UTEP Softball Comes Up Short on Day One of Classic
Feb. 13, 2014
LAS VEGAS, Nev. - The UTEP softball team jumped on Hawai'i 5-0 in the bottom of the first inning after Las Vegas native junior Ashley Eldridge drilled a grand slam. But the Wahine (4-2) scored 10 runs in the next three innings to defeat the Miners (1-5), 10-5, on Thursday night in the Easton Desert Classic at Eller Media Stadium.
The Orange and Blue struck first when juniors Samantha Alvillar and Tahla Wade led off with back-to-back singles. Senior Erika Arcuri then connected on a ball that went to pitcher Heather Morales, which looked like the first out. Morales took the ball on a fielder's choice to throw Alvillar out at third base, but the ball went past her teammate, plating Alvillar for the game's first run.
Senior Colleen Hohman walked to load the bases for Eldridge. The junior swung on a 1-1 pitch that went high and deep to center field. But that was all the Miners would score as Hawai'i took control of the contest. Eldridge also had a double, while notching a career-high four RBI and scored a run on the evening.
Hawai'i went three up and three down against UTEP pitcher Kaitlin Fifield to open the top of the first inning. Fifield also struck out Lindsey Willmon looking. But the freshman got herself into a jam in the top of the second.
Kristina Akiona reached on a fielder's choice as Leisha Li'ili'i was thrown out on a 5-4 play for the first out. Morales then helped her own cause by forcing Fifield to walk her, followed by Lindsey Willmon's single to left field on a 0-0 pitch to load the bases. Sharla Kliebenstein cracked a two-run double, also on a 0-0 pitch, to left center, then Alyssa Villapando banged out a three-run home run to center field to tie the game and the Wahine never looked back.
Li'ili'i hit a solo shot to left center in the third inning; and in the fourth inning, Morales hit a two-run single, while Jazmine Zamora and Keiki Carlos knocked in a run each to seal the victory.
Alvillar finished with two hits, while sophomore Kawehiokalani Netane had a seventh inning pinch hit to left field.
The Miners will take on Utah (2:30 p.m. MT) and Nevada (4:45 p.m.) on Valentine's Day on day two of the Classic.