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El Paso, TX — The top two scoring teams in Conference USA will square off this weekend. UTEP will host new conference foe North Texas in a three-game series starting with a doubleheader on Friday, March 21 at 2 p.m. and March 22 (12 p.m.) at the Helen of Troy Softball Complex.
The Miners (12-17, 4-2 C-USA) are coming off a historic three-game sweep of La Tech on March 15 and 16 in Ruston, La. The series marked the first-ever road sweep of a conference opponent in program history.
The Mean Green (19-10, 5-1 C-USA) just completed a two-game series against Texas Tech, dropping both, 5-1 and 5-4, on March 19 in Lubbock.
UTEP completed the three-game series against La Tech, winning game one, 11-6, game two, 12-3 (5), and game three 9-7.
The third game saw the Orange and Blue erase a 7-3 deficit in the top of the seventh inning.
The Miners scored six runs, highlighted by Erika Arcuri’s two-run single that cut the lead to two runs. Arcuri and Tahla Wade would tie the game on an error, and Alanna Leasau’s two-run double to deep center field put the Miners ahead. Colleen Hohman, who was inserted in the circle in thefourth inning, closed the game out and earned her third win of the season.
The Miners’ team batting average of .318 is ranked second in conference and 32nd in the nation, their 5.7 runs per game is ranked second in conference.
Multiple Miners in different offensive categories lead the squad.
Ashley Eldridge currently leads the nation in doubles (15) and doubles per game (0.54), while she is one of the conference leaders in RBI (26). Arcuri’s .394 (39-for-99) batting average is ranked 10th in conference, while she only strikes out every 24.8 at bats (ranked second inconference and 61st in the nation). Hohman and Leasau have each hit five home runs – tied for eighth overall in conference. Hohman’s three sac-flies is ranked No. 1 in conference and ninth nationally. Wade isranked 11th nationally and second in conference with three triples.
Series vs. North Texas
UTEP is 1-2 all time against North Texas. The Miners fell to the Mean Green 7-0 in Denton on March 4, 2011. Kiarf Moore and Samantha Alvillar each were 1-for-3 on the day, garnering the only hits for the Miners. North Texas gathered six runs on four hits in the fifth inning, highlighted by Brooke Foster’s three-run triple.
Scouting North Texas
The Mean Green are off to a fast start during the 2014campaign, winning five of their first six inaugural conference games. NorthTexas swept Middle Tennessee (5-1, 8-1 and 11-5) in Murfreesboro to open conference play, and took two of three from UTSA (3-0, 6-10, 10-7) March 15 and 16.
Foster leads the squad with seven home runs, ranks third on the squad in RBI (22) and is hitting .385 (37-for-96). Kat Strunk is pacing the Mean Green in RBI (27), while Danielle Hoff is hitting a team-leading .414 (41-for-99) and ranks second in RBI (26). North Texas has hit 25 home runs (ranks second in conference) and its 6.0 runs per game leads the league.
North Texas has a team ERA of 3.40, led by Ashley Kirk’s 2.85. Ashley is the ace in the circle, compiling a 13-4 record in 98.1 innings. Her 119 Ks ranks second in conference. Lauren Poole is 3-2, with a 3.15 ERA in 33.1 innings of work.
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