Lady Tigers Sweep First Day of Home Action
March 18, 2006
UTEP 040 000 0 - 4 6 3 Memphis 020 040 x - 6 6 1SOUTHAVEN, Miss. - The Memphis softball team made the most of its first home games ever, as the Lady Tiger offense came up big to propel the U of M to a double-header sweep of UTEP in Conference USA action at Greenbrook Park. The Tigers totaled 17 runs on the day, winning game one 6-4 before taking game two 11-6.
Memphis fell behind early in both contests, with UTEP leading 4-0 in game one and 2-0 and 6-3 in game two. But each time UTEP mounted an attack, the Lady Tiger bats countered, giving the U of M come-from-behind wins in both games.
"We had a lot of different people step up in key situations today," said Coach Windy Thees. "This was a total team effort. Offensively, everyone, from one through nine, came up big."
In the first game of the day, UTEP got on the board first with four runs in the top of the second. The Miners used three hits and a pair of walks to take a 4-0 lead, with lead-off hitter Sarah Ramirez dealing the big blow with a double that scored Rachel Schaeffer and Andi Zolton.
Memphis responded right back, using a two hits, a pair of walks and a Miner error to cut the deficit to two in the bottom of the second. Bridgette McNulty doubled and scored on a Kara Ross single, while Tori Gross reached on an error and scored on a walk to Cara Stiles.
UTEP retained the 4-2 lead until the bottom of the sixth, when the Memphis bats came through with four runs to take a 6-4 advantage. Each of the first four Lady Tiger batters reached base and scored, while Gross picked up the big hit with a two-run double to leftcenter.
Jenna Kubesch, who relieved Nicki Johnson in the circle, then held UTEP in the seventh to pick up the first-ever home win for Memphis. Kubesch gave up three hits and no runs, while striking out five, to move her record to 5-3.
The Memphis offense totaled six hits in game one, with six different players picking up a knock apiece. Gross led the way with her double and two runs scored.
In game two, UTEP once again got on the board first, plating two runs in the second on two hits and a Lady Tiger error. Zolton dealt the big blow, hitting her second career homerun, a two-run shot to leftfield.
Memphis came right back though, taking the lead in the bottom of the third, as Lindsey Pridgen blasted a three-run bomb to leftcenter for her first homerun as a Lady Tiger. The shot scored Gross and Brittany Gooch and gave the U of M a 3-2 lead.
UTEP tied the game at three in the third, then took a three run lead in the top of the fifth, using two hits and a Memphis error to make the score 6-3.
The Tigers, however, stormed back in the bottom half of the fifth, batting around and scoring five runs to take an 8-6 lead. The first four batters reached base safely, with Stiles, Leandra Hines and Leila Dolfo singling and Kimmi Hayden hit by a pitch. Ross then came up with the big knock, pounding a three-run bomb over the centerfield fence. The homer was Ross' first in a Memphis uniform.
Following the big fifth inning, the U of M put the game away with three more runs in the sixth. Hayden and Ross each had base hits and RBIs in the frame, as the U of M took an 11-6 advantage.
Johnson, who worked 2.2 innings in relief, got the final eight outs to pick up the win in game two. The junior gave up one hit and no runs and moves to 7-4 on the season.
The offense was well rounded in game two as well, with eight different players logging at least one hit. Ross led the way, going 2-for-4 with a homer and four RBIs, while Pridgen was 1-for-3 with a homer and three RBIs.
"These were two big wins for us," said Thees. "Even though our pitchers didn't really have their best stuff today, our bats came through. It was a solid team effort."
With the pair of victories, Memphis moves to 14-10 on the season and 3-2 in Conference USA play. UTEP falls to 10-18 overall and 0-2 in C-USA.
Memphis and UTEP are slated to complete their three-game series Sunday at Greenbrook Park, with the first pitch set for 1 p.m. The game can be heard on the U of M's campus radio station, WUMR 91.7, with Jeff Brightwell on the call.