RUSTON, Louisiana - UTEP softball (9-23, 4-12 C-USA) was shutout, 2-0, in the opening contest of its double-header and lost, 3-2, in the nightcap despite a seventh-inning comeback versus Louisiana Tech (18-24, 7-5 C-USA) at Dr. Billy Bundrick Field Monday evening.
UTEP pitchers redshirt sophomore Isabella Kelly, sophomore Zaylie Calderon and freshman Mackenzee Collins put on a show in the circle again, allowing a combined eight hits and four earned runs over the two games.
Kelly entered the weekend with a 7.20 ERA and, after her four appearances totaling 12.2 innings pitched, ended with an ERA nearly a whole point lower at 6.25.
Calderon let just one earned run cross the plate in her 9.2 innings featuring eight strikeouts.
She continues to lead the Miners with a 3.03 ERA.
Game 1: LA Tech 2, UTEP 0
However, hits were at a premium for the Miners in day two against the Lady Techster pitching staff.
LA Tech pitcher Lauren Menzina matched UTEP’s starter Calderon and reliever Kelly and then some, ultimately throwing a complete-game shutout. Menzina got out of two bases-loaded jams and an inning with two Miners in scoring position in the first three frames.
UTEP left 11 runners on base in the game.
Three of the Miners’ four base hits were doubles from graduate infielder Bryanna Molina (2) and junior infielder Pate Cathey. Cathey reached base via a hit in each game of the series, going 4-for-12 including two doubles.
Game 2: LA Tech 3, UTEP 2
UTEP was held scoreless and to one hit – a Cathey double in the second inning – until the top of the seventh by LA Tech’s Bre Hernandez.
Down 3-0, the Miners put together a two-out rally starting with a double off the bat of senior utility Ilena Santos that drove in junior infielder Kasey Flores, 3-1. Head coach T.J. Hubbard called in senior infielder Ariana Valles to pinch hit the next at-bat; Valles came through with an RBI double of her own to cut the lead to one, 3-2.
Sophomore infielder Isabella Hanson lined out to second base to end the game.
The Playoff Picture (C-USA Tournament)
The Miners – who sit in fifth place from the outside looking in on the Conference USA Tournament – have one remaining C-USA series at fourth-place UTSA (11-25, 5-7 C-USA) from May 7-9 before the end to their regular season.
The Roadrunners will play first-place North Texas (29-10, 10-2) in a four-game set before meeting UTEP.
LA Tech will play two four-game series versus last-place (20-25, 2-10 C-USA) Southern Miss and North Texas, respectively.
NEXT UP FOR THE MINERS
UTEP softball faces Utah Valley (19-22, 5-7 WAC) – Hubbard’s last coaching stop before El Paso – in one game on May 2 at 11 a.m. MT.