LAS CRUCES, N.M. (UTSA) — The UTSA softball team picked up a pair of impressive victories on day one of the Hotel Encanto Invitational, defeating UTEP, 4-2, and Nebraska, 10-9, in eight innings on Friday at the NMSU Softball Complex.
Junior Emily Humpal hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the sixth to help the Roadrunners (2-0) rally from a 2-1 deficit in the season-opening win against UTEP (0-1), while junior Danye Holmes had an RBI double in the top of the eighth to help complete a remarkable comeback against the Big 12 power Huskers (0-3).
Down to their last out and trailing by a pair of runs in the top of the seventh, freshman Samantha Beeson drew a full-count walk and senior Rudi Cantu lifted the first pitch she saw from Alex Hupp over the left field fence for a game-tying home run, her first career long ball.
Nebraska threatened to win the game in the bottom of the frame, putting runners at second and third with one out. Humpal, who was on in relief, got out of the jam with a strikeout and a lineout to third base.
UTSA then pushed across two runs in the eighth with the international tiebreaker rule in effect. Sophomore and former Huntington Lady Devil Caitlyn Ivy drew a walk and Holmes hit a bloop double to right field to plate sophomore Ashley Kappler, who was placed on second to start the frame. A based-loaded walk later in the inning gave the Roadrunners a 10-8 cushion.
The Huskers made things interesting in the bottom of the eighth, as Tori Tyson pinch ran came around to score when Whitney Barrett grounded out for the second out of the inning. Heidi Foland was then hit by a two-out pitch to put the tying run on base for pinch-hitter Robin Mackin, who lined out to short to end the game.
UTSA opened the game with a three-run first, only to see Nebraska plate five in the bottom of the panel. The Roadrunners responded with two runs in the second behind an RBI-double from Ashley Kappler, but the Huskers answered with three behind a two-run blast from Gabby Banda to make it 8-5 after two.
Junior Kristin Kappler launched her first home run of the season in the fourth to pull UTSA to within two.
Cantu and Holmes both finished with two hits and two RBIs apiece to pace the UTSA offense, which pounded out seven hits off a pair of Nebraska hurlers.
Humpal fanned four batters and allowed just one unearned run on two hits in five innings of relief to earn the win in the circle. Ashley Hagemann surrendered seven runs – five unearned – on five hits in two frames in the loss.
Humpal was the hero at the plate in the lidlifter, as her first long ball of the year helped cap a three-run sixth inning and give the Roadrunners the 4-2 win over UTEP.
Holmes actually started the sixth with a solo shot down the right field line to knot the score at 2-all. After a strikeout, Kristin Kappler singled to center to set up Humpal's round-tripper to center field.
Holmes entered the circle and worked a 1-2-3 seventh to secure the victory, earning her first career save in the process.
Sophomore Caitlyn Ivy gave UTSA a 1-0 lead in the third on an RBI-single to right that scored Cantu, who reached on an infield single.
The Miners grabbed a 2-1 lead after a Courtney Ware homer and Camilla Carrera single in the fifth.
Cantu finished 2-for-3 with a pair of stolen bases, while sophomore transfer Nikki Goff also joined the hit column. Sophomore Morgan Luksa earned the win in relief, striking out one and allowing just one hit in 1.1 scoreless frames.
Stacie Townsend allowed four runs on seven hits and struck out 14 in the loss.
UTSA will face Penn State at 5:30 p.m. and New Mexico State at 8 p.m. (CT) on Saturday.