UTEP Softball Falls Short in Title Game
May 9, 2009
UTEP ends its season 27-29-1 overall and is 8-15-1 in league play. Tulsa, who gets the automatic bid to the NCAA tournament with the victory, improved to 38-15.
Stacie Townsend, who had already tossed 20 innings in two days, suffered the loss, pitching 4.1 innings of play. She gave up eight runs on 11 hits, and recorded four balls and strikes.
The tournament's Most Valuable Player was Tulsa's Lindsey Yarmer who was a flawless 4-for-4 at the plate including three runs and one RBI.
UTEP had a scoring opportunity in the second as Townsend had a scoring opportunity in the top of the second with a single up the middle. Amber Bennett moved her over with a sacrifice bunt and Ashley Ellis reached first on a hit by pitch. An out later, Courtney Ware, who had just nine career hits coming into the game, hit a bloop single to left field. Co-head coach James Rodriguez waved Townsend home from second and Tulsa's Brooke Smart heaved a cannon of a throw to get Townsend out at home for the third out.
After retiring the side in the bottom of the frame, Becky Smith walked to open the third and stole second. An out later, Carrera laced the ball over left center that gave UTEP a 2-0 in the third.
Tulsa answered back with a pair of runs in the bottom of the stanza. Lindsey led off with a base hit and Lauren Menke went yard plating Lindsey for a two-out two run score to tie the game 2-2.
After a one-out strikeout by Lawrence, Ashley Ellis belted a solo homer, the seventh of the season to give the Miners a 3-2 lead in the fourth. Stalter walked and Smith laced a single up the middle, sending Stalter to third. Smith advanced on the throw to put two runners in scoring position. Miners loaded the bases after Troupe drew a free pass to first but left bases loaded after Carrera hit a fielder's choice that got Troupe out on the play.
Trailing 3-2, Tulsa had a scoring opportunity but failed to convert. Vanessa Vice reached on an error by Stalter who threw wide on an attempted ground out. Brooke Smart worked Townsend for the first walk of the day putting two on base. Christian Timmons popped out on a bunt for the first Hurricane out of the inning. Jessica Stoelke advanced Smart and Timmons to second and third after she was out at first unassisted. With the go ahead run on second, Stephanie Chomicki grounded out to first to end the threat.
The Miners began to lose steam and made some defensive changes to stay alive. Tulsa pulled together in the fifth and sixth innings and gained momentum just as UTEP just ran out of gas.
The rally started when Swanson reached second on an error by Chelsea Troupe who moved to left field after starting behind the plate. Lindsay doubled to right center, scoring Swanson for the 3-3 tie. An out later, Yarmer belted another single sending Lindsay to third. With the go ahead run on second, Vanessa Vice belted a one-out RBI single, scoring Lindsay as Tulsa took a 4-3 lead.
UTEP went down in order in the top of the six and could not recover as UTEP lost its steam. Chomicki, Menke and Vice walked, Lindsay doubled and Swanson, Yarmer, Smart, Timons and Stoelke, each laced a single, scoring seven runs in the bottom of the seventh for the mercy rule ending.
UTEP's Carrera, Smith, Townsend and Troupe were named to the all-tournament team as was Tulsa's Yarmer, Vice, Lindsay - who was named the Most Valuable Player - and Lawrence.
UTEP loses four seniors from the 2009 squad, Amber Bennett, Jennifer Davis, Shea Lodes and Jennifer Stalter. But the future looks bright for the Miners, who return the league's Player of the Year - Carrera - and the Freshman of the Year - Troupe.