ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The UTEP softball team rallied from a 5-1 deficit to defeat North Dakota State 9-8 in the first of two games on Saturday. The Miners would go on to split their final day of the Lobo Classic, falling to Buffalo 4-1 later in the afternoon.
GAME 1 | UTEP 9, NDSU 8
UTEP (7-9) jumped on the board right out of the chutes in the top of the first as Aaliyah Rebolledo, Ajia Richard and Kaylin Jackson loaded the bases to put Bison starting pitcher Savy Williams in hot water. In the next at-bat with runners on every base, Williams committed an error that allowed Marijin Crouwel to reach, scoring Rebolledo.
In the bottom of the first, NDSU (9-4) answered with a double to center that scored Dex Cardenas, who stole second shortly after her walk to put her in position to score on the play.
The Bison then plated four runs in the bottom half of the second on just one hit as a result of two walks and a pair of throwing errors to take a 5-1 advantage.
UTEP responded with a six-run performance in the top of the third. Richard belted a single down the line in right to get things going, scoring Pate Cathey after she had doubled down the right field line herself. Kaylin Jackson then launched a two-run homer to center that brought in Richard.
With just one out in the frame, Cheyenne Stark, Autumn Scott and Lexi Morales loaded the bases with two singles and a walk. After Savannah Favre entered the game to pinch hit for Rebolledo, she contributed a two-RBI single to right-center that allowed Stark and Scott to cross the dish, giving the Miners the lead at 6-5. Favre then swiped second right before Cathey would connect on a base hit to plate Morales and give UTEP a 7-5 lead after three complete.
The six-run third inning gave the Miners all the run support that they would need on the way to victory.
A pair of NDSU errors led to two more UTEP runs in the sixth to make it 9-5.
The Bison reduced the deficit to 9-7 in the bottom of the sixth on a two-RBI single by Nicole Licea.
NDSU would get another run in the bottom half of the seventh as Cardenas hit an RBI single to score Molly Gates to stay alive late. The Bison then placed two runners on base after a UTEP pitching change, but their attempt to rally past the Miners was shut down after Aalijah Alarcon picked up a strikeout and induced a groundout to Cathey.
Miner Quick Hits
- Pate Cathey: 3-for-5, 2B, RBI
- Autumn Scott: 2-for-4, RBI
- Kaylin Jackson: 1-for-4, HR, 2 RBI
- Savannah Favre: 1-for-3, 2 RBI
- Ajia Richard: 1-for-3, RBI
Mackenzee Collins (1-1) earned her first win on the season by allowing four runs, two earned, on eight hits in 4 1/3 innings pitched. She also posted two strikeouts and walked a pair.
Aalijah Alarcon picked up her second save of the campaign after she stopped the Bison in the bottom of the seventh, recording one walk and a strikeout.
GAME 2 | BUFFALO 4, UTEP 1
After three scoreless innings to start the game, Buffalo (5-4) was first to strike in the top of the fourth with a double to left field by Rachel Steffan that scored Madison Fernimen. Steffan was plated shortly after by Anna Aguon on a sacrifice fly to give Buffalo a 2-0 lead.
The Miners answered with one run in the bottom half as Cheyenne Stark doubled down the right field line to score Jordyn Lopez who pinch ran for Kaylin Jackson after she had singled on the infield.
Coming off two more quiet innings, Buffalo’s Olivia Kincanon knocked out a two-run home run in the top of the seventh to extend the lead to 4-1, which ended up being the final score.
Miner Quick Hits
- Karina Somoza: 2-for-3
- Cheyenne Stark: 1-for-3, 2B, RBI
- Pate Cathey, 1-for-3, 2B
UTEP will be back in action against I-10 rival New Mexico State on Wednesday, March 2 at the NM State Softball Complex in Las Cruces, N.M. at 6 p.m. MT.