North Texas Daily

Elder’s senior day performance leads softball to series win over Florida Atlantic

Elder’s senior day performance leads softball to series win over Florida Atlantic

April 23
14:56 2017

It’s the circle of life.

North Texas softball picked up a 2-0 win over Florida Atlantic University on Senior Day at Lovelace Stadium led by a senior and a freshman. Senior lefty Jessica Elder tossed 7.0 complete innings of shutout softball allowing just six hits and striking out three in her final home game.

It’s Elder’s second complete game shutout in as many weekends. North Texas (24-23, 11-10) finishes the home schedule with a 13-7 record at Lovelace Stadium.

“It was a sad moment when the seniors were recognized,” Elders said. “But I felt like it was time to prove what we can do.”

But Elder could not do it alone. The lone runs of the ballgame came in the bottom of the third off the bat of Saturday’s walk-off hero. Freshman Lacy Gregory mashed a fastball deep the left for a no-doubt two-run shot.

It was the freshman’s sixth homer of the season and a sign of a slump buster.

“I was just looking for something to square up,” Lacy said. “It feels nice to get a few hits. Hopefully, I can keep it going.”

The Owls (30-18, 10-8) threatened just a few times in the ballgame and had the bases loaded early, but Elder worked out of it. FAU gained a bit of momentum, but senior outfielder Dani Gregory had other plans.
A ball laced to the left-center field gap looked to be certain extra bases, but Gregory went full extension, making the catch as her visor and sunglasses fell to the outfield grass off her head. The atmosphere of the game changed from that point on.

“That was a back-breaker for FAU,” said head coach Tracey Kee. “Dani is one of those kids that flys under the radar but has been very important to our program over the years.”

Elder shut the Owls down the rest of the way. She has now allowed just two runs in the last 20.0 innings of conference play. In her last seven games both conference and non-conference, Elder has posted a 1.86 ERA after starting the season at over 4.00 ERA.

“Jess has been incredibly strong coming down the stretch,” Kee said. “I know she was frustrated in the first half of the season but she’s really turned the corner, and it was at the perfect time.”

With the series win, the Mean Green inch closer to officially punching their ticket to the Conference USA tournament. But first, the Mean Green face a mid-week tilt with the University of Texas at Austin Longhorns on Wednesday. First pitch is at 6 p.m.

“Yes it was senior day but no our season is not over,” Kee said. “We’ve got our work cut out. We’ll go to Texas mid-week and see some live pitching and hopefully roll into Ruston on the weekend on a positive note.”

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Clay Massey

Clay Massey

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