Softball drops a pair to UAB in C-USA home opener

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Softball drops a pair to UAB in C-USA home opener

UAB beat UTEP 11-0 and 8-6 in a doubleheader on Saturday afternoon at Helen of Troy Softball Complex.

UAB beat UTEP 11-0 and 8-6 in a doubleheader on Saturday afternoon at Helen of Troy Softball Complex.

Claudia Hernandez

UAB beat UTEP 11-0 and 8-6 in a doubleheader on Saturday afternoon at Helen of Troy Softball Complex.

Claudia Hernandez

Claudia Hernandez

UAB beat UTEP 11-0 and 8-6 in a doubleheader on Saturday afternoon at Helen of Troy Softball Complex.

Jeremy Carranco, Sports Editor

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The UTEP softball team lost both games of their Conference USA home opening series to UAB on Saturday at the Helen of Troy Softball Complex, sending the Miners losing skid to seven games.

The Blazers (10-18-1, 3-1-1 C-USA) won game one in a rout, 11-0 (5). The visitors tallied 14 hits and Emily Kachel threw 4.0 innings with four strikeouts to earn the win for UAB.

The Miners (10-18, 0-5 C-USA) got hits from Cortney Smith and Ariana Valles. Valles registered her fifth double during the third inning, while Smith singled in the fourth.

In game two, UTEP got on the board first scoring four early runs to take the early advantage. Courtney Clayton led off with a double and Lindsey Sokoloski reached on an error. Kacey Duffield put her squad up 1-0 with an RBI single hit to left that plated Clayton.

With the score 1-0 and two outs on the board, Linda Garcia connected on a 1-1 pitch to left field that scored Sokoloski and Duffield. Garcia’s double hit the top of the fence and was inches from leaving the ball park for a three-run shot.

The Miners took the 4-0 lead in the second inning after an error allowed Valles to score.

From there, UAB chipped away at the lead. The Blazers got their first run during the fifth on a Rachel Rogers sac-fly hit to right.

UTEP, however, got the run back in the bottom fifth on a Smith loaded-bases walk and RBI that scored Taylor Sargent to make the score 5-1.

But the Blazers kept fighting and cut the deficit to 5-3 in the sixth inning. Megan Smith connected on a solo home run and a Destini England RBI single.

The seventh inning then saw UAB take an 8-5 lead as all five runs were scored with two outs. UTEP came within two runs on a Clayton RBI single, but Kachel (8-7) limited UTEP’s offense during her appearance to earn her second win of the day.

Kira McKechnie got the start, as she tossed 6.1 frames and struck out a trio of Blazers. Wright (2-9) took the loss as she threw 2/3 of an inning and recorded a strikeout.

The Miners recorded nine hits, led by Clayton’s 4-for-4 effort. Sargent, Smith, Duffield, Garcia and McKechnie connected on the other knocks.

Courtney Clayton moving up in the record books

For Clayton, she now has 63 multi-hit games, ranking tied for second with Chelsea Troupe on the program’s all-time list. After Clayton’s four hits on Saturday, she now has 213, ranking third on the program’s all-time list and six behind Troupe. Clayton tallied two more doubles in game two, giving the senior 45 in her career and ranking third behind Troupe (48). Clayton now has 99 RBI, needing one to be the eighth Miner to enter the 100-club, while her 121 runs rank fifth behind Stacie Townsend (145). Clayton also has 355 assists, ranking second on the all-time list behind Amber Bennett (360).

The series finale between UAB and UTEP is Sunday with a noon start at the Helen of Troy Softball Complex. Tickets are $5 adults, $3 for children, while Sunday’s give-a-ways are hats and UTEP freshmen trading cards.

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