UTEP Softball Starts Six-Game Home Stand With C-USA Foe North Texas

UTEP Softball Starts Six-Game Home Stand With C-USA Foe North Texas


UTEP vs UNT_UNM GameNotes

EL PASO –
The UTEP softball team will play six straight home contests starting with Conference USA West Division foe and league leader in home runs North Texas April 14-15. Saturday's doubleheader will start at 2 p.m., while Sunday's series finale is slated for noon at the Helen of Troy Softball Complex.
 
Tickets are $5 dollars for adults and $3 for children. The April 14-15 weekend is highlighted by 'Bark in the Park' as tickets are $2 if fans bring their dogs to the ball park.
 
UTEP will also host New Mexico on Monday, April 16 in a single contest starting at 3 p.m. UTEP will then host [RV] Ole Miss April 20-21 to close out the home stand. During their last meeting against New Mexico, UTEP threw a combined no-hitter during an 8-0 [5] win on Feb. 17 in Las Vegas, Nev. Kira McKechnie and Devyn Cretz combined for the no-hit effort.
 
The Miners (14-26, 4-11 C-USA) are coming off a 1-2 weekend at WKU, as the lone victory was a 6-4 comeback win in game two against the Hilltoppers. The Mean Green (22-17, 8-4 C-USA) have won four in a row. UNT is coming off a 9-5 win against Houston Baptist Wednesday night and a non-conference sweep at Mississippi Valley State April 7-8. UNT's last league games was a 2-1 series win at Florida Atlantic March 30-31. The Lobos (11-28) lost two of three at Colorado State April 7-8.
 
The Miners hit .333 during the weekend in Bowling Green, while outhitting WKU, 30-22. UTEP came up short in game's one and three, but rallied the win game two, 6-4, after scoring six runs in the seventh inning that was capped by Cortney Smith's two-run home run. Kaitlin Ryder's bat picked some momentum as the senior hit .500 (5-10) with a home run and three RBI. Kacey Duffield also hit .500 (five hits), while leading C-USA hitter Courtney Clayton hit .455 (5-11) with a pair of RBI. McKechnie showed her power skills as she went deep twice during the weekend. Allie Johnson also picked up her second career victory during the game-two triumph.
 
Clayton has stayed consistent as the senior leads C-USA with a .421 batting average and leads the league with 92 total bases. Clayton ranks just outside the top 50 nationally in hitting, sitting at no. 54 in the NCAA's.
 
WEEKEND FESTIVITIES
The April 14-15 series versus North Texas will be 'Bark in the Park Weekend', as fans can bring their K-9 companions to the Helen of Troy Softball Complex. Attendees must bring proof that their dog is up to date on current vaccinations. All fans with a dog must fill out a liability waiver form at the first base side marketing table before entering the game. Here's the link for the waiver: http://utepathletics.com/documents/2018/4/5//Bark_at_the_Park_Waiver.pdf?id=5199. Monday's afternoon contest against UNM will feature a 'White Out' – wear white and pay $2 for a ticket. The UTEP softball junior trading cards will be the giveaway on Saturday and Sunday along with UTEP softball 2018 schedule posters and roster cards. Monday's giveaway will be sunglasses to the first 150 fans.
 
ALL-TIME VS. NORTH TEXAS
UTEP is 4-11 all-time against North Texas after losing three games last season in Denton. The Miners swept the Mean Green in 2016, the last time UNT made it out to West Texas. Courtney Clayton hit .545 with five runs and two doubles during the 2016 series. Kaitlin Ryder (.500) added a home run and four RBI, while Taylor Sargent (.400) hit two solo home runs. Linda Garcia (.375) led the way with five RBI with two home runs hit.
 
SCOUTING NORTH TEXAS
The Mean Green improved the 22-17 overall after a 9-5 win against Houston Baptist on April 11. North Texas currently ranks first in Conference USA with 46 and ranks 10th nationally at 1.18 home runs per game. The team hits .290 and has scored 188 runs, ranking second in C-USA in both categories. Hanna Rebar is hitting .323 and ranks second in C-USA with 10 home runs. Lacy Gregory leads the squad with 30 RBI (tied for fourth in C-USA), while Bebar ranks second on UNT with 28 RBI. Katie Clark paces the squad with a .385 average, 27 runs and 15 stolen bases. Clark has hit 16 dingers and tallied 16 RBI. The pitching staff has a 3.43 ERA, led by Hope Trautwein (12-6). Trautwein leads the team in wins, ERA (2.31), appearances (30), games started (19), innings (124.1) and K's (122). Maria Priest (10-11) has thrown 118.1 frames with 53 K's. The staff has combined for 95 walks in 265.0 innings.
 
ALL-TIME VS. NEW MEXICO
UTEP improved to 10-15 against New Mexico all-time after its no-hit performance on Feb. 17 in Las Vegas, Nev. The Miners defeated the Lobos 8-0 in five innings as Kira McKechnie and Devyn Cretz combined for UTEP's seventh no-hitter in program history. Cretz threw 3.0 frames to earn the win and McKechnie tossed 2.0 frames. The pair combined for five K's and four walks. The Miners recorded 12 hits, led by Courtney Clayton's 3-for-3, three-run outing. Cortney Smith went 2-for-3 with two RBI and a home run. Ariana Valles registered a two-run triple that won the game in the fifth. The Lobos last came to El Paso in 2016.  
 
SCOUTING NEW MEXICO
New Mexico lost two of three against conference rival Colorado State by taking the first game 5-3 in 10innings. With the series loss, the Lobos moved to 11-28 on the season and 4-7 in Mountain West Conference play. Offensively, the team holds a .252 batting average, including 23 home runs. Leading the team is senior Chelsea Johnson with an average of .357 (40-112) and seven home runs, ranking fourth in the league. The Lobos record an ERA of 7.12. Team leader in the circle is sophomore Jensen Main with a 5.46 ERA, 100.0 innings tossed and 52 strikeouts. Against CSU, senior Krissy Fortner enter the game in the fifth inning to only allow three hits, no runs and a career-high seven strikeouts. 
 
DRAMATIC FINISH
UTEP rallied to beat WKU, 6-4, in game two on April 7. The Miners had only chalked up one hit during the contest – a Courtney Clayton two-out double in the fourth inning – leading up to the dramatic seventh frame. WKU hurler Kelsey Aikey had retired the first 11 batters and not allowing any base runners. Clayton, to lead off the seventh, drilled a hard single up the middle, while Kaitlin Ryder reached the same way, a hard liner up the middle. Kira McKechnie then put her squad on the board when she connected on her first career home run on a 1-2 toss, bringing the Miners within a run at 4-3. Taylor Sargent kept the hit parade going with a single and Kacey Duffield paved the way for Sargent to score on a double hit to deep left center to tie the game. With the top of the order due up and two outs, Cortney Smith was penciled in the pinch hit for Ariel Blair with Duffield on. Smith, who had been struggling in the box, used patience and drilled a full-count two-run homer over left center for the go-ahead 6-4 lead. Allie Johnson finished the contest, while tallying a strikeout to earnt the victory.
 
OTHER BIG ROAD COMEBACKS
UTEP has played in some wild finishes in Conference USA action during UTEP head coach Tobin Echo-Hawk's time at the helm. During her first season, UTEP found itself down 7-3 at LA Tech in the third game of the series heading into the seventh. After the Miners tied the contest 7-7, Alanna Leasau connected on a two-run double for the go-ahead 9-7 lead on March 16, 2014. The series sweep at LA Tech was the first ever conference road sweep in program history. In 2016, though the deficit wasn't big, the Miners rallied from 6-4 down in the seventh to win 9-6 at Middle Tennessee on April 17. 2016. With the score 6-5 in the seventh, Danielle Pearson drove in two runs off a double for the go-ahead 7-6 lead. Courtney Clayton added an exclamation point with a two-run bomb to make the score 9-6. The Miners won a wild non-conference contest on Feb. 13, 2015 in Las Vegas. UTEP was down 5-0 heading to the seventh against Echo-Hawk's former team, Portland State. The Miners rallied to scored eight runs in the frame. UTEP took the go-ahead lead with the score tied 5-5, when Kaitlin Ryder was hit by a pitch with bases loaded.
 
#TURN UP
UTEP leads Conference USA with 17 double plays turned and ranks tied for 40th nationally at .43 doubles plays turned per game. The Miners' defense has been solid turning DP's the last two years, turning 30 last season and another 30 in 2016.
 
CRACKING JACKS
UTEP has hit 28 home runs, ranking tied for second with WKU in Conference USA. The Miners hit four more at WKU April 7-8. The 2018 squad has already surpassed last year's 24 total home runs connected on. UTEP is on pace for about 38 dingers in 2018 – UTEP hit 51 in 2016 and 39 in 2015. Courtney Clayton leads UTEP with seven home runs, while ranking tied for sixth.
 
OTHER C-USA RANKINGS
UTEP ranks fourth in Conference USA with a .281 batting average. The Miners are one of five team hitting over .280. Middle Tennessee leads the league with a .298 average. UTEP ranks fourth with 293 hits (MT leads with 314). UTEP ranks tied for fourth in doubles (49) and triple (eight). WKU leads the league in doubles (57), while UAB and WKU each have tallied 10 triples. UTEP ranks tied for fourth with 146 RBI (WKU leads with 177), and ranks third with 442 total bases.
 
CC MOVING UP THE RBI LIST
Courtney Clayton registered a pair of RBI at WKU April 8, giving the senior 110 in her career and moving the no. 5 on the program's all-time list. Clayton now ranks behind Simone Holland (113) and Stacie Townsend (124). Camilla Carrera (197) and Chelsea Troupe (138) are the top two RBI getters.
 
CC-ING DOUBLE
Courtney Clayton registered two more doubles at WKU this past weekend and now has 50 career doubles, ranking second on the program's all-time list. Camilla Carrera leads the all-time list with 57. Clayton set the program's single-season mark with 21 doubles in 2016.
 
CC-ING TRIPLE
Courtney Clayton has run out three triples in 2018 as her last one came against UTSA on March 31. Clayton's trio of triples rank tied for first with UAB's Natalie Erwin Clayton. Clayton's five career triples ranks tied for third on the program's all-time list.  
 
GETTING MORE AB'S
Courtney Clayton has 642 career at bats and needs eight to move into first place on the program's all-time at bat's list. Camilla Carrera leads the list with 649 career at bats.
 
THE IRON WOMAN
Courtney Clayton has started in 196 consecutive games. Clayton started in all 53 games in 2015, all 55 contests in 2016, all 48 in 2017 and currently has started all 40 games this season. Clayton's streak ranks second behind Stacie Townsend's 217 consecutive starts.
 
CC'S A STAR-TER
Courtney Clayton's 196 starts ranks tied for seventh with Kayla Oranger. Simone Holland (201), Amber Bennett (205), Ashley Ellis (211), Stacie Townsend (2017) and Camilla Carrera (2019) round out the most starts' list.
 
UNIQUE STAT
Courtney Clayton holds the UTEP softball program record for most times reaching base on error with 28. Kayla Oranger ranks second with 26. Clayton reached on an error at Hawai'i on March 3 and reached on an error against South Dakota State on Feb. 18.
 
NO. 1 IN ASSISTS & OTHER DEFENSIVE RANKINGS
Courtney Clayton moved to no. 1 on the all-time assists' list after the March 30-31 contests. Clayton now has 367 career assists. Clayton cracked the top 10 in career putouts with 366 (ranked 10th), while her 769 career chances rank sixth. Clayton also ranks third with 35 career double plays turned.
 
TOUGH OUT
Courtney Clayton has only struck out four times in 126 at bats. She ranks no. 1 in Conference USA and 23rd nationally in toughest to strike out (31.5) Clayton, during her career, has only struck out 26 times in 642 at bats (24.7).
 
COURT'S IN SESSION
Courtney Clayton has excelled in 2018, leading Conference USA with a .421 batting average and leading the league with 92 total bases, while ranking tied for first with three triples. Clayton also ranks second in slugging (.730), sixth in on-base (.460), ninth in runs (27), tied for fourth in hits (53), tied for third in doubles (12) and tied for sixth in home runs (seven).
 
ROUGH RYDER
Kaitlin Ryder's bat came to life at WKU last weekend after struggling in the batters' box during the last few weeks. Ryder went 3-for-3 in game one with a one-run single in the first inning and a two-run home run during the fifth frame. Ryder's dinger was her first since Feb. 25 against Portland State, while her three RBI were the most since that PSU game. Overall at WKU, Ryder hit .500 (5-10) with three runs added and a walk. Ryder went 1-for-3 and scored a run during UTEP's comeback victory in game two. Ryder connected on the second of back-to-back singles that set up the three-run home run against the Hilltoppers in the second contest. Ryder upped her average to .303 and ranks third on the team with 17 RBI. The senior has added 18 runs, five doubles, a triple and three bombs. Defensively, she's recorded 124 putouts and 20 assists, playing both outfield and behind the plate.
 
RYDER'S CAREER RANKINGS
Kaitlin Ryder registered three more RBI at WKU and now has 92 career RBI. Ryder ranks ninth on the program's all-time list as she's looking to be the ninth Miner to reach the 100-RBI career mark. Ryder also ranks tied for sixth with four career triples, while her .323 batting average ranks eighth on the program's all-time list. Ryder's .398 on-base percentage ranks seventh, and ranks tied for 17th with 17 career home runs. Ryder cracked the top 10 in career runs ranking ninth with 83, and is ranked ninth with 163 career hits. Ryder ranks ninth in total bases (244) and seventh in walks (55).
 
RYDER NO. 1 IN SACRIFICE HITS
Kaitlin Ryder ranks no. 1 on the program's all-time list with 17 sacrifice hits after registering two thus far in 2018. The first came at Southern Miss on March 24 and the second at NM State on March 27.
 
SARGE NO. 1 IN CAREER DOUBLE PLAYS TURNED
Taylor Sargent ranks tied for first with Simone Holland with 41 career double plays turned. Sargent has been part of six in 2018.
 
SARGENT'S CAREER SUCCESS
Taylor Sargent has moved into the top 10 in multiple categories during her career. The senior ranks 10th with 520 career at bats, tied for fourth with four triples, tied for seventh with 11 sacrifice hits, tied for eighth by reaching base on error 19 times, ranks third with a .984 career fielding percentage, ranks fifth with 809 chances and fifth with 755 putouts.
 
KIRA'S POWER SURGE
Kira McKechnie leads the pitching staff in wins in her first season at UTEP, and now has shown the ability to hit the ball. McKechnie, who had been penciled into the batting order the last nine games, connected on her first career home run in game one at WKU, a two-run shot in the sixth, while she blasted another, this time in game two, a three-run shot during UTEP's six-run seventh against the Hilltoppers. McKechnie is hitting .286 (8-28) with three runs, two doubles, eight RBI and five walks drawn.
 
ALLIE POSTS ANOTHER WIN
Allie Johnson won her second career game at WKU on April 7. Johnson threw 1.1 innings and tallied two K's to earn the victory. Johnson won her first career game against UAB at the Helen of Troy Softball Complex on March 18. Johnson (2-1) has thrown 23.2 innings with 10 K's during the season. Earlier in the season, Johnson threw a career-high 5.0 innings against no. 15 Cal and recorded a career-best three strikeouts.
 
VALLES'S CAREER-HIGH 3 RBI
Ariana Valles has started in all 40 games at the shortstop position and has continued to impress during her first season at UTEP, as Valles recorded a career-high three RBI at WKU on April 8. Valles connected on a bases-loaded, hard double hit to deep right that cleared the bases during the fourth inning. Valles is hitting .286 and ranks second on the team in RBI (19) and doubles (eight). Valles has added 10 runs and two triples, while leading the team with 73 assists.
 
SMITH-SONIAN GEM
Cortney Smith came up with a huge hit at WKU on April 7. Smith was inserted as a pinch hitter during the seventh inning with a runner on base against the Hilltoppers with the score tied 4-4. The Miners were down 4-0 heading into the dramatic seventh. Smith used patience and eventually connected on a full-count toss and sent over left center for the go-ahead 6-4 lead. Smith hit her first dinger since Feb. 17 when she went deep against New Mexico. Smith is hitting .500 (7-14) with three runs and two RBI the last six game played. Overall, Smith is hitting .277 with 14 runs, three doubles and 12 RBI. Smith ranks second on the team with four home runs.
 
C-USA COMMISSIONER'S ACADEMIC HONOR ROLL
Fifteen UTEP softball student-athletes were named to the Conference USA Academic Honor Roll (3.0 GPA) on April 12. Pamala Baber, Ariel Blair, Courtney Clayton, Kacey Duffield, Mariah Ellis, Linda Garcia, Brianna Hill, Allie Johnson, Kira McKechnie, Bryanna Molina, Jordyn Quevedo, Kaitlin Ryder, Ruby Sanchez, Ilena Santos and Julia Wright all earned the prestigious honor.
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