North Texas Daily

After best start in program history, softball prepare for tough schedule

After best start in program history, softball prepare for tough schedule

After best start in program history, softball prepare for tough schedule
February 21
00:51 2019

After beating Northwestern State 6-0 in the 2019 Mean Green Classic, the North Texas softball team (8-1) has set the new best start in program history. The win over Northwestern State completed a perfect 4-0 weekend for the Mean Green and contributed to their strong start to the season so far.

“Those wins are exciting to build off of,” sophomore pitcher Hope Trautwein said. “We trust coach DeLong and that’s showing and it’s exciting to see all of our hard work paying off.”

The 6-0 victory was not the only landslide win North Texas had early in the 2019 season. The team defeated Northern Colorado 9-0 and 8-2, Arkansas Pine-Bluff 9-1, Seton Hall 14-2, Creighton 7-3, Northwestern State 6-0 and nationally ranked No. 20 Texas A&M 10-2. North Texas won in run rule fashion in their first win over a Top-25 opponent since February of 2016 when they took down No. 21 Baylor.

“We’ve got some wins over some top-level teams,” head coach Rodney DeLong said.” If anything, this tells them the type of team we are. Confidence is a big thing and we’ve got it right now. These [games] prove it for us.”

Despite the team accomplishing their best start in program history, there is a general feeling that there is room for improvement.

Sophomore Pitcher Hope Trautwein throws in a pitch at the game against Northwestern State at Lovelace Stadium on Feb. 17, 2019. Image by: Kara Dry.

“[These are] not the best games we’ve played yet,” Trautwein said. “And we’re playing amazing.”

In seven out of the nine games the Mean Green have played, they have allowed three runs. They have outscored their opponents 67-21, averaging a 5.11 points margin. Trautwein has recorded a 0.42 ERA and a 4-0 record in her 33 innings pitched, but she said she feels she isn’t done improving yet.

“I’m not where I want to be,” Trautwein said. “I do think the bullpen work is paying off. I’m just excited to see the [relief pitchers].”

Junior outfielder Katie Clark is leading the Mean Green in multiple statistics, including batting average (.588), on-base plus slugging (1.435), hits (20), slugging percentage (.824) and RBIs (13). Clark believes their positive start will translate into success heading deeper into the season.

“We trust in our coaches right now,” Clark said. “We trust in each other and [this start] gives us a lot of momentum going into the rest of the season.”

The Mean Green prepared for the spring season in the winter, going against Big 12 programs such as Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. North Texas lost to Oklahoma 4-2 and Oklahoma State 8-6. Throughout the fall, the Mean Green worked hard to prepare for a season in which they would face five teams in the Top 50 of the NCAA rating percentage index, including Texas A&M, Baylor, Texas Tech and rematches with Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.

“We all get here an hour before practice,” Clark said. “A lot of us stay after practice and we’re practicing hitting all the time. Our team is pretty good at putting in the extra work and we’ve been working extra hard in the weight room. We’ve just been pushing ourselves to be what we know we can be.”

After spending the past three years below .500 and going into games as an underdog this season, Clark said she wants to take every game one at a time.

“We just can’t put too much pressure on ourselves,” Clark said. “We’re coming off of a season where we were the underdogs and we’re catching people’s attention now, but we don’t have any pressure on us.”

North Texas will compete in the Baylor Tournament from Feb. 22-24 in Waco, Texas. The tournament will begin with a doubleheader against Kent State (3-2) and Baylor (7-4). The Mean Green will look to continue improving off of their best start in franchise history and keep their momentum from the 8-1 entrance to the season.

“We’ve just got to keep it going,” Trautwein said. “This isn’t our maximum potential and that’s the absolute most exciting part.”

Featured Image: Junior pitcher Jenna Goodrich throws a pitch at the game against Northwestern State at Lovelace Stadium on Feb. 17, 2019. The Mean Green came out with a 6-0 win against the Devils. Image by: Kara Dry.

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Joshua Paveglio

Joshua Paveglio

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