El Paso, TX — The UTEP softball team fell to No. 9 Nebraska 7-0, but bounced back to defeat St. Mary’s 6-2 on day one of the Hotel Encanto Tournament hosted by NM State on Friday at NMSU Softball Complex.
UTEP pitchers were key during the first day of the season. Both senior Colleen Hohman and sophomore Danielle Pearson pitched complete games in each of their respective starts. Colleen faced the Cornhuskers, while Pearson was matched against the Gaels.
“Both games I think we did pretty well. I think our pitchers proved some stuff to them selves,” first-year head coach Tobin Echo-Hawk said. “Even though Colleen got the loss, she pitched well if you take a couple key plays out; the game is a whole different story. The second game Danielle did a nice job keeping them off balance in their spots.”
Hohman had a tough fight against the Cornhuskers during the first inning (three hits, three wild pitches, four walks and four earned runs), but managed to keep her chin up the next five outings, striking out four batters and only walking two. Pearson worked hard through seven innings; walking only three and striking out one to earn her first win of the season.
The Miners banged out 11 hits against St. Mary’s, including Hohman’s 3-for-3 and 2 RBI performance. Hohman tallied five hits for the day. JuniorSamantha Alvillar went 2-for-4 and a run scored, while 2013 Conference USA Newcomer of the Year Erika Arcuri scored two runs on a 2-for-4 afternoon. Arcuri also had a single against Nebraska earlier in the day.
“We did a great job hitting and doing things with runners in scoring position,” Echo-Hawk said. “That’s key, making sure when we get runners on we are able to get them across the plate. We did a great job executing.”
Senior Alanna Leasasu, senior Kayla Black and Pearson all recorded an RBI.
The Miners got on the board early when Hohman doubled up the middle that brought Arcuri and Alvillar across the dish in top of the firstinning. Senior Miraya Montiel, who broke her nose earlier this week in practice, tacked another run on the board on an errand throw in the second.UTEP sealed the game in the third on a Leasau sac-fly that scored Arcuri, aPearson triple that scored Hohman and Black singled up the middle to bring Pearson home.
Echo-Hawk may have lost to her alma mater, but gained her first ‘W’ with the Orange and Blue.
“It’s just nice to get that out of the way and get that pressure off and move forward,” she said. “Hopefully it’s the first of many. The key is making sure we stay as consistent as possible no matter if it’s this weekend or next weekend, we just keep getting better.”
The Miners face No. 12 Florida State (9:30 a.m. MT) onSaturday and will tangle with St. Mary’s for a second time (2 p.m.)
Nebraska defeated Florida State, 4-3, on Friday afternoon. The Miners will face the Seminoles for the first time in program history.