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Softball drops two to Western Kentucky

Joel Molina
Infielder Pate Cathey attempts to throw the ball towards first base during a game against WKU.

After closing out its three-game series with a win over the University of Texas at San Antonio (6-22, C-USA 2-4), the Miners softball team (10-16, C-USA 2-4) opened at-home conference play versus Western Kentucky University (WKU) (17-9, C-USA 2-1) Friday, March 17 to Sunday, March 19 at the Helen of Troy Softball Complex. 

Day one: Friday, March 17 

UTEP opened the weekend with an 8-6 win over the WKU Hilltoppers. The first two innings of this game were scoreless for both sides of the ball. It was the Hilltoppers who noted the first runs of the weekend when junior infielder Taylor Sanders managed to send the ball far enough for two runs to be scored. The Miners answered after senior infielder Pate Cathey managed an RBI pushing the score to 2-1 at the end of the third inning.  

Going into the fifth, WKU pushed its lead thanks to a stand-up RBI double by fifth-year utility Faith Hegh. Going into the bottom of the inning, junior outfielder Lexi Morales managed to snag her first home run of the season with one runner on base to knot the score at 3-3. Two runless innings later, the Miners pulled away with the win after Morales and junior outfielder Savannah Favre found home thanks to a deep fly to left field from graduate student infielder Peyton Angulo in the bottom of the eighth inning. This would close out Friday’s game 6-3 in favor of the Miners. 

Day two: Saturday, March 18 

Saturday’s match up did not bode well for the Miners as the team fell 14-7 Saturday afternoon. UTEP did score first in this game, scoring two runs in the bottom of the first. But WKU answered with three runs of its own. An RBI double, a walk with bases loaded and a hit by Sanders would push the score to 3-2 at the end of two innings. 

The Miners would go on to give up eight runs in the third inning alone, forcing head coach T.J. Hubbard to make a pitching change. After managing to get out of the top of the third inning, UTEP noting three runs after junior infielder Anna Sampler helped a flurry of Miners find home thanks to a fielder’s choice hit. The score at the end of three innings was 11-5 in favor of the Hilltoppers. 

The Miners could not prevail from the hole that was the third inning only scoring two runs in the bottom of the fourth. To the UTEP defense’s credit, WKU only managed three additional runs for the rest of the game. If you were to take away the team’s third inning stand, the Miners would actually win this game 7-6. 

Day three: Sunday, March 19 

The Miners looked to close out the series with a win. Unfortunately, for Hubbard and his squad, UTEP had its worst offensive stint of the series, only scoring off one run in the fifth inning. The game was not too contentious early on as WKU only scored one run in the first inning. UTEP kept the Hilltoppers at bay for three consecutive innings but failed to do anything offensively. 

The fifth and six innings are where WKU struck, scoring three runs in the fifth and two in the sixth. This game was well within reach as UTEP allowed just as many runs as they did in its win Friday night. The final score for Sunday’s matchup would be 6-1 in favor of the Hilltoppers. 

The Miners now travel east to take on the Charlotte 49ers (15-12, C-USA 4-2) at 4 p.m. Friday, March 24; 11 a.m. Saturday, March 25 and 10 a.m. Sunday, March 26 at the Sue M. Daughtridge Stadium in Charlotte N.C. 

The next UTEP home series will be against the University of North Texas (19-9, C-USA 5-1) starting at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 6 at the Helen of Troy Softball Complex in El Paso, Texas. 

Emmanuel Rivas Valenzuela is the sports editor and may be reached at [email protected]: @rivasemmanuel2 on Instagram. 

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About the Contributors
Emmanuel Rivas Valenzuela
Emmanuel Rivas Valenzuela, Contributor/Writer
Emmanuel Rivas Valenzuela is a contributor for The Prospector. He is a senior majoring in multimedia journalism with minors in political science and Chicano studies. Emmanuel served as sports editor at The Prospector and as a writer with Minero Magazine. Now, Emmanuel is interning at El Paso Matters and is a contributor at The Prospector.
Joel Molina
Joel Molina, Photo Editor
Joel is a graduate creative writing student at the University of Texas at El Paso. He is the photo editor who began his career at The Prospector in 2022. He hopes to continue providing the world and its people with different forms of storytelling that will hopefully make their day to day lives better.
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Softball drops two to Western Kentucky