March 27, 2011
EL PASO, Texas – A long ball-dominated Sunday afternoon match-up between the University of Memphis softball team and the UTEP Miners was won by the Tigers, in a 15-6, six-inning slugfest.
Junior first baseman Jessica Phillips tied a Conference USA record and set a school record with three home runs in the game, including a walk-off grand slam in the sixth. The three home runs is a conference record for most hit in a league contest. She finished with six RBI, tying for third in school history. It is her third multi-homer game of the season and fourth of her career.
Senior third baseman Maddie McKinley also went deep twice in the game and finished with four RBI.
The Tigers (21-7, 6-3 Conference USA) used a school-record six home runs to knock off the Miners (15-18, 1-5 C-USA) in the program’s first-ever road series sweep in conference play and first series victory at UTEP. Memphis scored 33 runs over the three-game series, most in one series in Memphis history, and compiled 30 hits.
The Tigers wasted no time getting the offense rolling, with senior Heather Mott leading off the game with a solo home run, her season’s fifth and the 20th of her career, which ties her for second all-time with Bridgette McNulty.
Two batters later, following a Lelani Bernardino walk, McKinley smacked her season’s fourth home run and Memphis had the early edge on the host.
The bombs kept coming in the second, with McKinley knocking her second two-run homer of the day; the next batter, Phillips, smoked her season’s seventh home run to extend the lead out to six.
It was the first time two Memphis players have hit back-to-back home runs since May 13, 2010.
UTEP scratched across a run in the bottom of the second, but Memphis put across two more in the top of the third inning.
The Miners grabbed another run in the bottom of the third, and held Memphis to a game-low one run in the fourth and fifth innings; the fourth inning run came via a Nikki Moreno single to drive in Kamri Chester, while Phillips crushed her second homer of the game in the fifth.
Phillips and McKinley became the first teammates in Tiger history to hit two home runs in the same game.
Lost in the shuffle of the home runs was Chester’s two doubles; the sophomore reached base in all four plate appearances and went 3-for-3 in the game.
UTEP put up two unearned runs in the fourth and two more runs in the fifth off a Camille Herrera two-run homer to bring the score to 10-6.
The Tigers ended the historic barrage of scoring in the sixth inning. After Moreno doubled in Alyssa Palmieri, Phillips cranked a grand-slam for her third home run of the day, setting the school record on her ninth big fly of 2011. She now stands fourth on the all-time single-season home run list.
Carly Hummel (12-3) gave up two runs on three hits in three innings, striking out four for her season’s 12th victory.
Janelle Valle pitched the final two innings and allowed four runs on three hits.
The game was called with two outs in the top of the sixth following Phillips’ grand slam due to a previously instilled drop dead time to accommodate Memphis’ flight.
The Tigers will return home and continue conference play with a three-game series at the Tiger Softball Complex against Tulsa beginning Saturday.