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Senior outfielder Becky Smith laced a two-RBI double to right field to end the Miners’ first of two games against Marist in five innings, 11-2, on Saturday afternoon at the Helen of Troy Softball Complex. The Miners walked in the winning run to take game two from the Red Foxes, 9-8.
Smith was one of two Miners that went 4-for-4 in the first game. Fellow senior Kia Moore recorded three doubles and one single for four RBIs. Smith also tallied four RBIs in the game.
Moore put the Miners on the board in the bottom of the first with a base hit that scored two runs. Smith’s single brought in freshman Laura Ramos for UTEP’s third run of the game and scored herself on a wild pitch to put the home team up 4-0. Moore and Smith did it again the fourth, each with a RBI double to extend the lead 6-0. Another senior, Courtney Ware, added a run on a sacrifice fly to end the frame at 7-0.
Marist scored two in the top of the fifth off a two-RBI homerun to pull within five, but the Conference USA home run leader this season, Chelsea Troupe, led off the bottom of the inning with a jack to left field to get the Miners’ bats going.
Kayleigh Walts and Ramos hit a pair of singles to set up the win for Moore and Smith. The pair of seniors’ doubles ended the game in mercy rule in favor of the Miners, 11-2.
While it was the senior leadership that carried the Miners to victory in game one, it was local freshman Kayla Black that was credited with the 9-8 in her collegiate debut in the second game of the day.
Troupe led off the game reaching base on a hit by pitch and advancing to second on a stolen base. Walts’ sacrifice bunt moved Troupe to third and the Miners added a second runner on base after Black was awarded first on balls. UTEP got on the scoreboard with Moore’s right field single that scored both Troupe and Black. Next up for the Miners was Smith whose double down the right line put UTEP up 3-0.
The Miners added three more runs in the third set to make the score 6-0. Marist scored two in the fourth and had scored four in the bottom of the sixth when Black took the circle for the first time in her collegiate career. With two runners on base and just one out, the Clint High School graduate allowed just one more run before ending the inning three batters later.
Smith came through once again in the bottom of the sixth with a longball over the left field fence to give UTEP the 8-7 lead. The Red Foxes responded with a run in the top of the seventh to knot things up 8-8.
Troupe walked to first and advanced two bases on Walts’ sacrifice attempt that placed her on base on an error. The Miners loaded the bases on Ramos’ intentional walk and walked off with the win when Marist’s pitcher awarded Moore a walk.
Moore finished the second game with three RBI, two hits and one run.
The Miners improved to 15-13 for the season and will be back in action on Tuesday, March 22, when they face nationally ranked Nebraska in a doubleheader.
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