North Texas Daily

FIU’s pitching keep softball’s bats silenced in series sweep

FIU’s pitching keep softball’s bats silenced in series sweep

Freshman pitcher Hope Trautwein pitches a ball against Florida International University during a doubleheader. The Mean Green lost both games, 6-0 and 8-3.

FIU’s pitching keep softball’s bats silenced in series sweep
April 22
18:29 2018

Two weeks ago, the North Texas softball team sat in first place in the Conference USA standings. Pitching, hitting and fielding were all clicking for head coach Tracey Kee’s team.

Unfortunately, the Mean Green will likely fall into the seventh place spot after dropping both their games against Florida International on Sunday morning, 6-0 and 8-3.

With the loss, North Texas has now lost six consecutive games.

“We just have to get our game in check,” Kee said. “As fast as we fell from first place, we understand that we can climb back in these last few games.”

Florida International 6, North Texas 0

Game one was all Florida International, as the Panthers jumped on freshman pitcher Maria Priest straight out of the gates.

A two-run home run and an RBI double put the Panthers up 3-0 in the opening frame.

Despite throwing all seven innings, Priest struggled to find any success against the opposing hitters. She gave up six runs on 10 hits while walking eight batters and only striking out one.

Offensively, the Mean Green were shut down by Florida International’s Shannon Saile. Saile threw 6.0 innings, only allowing four hits and striking out eight.

“She’s proven to be one of the best pitchers in this conference” Kee said. “Her reputation is exactly what her numbers are and she’s the best strikeout pitcher we’ve faced so far.”

Saile’s 1.80 ERA and 232 strikeouts currently lead C-USA.

North Texas allowed five runners on base throughout the game.

“Offensively, we had our work cut out for us,” Kee said. “But you can’t give up runs as fast as we did and think you’re going to score as many on a kid who’s ERA is that low.”

Collecting base hits in the losing effort for the Mean Green were sophomore outfielder Katie Clark, sophomore catcher Nicole Ochotnicki, sophomore infielder second baseman Lacy Gregory and junior outfielder Sally Gastelo.

Florida International 8, North Texas 3

The started game of two was deja vu to the first game. Florida International once again jumped out to a 3-0 lead with a couple of big hits after a leadoff walk to start the game.

Even though freshman pitcher Hope Trautwein has been the ace of the team this season, the Panthers gave her a tough time on the mound, collecting 10 hits leading to their eight runs.

A grandslam in the fourth inning highlighted the big day at the late for Florida International.

However, with six strikeouts in her outing, Trautwein now has the second most strikeouts in a single season by a freshman pitcher (137) and is not far from breaking the original record of 158 set by Ashley Kirk back in 2011.

A pair of base hits from Clark gave the Mean Green another milestone on the day, as Clark has  now safely reached base in 17 straight games.

“I just try to see my pitch and do what I can to get on base,” Clark said. “I look to get my offense going and just looking for a pitch that I can drive.”

Two of the three runs for North Texas today were driven in by freshman infielders Miranda Holguin and Kourtney Williams. Holguin entered the game in third inning after sophomore shortstop Lindsay Gregory had to exit the game with an injury.

“Kourtney hasn’t been getting the chances she deserves so I decided to go with her knowing we needed more offense,” Kee said. “And Miranda is just a competitor. Even if her numbers don’t show it, I never have problem with her out on the field.”

Even though North Texas has a big matchup against No. 2 Oklahoma at home on Wednesday, the Mean Green are focusing more on the conference wins they need to get to fight their way back to the top spots.

“OU will be a fun game and it will be cool to face some upper level pitching like that,” Clark said. “But we’re really more focused on getting back on track in conference. It is not as big as a concern as these next six games that we have coming up.”

Up next: North Texas faces one of their highest ranked opponent of the season, University of  Oklahoma at 6 p.m. on their home field, Lovelace stadium.

Featured Image: Freshman pitcher Hope Trautwein pitches a ball against Florida International University during a doubleheader. The Mean Green lost both games, 6-0 and 8-3. Rachel Walters

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Luis Diosdado

Luis Diosdado

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