Miners sweep Blue Raiders

Junior infielder Ashley Eldridge attempts to hit the ball against Middle Tennessee.

Tania Moran

Junior infielder Ashley Eldridge attempts to hit the ball against Middle Tennessee.

Luis Barrio, Staff Reporter

Hitting my spots worked. I think my change-up and drop ball was on today and that was really helpful.”

— Collen Hohman

On April 13, the UTEP softball team completed a series sweep over the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders with their bats and backs against the wall.

Over the weekend, UTEP showed the power of its bats. They tallied 39 hits that produced 24 runs; six balls that went long distance, and a team batting average of .459.

The series sweep against a conference foe at home was the first for the Miners since their sweep against Southern Miss in April 2010.

“After the long stretch of games where we were losing a lot, I liked how the girls trusted each other and believed in themselves,” said head coach Tobin Echo-Hawk. “They stayed the course and did a great job, both offensively and defensively, and making the right adjustments.”

In game one of the double-header on Saturday, the Miners ended their losing skid. Ashley Eldridge brought her team from being down 2-1 in the second inning to having the lead with a three-run homer over right field. The Miners won game one with a 5-3 advantage.

Game two was more of a personal home-run derby for the Miners than an actual competitive game. The second inning in the second game was where the Miners tallied 15 hits and four home runs. The Miners scored all of their runs during this inning.

Game three started out with the Blue Raiders scoring two runs in each of the first two innings. Danielle Pearson was taken out in the third inning, and in came Colleen Hohman. She would finish the game from that point on.

“Hitting my spots worked. I think my change-up and drop ball was on today and that was really helpful. Beyond all that, my defense was awesome today,” Hohman said. “ People made big plays in big situations and that the kind of players we have on this team.”

Moving ahead to the home half of the fourth inning, UTEP’s Kawehi Netane got on base from an infield error by the Blue Raiders. Up to the plate came Alanna Leasau, who hit her seventh homer of the season to left center.

All of a sudden, a barrage of hits and runners in scoring positions came about in the fourth inning for the Miners. Pearson recorded a single after Leasau’s homer. Hohman stepped up and recorded a ground rule double. Miraya Montiel recorded an RBI single. A walk by pinch-hitter Kayla Black and the Miners had the bases loaded. The Miners, however, left the inning with all three runners stranded.

In the seventh, the Miners had a one-run lead. The bases were loaded with two out. A groundout to the short stop junior Samantha Avillar ended the game and the Miners celebrated the sweep.

“It doesn’t get any better than four home runs in one inning,” Echo-Hawk said. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen that as a coach, so it was nice to see them bust out and have that success.”

The Miners are now 15-27 overall, with a 7-8 conference record. They have exceeded their win total of last season of 13 games. Their seventh conference win of the season is more than the team had in its last three campaigns, a total of six in that span.

“We feed off of each other like that. I love it because when one of us starts it, we just keep going and going and going,” Hohman said.  “I feel like if we continue that throughout the season, we’ll be just fine.”

Luis Barrio may be reached at [email protected]