EL PASO – Senior Amanda Nikolenko tossed a complete-game shutout and sophomore Rudi Cantu went 3-for-4 with a double and two runs scored to lead UTSA to a 5-0 victory over UTEP on Sunday afternoon at Helen of Troy Field.
Nikolenko struck out nine Miners and did not allow a walk, scattering six hits over seven innings of work to help the Roadrunners (4-6) salvage game three of the weekend series. It marked the 11th shutout of the Ashland, Mo., native’s career, as she improved to 2-2 on the season. The right-hander now has 479 career strikeouts, moving past Paige Whitley for second place on UTSA’s all-time list.
Cantu led a 10-hit output by the UTSA offense and finished the three-game set 7-for-11 (.636) at the plate. Freshman Whitney Balch went 2-for-4 with her third home run of the year and a pair of RBIs, while sophomore Kelly Cato also collected two hits.
The Roadrunners got things going with two outs in the top of the third inning. Junior Leanne Risberg singled to left field and moved to third on a double to right by Cantu. Risberg came home on a throwing error by the catcher, while sophomore Krista Sitka drove in Cantu on a base hit to left to put UTSA up, 2-0.
UTSA struck for three more runs in the top of the fifth. Cantu started the frame with an infield single, moved to second on a groundout and crossed home on a single to left by freshman Kristin Kappler. Balch followed with her blast to left field to score senior pinch runner Kim Chavez and give the Roadrunners a 5-0 advantage.
Meanwhile, Nikolenko cruised in the circle, allowing zero extra-base hits for the game and just one base runner over the final three frames in helping UTSA win its final non-conference tune-up.