EL PASO, Texas – UTEP Softball concluded the Dr. Diana Natalicio Memorial Tournament on another high note Sunday, securing a 12-0 shutout against ACU in just five innings at Helen of Troy Field. The victory not only marked UTEP as the tournament champions but also showcased an impressive 4-1 start to the season, a feat last achieved in both 2022 and 2012.
The exceptional performance earned five Miners a spot on the All-Tournament Team: Faith Aragon, Kenna Collett, Taja Felder, Lexi Morales, and Ajia Richard, with Richard receiving the coveted All-Tournament MVP title.
UTEP 12, ACU 0 [5inn]
The Miners wasted no time, posting three runs in the opening frame highlighted by a powerful 3 RBI home run from Richard. The third inning saw a prolific surge, with Collett launching a solo homer to right field, followed by RBI singles from Morales, Richard, Collett, and Ashlynn Allen. Rylan Dooner contributed with an RBI sac fly, a wild pitch on Richard’s at-bat brought in another run, and a bases-loaded walk capped off the scoring frenzy. Grace Aragon, making her UTEP debut, added the final touch with a RBI sac fly in the fourth, bringing the total to 12 runs. Starting pitcher Taja Felder impressively faced 18 batters, striking out two and allowing just one hit to the second-to-last ACU batter, maintaining her perfect 3-0 record.
Lexi Morales earned a leadoff walk in all five games this weekend in each first at-bat
“We were excited coming into opening weekend,” UTEP pitcher Taja Felder said. “The team put in tremendous effort during the offseason, and we were eager to showcase our capabilities. Throughout today’s game, my defense consistently had my back. Their support, combined with our ability to score runs, fueled my determination. I have immense appreciation and love for each teammate. After yesterday’s setback, being run-ruled, we took it personally and were determined to bounce back. I came out with everything I had, trusting my defense wholeheartedly to ensure a different outcome, and together, we delivered.”
UTEP will be back in action as it hosts New Mexico for a midweek doubleheader on Wednesday (Feb. 14) at 2 and 4 p.m. MT.