North Texas Daily

Home runs doom softball in Texas Tech doubleheader

Home runs doom softball in Texas Tech doubleheader

North Texas freshman utility player Harley Parella (3) hits a ground ball into the dirt against Nicholls State during the Mean Green Spring Fling Tournament Dylan Nadwodny | Staff Photographer

Home runs doom softball in Texas Tech doubleheader
April 27
19:00 2016

Reece Waddell | Senior Staff Writer

@ReeceWaddell15

North Texas softball fell victim to the long ball on Wednesday afternoon, giving up six home runs to Texas Tech University to extend its losing streak to nine games.

The Mean Green (20-28, 3-14) had two costly innings in each contest, allowing the Red Raiders (23-26, 6-6) to jump on them to the tune of five and four-run innings, respectively. With the losses, North Texas has now lost 16 of its last 18 games and has not won since April 10.

Texas Tech 8, North Texas 5

Attempting to snap a seven-game losing skid, North Texas got off to about as bad of a start as possible in game one.

Junior pitcher Stacey Underwood struggled out of the gate with her command and was unable to get out of the first inning, surrendering a two and three-run home run to give Texas Tech a quick 5-0 lead.

Head coach Tracey Kee made a quick visit to the circle after the first blast, but was not willing to leave Underwood in the game any longer. She immediately made the call to the bullpen, bringing in freshman pitcher Lauren Craine for relief.

“It’s just an off day for me,” Underwood said. “They were hitting good pitches, but I think it was good for coach Kee to get me out because Lauren and Jessica did good today.”

North Texas attempted to mount a comeback in the bottom half of the first but could not capitalize on a bases-loaded threat, as sophomore infielder Lauren Miller struck out swinging to end the inning. The Red Raiders added a run in the top of the second on a single to right field, but was otherwise held in check.

Craine, while effective throughout most of her relief appearance, hung a pitch up in the strike zone that was belted for a solo home run by Texas Tech senior Kirsten Schwirtlich to extend the Texas Tech lead to 7-0.

“It came down to us not being able to keep the ball in the ballpark today,” Kee said. “They left the ball high. You can’t leave the ball belt-high and expect to get away with it at this level.”

The Mean Green got its first run of the game on a two-out RBI double by senior utility player Karly Williams in the third inning that plated junior infielder Kelli Schkade. After holding Texas Tech scoreless for the first time in the fourth, Schkade teed off on a fastball and sent it high over the left field wall to pull the Mean Green to within three at 7-4.

The lead was extended in the seventh inning when Schwirtlich corked her second homer of the game, turning on an inside pitch and sending it well over the right field fence to give the Red Raiders an 8-4 lead. But the Mean Green was able to get a run back in the final frame, as Miller lined out to right field with the tying run at the plate to give Texas Tech the victory.

Texas Tech 4, North Texas 2

Senior catcher Bryana Wade got game two’s scoring started in the bottom of the second when she hit her fifth home run of the season, a fastball to straightaway right field to give the Mean Green a 2-0 lead.

“I really just saw the ball and swung,” Wade said. “I really didn’t know it was over until the right fielder kept going to the fence and stopped.”

Junior pitcher Jessica Elder began the game strong, holding Texas Tech scoreless through four innings. However, things started to unravel in the fifth. A solo home run by the the Red Raiders cut the deficit in half and after a fielding error, Elder made her costliest mistake, leaving a pitch up over the middle that resulted in a three-run Texas Tech homer.

“I feel like the other team just jumped on my mistakes,” Elder said. “They jumped on every first pitch I threw.”

Kee wasted no time turning to Craine again for relief, and much like game one, she was able to get North Texas out of a jam. The Mean Green managed to get a runner on base in the sixth, but a line drive to the Lady Techster first baseman resulted in a double play that ran North Texas out of the inning.

With one out in the seventh, Wade lined a single over the third baseman’s head to start a rally. A walk and a sacrifice bunt put runners at second and third with Schkade up as the tying run. However, Texas Tech intentionally walked the North Texas slugger, and senior second baseman Karly Williams grounded out to end the game.

“I really don’t feel like our record is reflective at all,” Underwood said. “We just come out every day and work hard, and hopefully [we’ll] catch a break soon.”

Featured Image: Freshman utility player Harley Parella (3) hits a ground ball into the dirt. Dylan Nadwodny | Staff Photographer

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