The UTEP softball team (1-1, 0-0) split opening day action, defeating Creighton (0-1, 0-0), 13-4, and falling to New Mexico (1-0, 0-0), 15-6. Freshman Kasey Flores amassed seven RBI against Creighton in her collegiate debut that tied for the second most during a single game in program history. Senior Cortney Smith added two homeruns in the first game of the day with five RBI.
UTEP fell behind in the first inning after giving up two runs to the Bluejays in the first inning. Cortney Smith promptly corrected the situation, hitting a two-run bomb over the right field fence in the first at-bat of her senior season.
With the score tied (2-2) in the bottom of the second frame, freshman Kasey Flores hit a single through the left side of the infield, driving in Ilena Santos and Pamala Baber for the first two runs of her career. Ariel Blair would get on base from a walk, and then Smith came to the plate, blasting her second homerun of the game scoring three more runs to bring the Miner lead to five runs, 7-2.
Flores, a native of El Paso, joined in on the long-ball action in the fourth inning by hitting the first homer of her college career and bringing the Miner run count to nine (9-4). Senior Kacey Duffield brought the homerun count to four with a solo shot in the bottom of the fifth.
The Orange and Blue were leading 10-4 in the bottom of the sixth with Ariana Valles and Mallorie Cross reached base for Flores. Flores made Miner history with one swing of the bat as she homered to deep center field, ending the game by run rule, 13-4. With that swing she scored the most runs in a debut game for a Miner (seven) and secured the first opening-game victory in the Tobin Echo-Hawk era.
Senior Julia Wright (1-0) was awarded the victory in the circle, pitching a complete game with five strikeouts. Flores posted three hits (single and two homeruns) and seven RBI. Smith hit dingers of her own with five RBI, and Duffield added an RBI off of her homerun.
UTEP fell behind early against the Lobos by a score of 7-0 with nine walks after two innings and failed to recover from the deficit falling to the Lobos 15-6.
Flores notched her third homer and eighth RBI of the day in an incredible debut for a freshman. Duffield locked in her second bomb of the day, marking three Miners with multiple homeruns for the opening day of the 2019 season.
The Miner pitching staff saw Kira McKechnie, Bryana Munoz, Nadya Orozco and Allie Johnson reach the circle. Johnson saw the most action with 3.0 innings pitched and four strikeouts, and Orozco followed with 2.2 innings of work with three strikeouts. Munoz recorded the loss for the game (0-1).
“I think we started out really well. Julia (Wright) had a great game. She was a little nervous in that first inning, but she came back and kept us in the game. Our offense really helped us all day. We had some really great at-bats, and we had some power numbers. It came from a lot of different people so that was nice. Its nice to see Cortney Smith, Kacey Duffield and Kasey Flores have some really big success right off the bat. The key is just making sure we keep doing that.”
>> First opening-game victory in the Echo-Hawk era
>> Kasey Flores recorded the most RBI (seven) in a debut game, and is the first Miner to hit two homeruns in their first game
The Miners will take part in the final day of the NM State Invitational on Saturday (Feb. 9). UTEP will play Creighton (12:30 p.m. MT) and host-school NM State (5:30 p.m. MT).