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UTEP Splits Doubleheader With Southern Miss.

UTEP extended, then Southern Miss ended the Miners seven game home winning streak, as conference play started Saturday for the UTEP softball team.

Tom Gonz-MinerRush
GAME 1

Danielle Pearson tossed a complete game, allowing just one run, on three hits to pick her fourth win of the season, and the Miners first C-USA win of the season.

A pitchers duel describes the first three innings, with Southern Miss drawing first blood on an RBI infield single from Morgan McKeever in the top of the third.

Kayla Black put UTEP ahead in the bottom of the fourth with a two run homerun, her first of the year that gave the Miners a 2-1 edge after four.

Pearson kept the Golden Eagles off balance all day, and got some great help from her defense.

Black flashed the leather in the fifth, Shelbee Rogers sent a well hit fly out to Black in left, making a twisting catch on the run while battling wild winds, Black recovered and doubled up Meaghen Nelson at second ending a huge Southern Miss. threat.

UTEP rode the defensive momentum to the plate in the latter innings.

Tahla Wade gave UTEP a runner with a one out triple. Next Miner hitter Ashley Eldridge drove in Wade with a double making it 4-1 Miners heading into the sixth.

The Miners tacked on two more in the sixth, Erika Acuri and Wade both had RBI singles in the their turns in the inning, that gave UTEP a commanding 5-1 lead.

Wade finsed 3 for 4 with that RBI single, Acuri was 2 for 4 for the Miners who won their first seven games at home this season, which was the best mark since the 2010 season.

Game 2

The Miners jumped out to 6-1 lead thanks to a four run bottom of the second, but would fall 8-6 after Southern Miss. battled back for the win.

Alanna Leasau blasted her fifth home run of the season to get things going in the second inning, a solo job that tied things up at one.

Ashley Eldridge would rip a RBI ground rule double later in the inning, as the Miners appeared to be on their way to a Saturday sweep leading 6-1 after four complete.

Though Southern Miss would put up a four spot themselves in the top of the sixth.

Taylor Beck's single to right loaded the bases for Selena Estrada who was brought in to pinch hit, and delivered with a single that crossed up Miraya Montiel on a bad hop, driving in two Golden Eagles, and trimmed UTEP's lead to 6-5. Morgan McKeever's sac fly would later tie things up going into Miners' half of the frame.

UTEP starter Colleen Hohman pitched five great innings, though lost her command in the sixth with a wild pitch, scoring Southern Miss's first run of the sixth inning rally.

Taylor Grohmann was responsible for three runs, including the eventual go ahead run that was left on board after she was replaced in the top of the seventh, and was settled with the loss.

Southern Miss tacked on one more in the top of the seven, then the Miners went down in order in the bottom half as defensive miscues also helped Southern Miss. to storm back, splitting the opening Conference USA series.

Despite the loss, Ashley Eldridge was 2 for 4 with 3 RBI's, Tahla Wade continued her solid series at the plate going 3 for 4 in game two, Arielle Pollock went 2 for 4 and drove in a two for Southern Miss.

Samantha Robles pitched all seven for Southern Miss., picking up their first conference win of the season.

UTEP is 8-15 on the season, and 1-1 overall in Tobin Echo-Hawk's first season at the helm.

The two teams will resume the final game of the opening conference series tomorrow at noon at the Helen of Troy Softball Complex.