UTEP rallies past Portland State for tournament sweep


Sergio Muñoz

The Miners have won five straight games and eight of their last nine.

Jeremy Carranco, Sports Editor

The UTEP softball team used a four-run fourth frame, which included a Kaitlin Ryder go-ahead three-run home run, to fight off the Portland State Vikings, 8-4, on Sunday afternoon at Helen of Troy Softball Complex.

The Vikings had a 4-1 lead heading into the fourth inning after scoring two runs in the second inning and two more during the third before the Miners would score the game’s next seven runs.

“I told the team after the game as long as we keep fighting, it’s a good thing and sometimes you learn what kind of team you are when your backs are against the wall,” said UTEP head coach Tobin Echo-Hawk in a release. “They continued to fight and scrap and it was one of my favorite wins because it’s hard to beat a team three times. They kept going at it and staying positive. But Portland State played a good game, hats off to them – it wasn’t easy.”

The Miners (9-7) finished the weekend undefeated (5-0, 3-0 against PSU), earning the UTEP Tournament sweep for wins in eight of their last nine contests.

The Miners grabbed 11 more hits on Sunday, as double-digit hits were tallied in three of the five games during the weekend.

Clayton added another multi-hit performance (the 60th in her career), going 2-for-4, while Baber recorded a career high in hits on a 3-for-4 day and scored two runs. Ryder tallied three RBI and Duffield finished 2-for-3.

The Miners will now travel across the Pacific to play six games in Hawai’i for the Malihini Kipa Aloha Tournament.

UTEP will take on Cal and Longwood (March 1), James Madison (March 2), host school Hawai’i twice (March 3 & 4) and East Carolina (March 4).