Charlotte softball completed the series sweep over the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) this weekend at Sue M. Daughtridge Stadium in Charlotte. With two dominant wins in the first and third games and a walk-off win in the second game.
The series sweep improves the 49ers' record to 19-12 overall and 7-2 in conference play. The 49ers outscored UTEP 29-11 in this series, earning their third conference series win this season.
"Winning is very hard, and I couldn't be more proud to win with this group of people," said Head Coach Ashley Chastain. "I think anytime you can sweep an opponent, it is just a testament to the people that are in the program. From the assistant coaches to the support staff and to everyone on the roster, it takes everybody to win three games, and it's an awesome feeling. I think the team really deserves it. I think they have worked really hard for a moment like this since we started in August, and I'm just proud of our whole program."
A five-inning game to open the series showcased the 49ers scoring 10 runs within the first two innings. Ella Chancey stepped up with the bases loaded as she hit a single through the infield bringing home Ashleigh Washington.
With no outs in the inning, a wild pitch scored Kassidy Krupit while advancing Anna Devereaux to third and Chancey to second. Bailey Vannoy earned a hit in her at-bat, scoring Devereaux.
Finishing out the first-inning action with Cori Hoffler reaching base by an error by UTEP shortstop, scoring Chancey, making the score 4-0.
More runs were scored as Chancey singled to right field, scoring Washington again. Next, Vannoy reached base on a fielder's choice as Krupit scored.
A Savanna Nguyen single to left field scored Devereaux, which was followed by a three-run homer from Hoffler, making the score 10-0.
Getting on the board in the third inning for UTEP with a three-run homer was Savannah Farve, bringing the score to 10-3.
The 49ers added four more runs in the fourth inning as Kiyah Garrett hit a single to bring home Hoffler. Arianna Rodi hit a three-run home run to make the final score 14-3.
UTEP opened game two on fire, scoring seven runs in the second inning.
Down 7-0 to UTEP in the second, the 49ers began their comeback in the third inning, scoring three runs as Krupit doubled to left field, bringing home Washington.
Chancey singled to the left, scoring Krupit, and a Nguyen fly-out brought home London Dirk.
In the fourth inning, UTEP put another run on the board, bringing the score to 8-3, which was the last time they scored in this game. A Madelyn Wright home run in the fourth cut the deficit to only four.
In the fifth inning, down 8-4, the 49ers scored four runs to tie the game.
With the game tied 8-8 in the bottom of the seventh, Washington was up to bat and hit a double to right center, bringing home Lexi Winters, who was almost out, but due to the UTEP catcher obstructing the baseline, it was a run given to the 49ers and them winning the game. Final 9-8.
In the final game of the series, the 49ers earned a shutout over UTEP, holding them to only three hits.
Vannoy got the scoring going in the first and third innings with a single and a double, scoring Washington and Chancey making the score 2-0.
Hoffler added to the score in the third with a single up the middle to score Vannoy. A Hoffler home run in the fifth made the score 4-0.
The 49ers closed out the game in the sixth with a walk from Winter, sending Vannoy home for the fourth time in the weekend, and a line out from Washington to score Hoffler, making the final score 6-0.
The weekend was another solid outing from Hoffler as she went 5-9 on the weekend with two home runs and five runs batted in.
Washington came up big in the second game as she went 3-3 and scored one run.
On the mound, Sam Gress went the full seven in the third game, striking out four batters and only giving up three hits. A solid earned run average of 1.24 in conference play keeps the pitching rotation alive and well. This earned Gress Conference USA Pitcher of the Week due to her strong performance.
The 49ers softball team is back in action on Wednesday, March 29, at 5 p.m. as they face off against the University of North Carolina at Greensboro at Sue M. Daughtridge Stadium. This game will be available to stream on ESPN+.