Tech falls to UTEP under cloudy skies

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. - Looming rain proved to be an omen for the Tennessee Tech softball team on Tuesday as the Golden Eagles fell to UTEP, 5-2. The Miners (21-17) hit three home runs and struck out 14 Tech batters in the non-conference game.

Senior Kristina Hortert got her first start since 2007, giving up four runs and six hits in her two innings of work. Tech (19-17) got in a hole early when Camilla Carrera hit a solo home run over the right-center fence on a 3-1 count from Hortert.

Tech answered in the second after sophomore Lacie Coquerille reached on a single and advanced to second on a passed ball. After being bunted over to third by freshman Erin Cutlip, a wild pitch allowed Coquerille to score her team-high 26th run of the season.

A similar situation developed for UTEP in the third when Ashley Ellis hit a first-pitch single to left field. She reached second after an illegal pitch and scored on an error by Cutlip, who muffed a fly by Becky Smith. Smith then came around to score on a single by Carrera.

The Miners scored again in the third when the lead-off batter, Shea Lodes ripped a 1-1 pitch over the wall in center field, putting UTEP up 4-1.

Pitcher Stacie Townsend and the Miner defense retired 13 straight Golden Eagle batters from the second through the fifth innings, striking out ten in that stretch.

In the fifth inning, another home run by Carrera increased the Miner lead to 5-1.

The final run of the game came in the bottom of the sixth. Freshman Jordan Leff reached on a single and advanced to second on an error. After Townsend hurled back-to-back strikeouts, a dropped ball on a fly by sophomore Katie Betry allowed Leff to score, making the final score 5-2.

Coquerille went 1-4 on the day with a run scored. Leff also scored a run and went 1-3 from the plate. Betry picked up the only RBI of the day, also going 1-3.

Hortert (0-1) took the loss, walking two while striking out three in two innings pitched. Freshman Holly Thomas came in in relief, allowing just one run in five innings, striking out five.

Townsend (13-10) got the win after striking out 14 Golden Eagles and not giving up a single walk or earned run.

The Golden Eagles' next action comes when they host the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers on Wednesday at 6 p.m.