North Texas Daily

New UNT strikeout queen crowned in Tennessee

New UNT strikeout queen crowned in Tennessee

April 22
21:58 2013

Brett Medeiros /Staff Writer

In a span of two days, the Mean Green softball team experienced a record-breaking performance, a nail-biting finish, a win by run-rule and a series sweep of a conference opponent.

UNT (22-20, 9-9) softball traveled to Murfreesboro, Tenn., over the weekend to take on the Middle Tennessee State University Blue Raiders (5-42, 1-19) and came out with its first series sweep of the season.

Game one ended with the Mean Green on top 3-2, but junior pitcher Ashley Kirk’s record-breaking performance stole the show.

This season, Kirk has averaged 8.5 strikeouts a game, and heading into the MTSU series, found herself eight strikeouts away from passing Kristina Fowler to become the new career strikeout leader in UNT history.

Kirk pitched a complete game, allowing four hits, one earned run and the record-breaking eight strikeouts.

“I’m still in shock of it all and I guess it really hasn’t hit me yet,” Kirk said. “It actually never crossed my mind when I was out there pitching. I was just out there looking for the [win].”

In games two and three, the UNT offense took center stage. After the one-run victory, the Mean Green outscored MTSU 18-3 in the following games.

Led by the power of junior outfielder Jackie Miller, the UNT offense found its stride in the early innings and never looked back, downing the Blue Raiders 8-1.

Game three ended early as the Mean Green offense exploded for a season-high 15 hits. The run-rule went into effect after a six-run Mean Green top of the sixth.

With the wins over the weekend, UNT moved up to fifth place in the conference.

“The biggest difference for us right now is that the offense is back on track,” head coach T.J. Hubbard said. “We had that slump there a couple weeks ago but this weekend we really started to hit the ball well.”

Oklahoma

Next for the Mean Green is a rescheduled game against the nationally ranked No. 1 University of Oklahoma Sooners (39-3, 8-1) and its All-American-led roster. Originally scheduled for April 10 in Norman, Okla., the game was postponed due to bad weather and moved to today at 4 p.m. at Lovelace Stadium.

Ashley Kirk is the projected starter for the Mean Green, and senior Michelle Gascoigne is the projected starter for OU.

“OU actually lost to Texas lately, so the Sooners are beatable,” Miller said. “We feel like we always play OU well and as long as we meet our personal standards, it will be a great fight.”

UT-Arlington

On Wednesday the Mean Green softball team will play its fifth game in as many days as it travels to take on the University of Texas-Arlington Mavericks.

This is the second time this season that UNT will take on the Mavs.

The first game ended in a 4-3 finish that was a part of the Texas Shootout in San Marcos, Texas.

Sophomore Jordan Terry headlined the Mean Green that day, accounting for half of the teams runs scored by way of a third inning two-run home run.

The first pitch is set for 6 p.m.

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