EL PASO, TEXAS ?C The No. 7 Arizona Wildcats (18-6) came back in the nightcap, 8-2, to earn a split in a doubleheader against the UTEP Miners (20-10) Tuesday. UTEP won its first game against Arizona in its history, 9-6, in the opener.
Big innings were the norm in both games. Arizona struck early in the second game for five runs and tacked on three more in the later stages for the victory, much as UTEP did in game one.
In the opener, big third and fourth innings lifted the Miners. After no-hit ball by UA starter Taryne Mowatt (7-5) for two innings, Ashley Ellis singled to left and Mowatt walked Andi Zolton and Ashley Perez on 8 straight pitches to load the bases with no outs. Leadoff hitter Amber Bennett was hit by a pitch to bring in the first run and the then Simone Holland singled up the middle to make it 2-0.
Mowatt was replaced by freshman Lindsey Sisk, who gave up a two-run double to Shea Lodes followed by a Jennifer Davis single, her second of the inning and enough to push the margin to 5-0.
UA threatened in the top of the fourth when Lauren Schutzler smacked the first hit off winner Stacie Townsend, and an out later Jenae Leles was hit by a pitch. But Townsend struck out Stacie Chambers to halt the rally.
Holland belted a two-run home run to left center in the fourth and Ellis picked up her third hit of the game with a two-out, two-run single to make it 9-0.
Arizona fought back in the fifth when Sarah Akamine walked and Kˇ?Lee Arredondo reached on an error. Laine Roth knocked a pinch-hit home run, her fifth, to help UA avoid the mercy rule, which hadn't happened in a year since Oklahoma drubbed UA in Fullerton, Calif.
In the Arizona sixth, two hits and an error loaded the bases, and UA got RBI singles from Arrendondo, Brittany Lastrapes and Schutzler to bring in the Wildcats' final runs.
Townsend (9-5) picked up the victory with 7 strikeouts for UTEP. Mowatt dropped her fifth decision of the year.
In the second game, Lastrapes and Schutzler walked to open the game, and Leles reached on an error that scored Lastrapes. Roth blasted her second home run of the day to clear the bases and an out later Callista Balko knocked a triple and scored on an infield grounder by Victoria Kemp to make it 5-0.
Arizona chased starter Kelly Curran (4-3) in the second after Cyndi Duran walked. Nichole Tunget walked Lastrapes with no outs, but ended the threat by retiring three in order.
Two innings later, after giving up consecutive walks to Arredondo and Duran, Tunget was lifted in favor of Renee DiPuccio, who walked Lastrapes to load the bases with no outs. After a force out at home, Leles' ground ball was mishandled on the return throw to the plate and Duran scored to make it 6-0.
Mowatt (8-5) fared better in the second game brilliantly throughout, but found herself in a jam in the bottom of the sixth. Two singles and a walk loaded the bases with one out, but Mowatt struck out Shea Lodes and got a popup from Carerra to pop up to end the threat.
In the final frame Arizona scored two runs on a pair of UTEP's five errors in the game.
The Miners got on the board with a two-run home run by Jennifer Davis with two outs in the bottom of the seventh.
Up Next: Arizona travels from El Paso to Fullerton, Calif., Wednesday for action later this week at the Judi Garman Classic tournament, facing a quintet of normal NCAA tournament clubs -- DePaul, Florida State, Michigan, Louisiana-Lafayette and host CSUF.