The UTEP softball team complete a clean weekend sweep of the UTEP Invitational with a 9-1 drubbing of Incarnate Word Sunday afternoon.
El Pasoan and UTEP freshman Taylor Grohmann pitched five innings allowing just three hits, fanning a career high six hitters, and allowed only one earned run to pick up a very solid win in a dominating outing.
Alanna Leasau snapped an early 1-1 tie with a solo home run off the first pitch to open up the bottom of the second, Leasau now has four home runs on the year.
UTEP broke things open with a huge rally in the fourth inning that put UIW away.
The Miners forced IWU catcher Mia Esposito to overthrow a UTEP stolen base attempt with runners on the corners that plated home a run, then Miraya Montiel drove in another with a RBI single making it 4-1 Miners in the bottom of the fourth.
Ashley Eldridge kept the onslaught coming in the fourth, driving in two more in the Miners half of the fourth on a single, giving UTEP a 7-1 lead after four complete innings.
Grohmann continued to keep UIW hitters off balanced, as the Miners plated two more home in fifth inning to 8-run rule the Cardinals in Sunday's finale, Leasau finished 3-3 at the dish, while Eldridge was 2-3 with those huge RBI's.
New coach Tobin Echo Hawk has guided the Miners to the first five game win streak since 2011, turning around a 1-9 start to a promising 6-9 mark in the infancy of the season.
Head Coach Tobin Echo-Hawk:
"Its nice to get some wins, the kids they could easily hang their head after the start that we've had, but they just keep going at it. They have the confidence in themselves that eventually we were going to win, and now that they got that taste I think they are going to doing all they can to keep that feeling."
The Miners and Cardinals also met on Friday with Miners again 8-run ruling UIW 12-4. In the night cap also on Friday, Danielle Pearson allowed only four hits, and struck out three in the Miners 5-2 victory over Houston Baptist.
UTEP used a six-run fifth inning to distance themselves in a 10-4 win over Houston Baptist on Saturday, then junior Samantha Alvillar hit a sac-fly to left field that brought Montiel home to walk-off against UIW in the Miners second game of the day. UTEP trailed 4-1 heading to the bottom of the fifth, but rallied to knock off the Cardinal with that walk-off magic in the eighth inning.
Definitely a huge boost of confidence for the Miners as they continue their tough schedule to open up the campaign.
Taylor Grohmann on five straight wins:
"It boosted our confidence a lot, we know what our team is about, we know what we're capable of, its a good feeling."
UTEP travels to Tucson to face perennial power Arizona on February 25th and 26th, then head to Stockton, California for five game stretch in the Libby Mason Tournament February 28th through March 2nd.
The Miners open up with Washington in the first round, then will face San Jose State, Pacific, CSU Bakersfield, and end the tourney with Washington again all in that order.
Coming into Sunday's game, the Miners were batting .314 with a .454 slugging percentage, though need more outings like Grohamnn's gem today, and also improve on costly defensive lapses to build consistency in the win column, the Miners played error free, and solidly on defense this afternoon.
UTEP pounded out 11 hits in Sunday's win, and is now hitting .322 on the season.
Echo-Hawk has a good track record for success after a solid run at Portland State, she has her hands full with a tough schedule, though this weekend was a good start to in continuing to improve her team that could make a run once conference play starts in a couple of weeks with this continued growth.