Miners, who were still facing the tree run deficit.
In the bottom of the third inning, with runners threatening on base for the Red Raiders, the Miner defense stepped up turning a double play. Smith threw out a runner at home and the Linda Garcia gunned it to Pate Cathey, getting the Tech base runner into a pickle and eventually out to end the inning.
The UTEP bats were held in check after the Duffield hit, and Tech ended up taking the game, 10-0, in five innings.
The Miners jumped on the Red Raiders with urgency in the top of the first frame. Lindsey Sokoloski slapped a single up the middle and then advanced to second on an error. Valles, on the first pitch she saw sent a shot into left center, scoring Sokoloski to take the lead, 1-0.
Texas Tech poured on the offense in the bottom half of the inning, scoring eight to claim the lead, 8-1.
Ilena Santos hit a ball into deep right center for a double to lead off the inning. Valles smashed a single into center field, scoring Santos and cutting into the Tech lead, 8-2. Duffield came to the plate next and destroyed a ball into left center for her fifth homer of the year, 8-4.
Texas Tech had another good outing at the plate, pushing through four runs in the second frame, 12-4.
To lead off the third inning, Smith hit an absolute rocket over the left field fence, the sixth of her senior season, putting a dent in the Red Raider lead, 12-5.
The Orange and Blue was not going to lie down for the no. 14 team in the country, as Valles led off the top of the fourth with a single. Duffield followed up with a single of her own, and then Pate Cathey scored Valles on a fielder’s choice, 12-6. Kasey Flores entered the game, and registered a pinch-hit single to score Duffield. Flores found her way across the plate when Garcia sent a double down the left-field line, 12-8.
Texas Tech ended up scoring four runs in the bottom half of the fourth, and the Miners could not decrease the gap, falling to the Red Raiders.
>> Kacey Duffield has now reached base safely in 19 of the Miners’ 20 games, and smashed her fifth dinger of the year
>> Cortney Smith hit her team-high sixth home run of the season
>> Flores recorded her team-leading 18th RBI of her freshman campaign
The Miners are opening conference play with three games against Charlotte (March 9-10). This will also be the first home action of the season for UTEP in its return to Helen of Troy.