Miners Split Saturday Games
Feb. 23, 2013
EL PASO, Texas – The UTEP softball team got a big home run from one of its freshman, beating South Dakota, 3-2, but lost to I-10 rival NM State in extra innings, 5-4, but without drama at the Helen of Troy Softball Complex Saturday.
NM State’s Staci Rodriguez has been a Miner killer in 2013. The sophomore blasted another three-run homer to left field in the top of the first inning as she did in their first meeting on Feb. 12.
Senior Kayleigh Walts answered with her first home run of the season that got the Miners within a run in the second. Freshman Kawehiokalani Netane then tied the game on a single to centerfield in the third that scored junior Erika Arcuri.
The Miners eventually took a 4-3 lead heading into the fifth inning. The lead was short lived, though, when the Aggies tied the game on a Lacey Rother sac-fly that scored Kristi Covarrubia.
Walts came up to bat with the score knotted at four in the bottom of the seventh with freshman Jade Rodriguez at second and Netane at first. The native of Flower Mound, Texas came up with a clutch sac-bunt that advanced the runners into scoring position.
The stage was then set for junior Kayla Black.
Black nailed a 0-2 pitch down the left line what had looked like a game-winning hit. The crowd of 641 jumped out of their seats to celebrate, but the third base umpire called it a foul ball. Co-head coach Kathleen Rodriguez came out to challenge the call, saying the ball hit the third baseman’s glove.
The call stood.
Black eventually struck out looking on what was also a questionable call. The Aggies went on to score the game-winning run in the top of the eighth.
The Miners got their opportunity to get back at the Coyotes after a 6-1 loss Feb. 17.
UTEP entered the bottom of the sixth inning down two runs before junior Leasau hit a two-out double that scored Arcuri. Netane came in to pinch hit and blasted a two-run home run to left field, her first of the season.
The Miners (6-7) return to action when they host the Coyotes (6-6) at 12:15 p.m. MT and the Aggies (9-5) at 2:30 p.m. MT Sunday. The games are free to all fans.