Softball loses three games, wins its first at Lubbock

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Photo courtesy of UTEP Athletics

UTEP first baseman, Arianna Valles receives a throw for a put-out of a Texas Tech batter March 20 in Lubbock, Texas.

Heriberto Perez, Staff Reporter

The UTEP softball team went on the road to Lubbock, Texas, to play three games against Texas Tech and one against Tarleton State, in which they lost three and won the last one against Texas Tech.

On day one, the Miners lost both games against Texas Tech and went scoreless at the Jeannine McHaney Memorial Classic at the Rocky Johnson Field. Both games on Friday afternoon ended 8-0 in favor of the Red Raiders and left UTEP 4-10 and 0-0 in C-USA.

In game one, Texas Tech had nine hits over just one from UTEP, in which sophomore Zaylie Calderon started in the rubber.

When the Miners were losing 5-0, Calderon was not allowed an extra-base hit until the third inning and ended up with a two-run homer from Karli Hamilton. Later the team scored its last run of the game off an RBI double later in the inning to end the first game 8-0. The Miners’ only hit of the game came from redshirt sophomore outfielder Idalis Mendez in the fourth inning.

Game two was the same result and the same number of hits for the Miners with just one to ten from Texas Tech. Sophomore Ellie Bailey had her first career home run and led the Red Raiders to add one more run in the first inning to make it 5-0. The Miners’ only opportunity to break its scoreless streak came in the third inning, but after an error from Calderon, they couldn’t change the scoreboard. Then the Red Raiders had a pair of runs and a walk-off from Collins and led the leftfield line to score two more runs and ended 8-0 again.

UTEP returned to the Rocky Johnson Field for its third game of the weekend and failed to win once again, but now it was against Tarleton State (10-15, 0-0 WAC), 6-4. The Miners had a quick lead in the game after a solo homer from Mendez in the first inning and a 3-RBI double to put UTEP up 4-0. The orange and blue had the lead until the top of the fifth inning, but the Texans had a three-run homerun, and then they had another two runs in the following two innings to make the game 6-4.

The fourth and last game of the weekend was the good one for UTEP and recorded the win over Texas Tech (now 14-9, 0-0 Big XII), 9-8 on Saturday afternoon, and it was the first win of UTEP in Lubbock, Texas and the first win over a Power-5 and Big XII foe since 2015.

The Miners now recorded nine hits in its first win of the weekend, loaded the bases with its first three batters, and recorded a 5-1 lead in the first inning. UTEP’s first three batters were junior infielder Pate Cathey, redshirt sophomore Idalis Mendez and sophomore utility Zaylie Calderon.

Junior infielder Kasey Flores gave the Miners its second lead of the game at the top of the sixth inning with a solo homerun. Freshman pitcher Mackenzee Collins sent down the first two Texas Tech players that were against her in the seventh inning. Then Head Coach T.J. Hubbard brought sophomore pitcher Isabella Kelly who had the final out after she sent a groundball out to Cathey to win the game. Kelly allowed two runs before on the first three innings.

Now the Miners (5-11, 0-0 C-USA will open the Conference USA, April 2 and 3 against Southern Miss (18-9, 0-0 C-USA) at the Helen of Troy Field. The Miners return home for its first games in El Paso since March 6, after seven games were canceled.

Heriberto Perez may be reached at [email protected]; @heriperezlara on Twitter.