UTEP swept by North Texas, fall to tenth place

Luis Barrio, Staff Reporter

UTEP was riding the momentum of a three-game sweep March 15 and 16 against Louisiana Tech, coming into the three-game home series against North Texas. This Mean Green team was at the top of the Conference USA standings.

The Miners dropped all three games of the series, but would not walk away without having learned something from the defeat.

“This weekend was a setback,” said senior Colleen Hohman. “But it was also a learning experience.”

The action began March 21 with a doubleheader. The Miners put themselves in great position to climb back and win the ball game. The  Mean Green went up 5-1 early going into the bottom of the third inning by North Texas’ Brooke Foster hitting a solo homer in the first, followed in the top of the third by a Jackie Miller three-run triple.

The Miners felt no despair and the rally mode turned on when junior Ashley Eldridge found the gap on a single and brought in her teammate, junior Samantha Alviallar. The Miners trailed by two runs with one out. Soon after that, the excitement grew yet again as the bases were loaded, but UTEP left all three runners stranded.

The Miners found themselves down again at 8-3 in the final seventh inning, but the rallying spirit would return.

A triple by Eldridge was followed by a run scored, as sophomore Kawehiokalani Netane lined a single off the first baseman.

Immediately following, UTEP scored another run, but a base running mishap by the Miners resulted in a double-play for North Texas, which ended the game at 8-5.

“It was right there,” said head coach Tobin Echo-Hawk. “That one mistake, base running at the end, killed the rally late for us. But there were some crucial plays here and there that we probably should have made.”

In the end, the run support was not there against a good hitting team of North Texas.

In game two of the double-header, the Miners were no match. North Texas’ Lauren Poole was on the mound. She pitched a shutout in six innings. She walked no batters and allowed just three hits. A little help from her teammates and this contest was over early.

The Miners fell 8-0, allowing the Mean Green to get 12 hits.

On Saturday in the final bout, the Miners dug a hole in the first inning that proved too deep to dig out of. North Texas jumped to a quick 4-0 lead in the first inning.

Runners need to be in a scoring position to give teams a chance to score. Hohman walked six batters and three straight batters in the first inning.

With Hohman being a pitcher and a big power hitter for the Miners, in the second inning, she smashed the ball to deep left center field that ricochetted off the mountain. This was Hohman’s sixth homer of the season.

The other part of the Miners’ offense came from senior infielder Miraya Montiel. She went 3-3 with a double. Another homer in the game came from Alanna Leasau.

“We didn’t hit bad,” Echo-Hawk said. “We had 10 hits, which equaled their hits. Our hits weren’t timely hits like we’ve had in the past, but we got ourselves into trouble giving up too many walks.”

Hohman pitched four-and-a-third innings in the 11-4 loss. This game completed the sweep for the Green Wave.

The Miners move to 12-20 overall with a 4-5 conference record. They will move forward and rematch with the New Mexico State Aggies in Las Cruces on March 25.

Luis Barrio may be reached at [email protected]