Houston scored 12 runs in the first inning in a rout of UTEP, 17-2, in game one of Saturday’s doubleheader. But the Miners (12-24, 1-12 C-USA) played the Cougars (28-12, 11-3 C-USA) till the very end as three grand slams were hit in two innings by both squads in a 10-7 loss, but not without controversy at the Helen of Troy Softball Complex.
Alanna Leasau had been in a slump with only three hits since her school-record two grand slams back on March 15. But the junior found her swing as she blasted a grand slam to center that gave the Orange and Blue a 6-4 lead in the third inning. Leasau had five RBI on the day.
Houston’s Haley Outon would answer with a grand slam of her own as she gave her squad a 9-6 lead. It was Outon’s second grand slam of the afternoon as her first came in the third inning. The conference statisticalleader had 10 RBI.
After runs were exchanged in the fifth, the Miners loaded up the bases in the seventh.
After junior Erika Arcuri, senior Kayla Oranger, and freshman Morgan Rasmason (pinch ran for Kayleigh Walts) found ways to occupy the bases, junior Colleen Hohman came in to pinch hit for sophomore Tahla Wade with one out. Controversy followed on a 1-1 count when a pitch hit Hohman and Arcuri came trotting into home that would have had the Miners within two runs. The umpire declared that Hohman did not make an effort to get out of the way of the pitch, therefore called the pitch a ball. Hohman would eventually strikeout looking on what was also a controversial call.
The next batter, senior Ashley Collazo, fought hard on every pitch and hit the final one to center. The ball looked like it was going tocarry into the gap, but came up short to the centerfielder to end the exciting game.
Sophomore Ashley Eldridge had a season-high three hits, along with a run scored and an RBI, while sophomore Ariel Armendariz got off the snide as she cranked a line drive to center for the first time since hitting a home run on March 27.
The Miners and Cougars will play the series finale on Sunday at noon.