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North Texas softball splits double-header on final day of tournament play

North Texas softball splits double-header on final day of tournament play

February 12
16:46 2017

After opening the season with back-to-back losses on Saturday, the North Texas softball team had a chance to redeem itself.

The Mean Green (1-4) faced off with the two teams that handed them losses on Saturday. North Texas avenged a tough start to the weekend by splitting Sunday’s doubleheader with the University of Massachusetts – Lowell and the University of Arkansas.

The Mean Green rode a complete game shutout from senior right-handed pitcher Stacey Underwood to down UMass Lowell (1-3) 6-0 in game one, but quiet bats and mental mistakes let North Texas down in game two as the team fell to the Razorbacks (4-0) 7-0.

“I was pleased in regards to the first game,” head coach Tracey Kee said. “In the second game, we made too many mental mistakes. We count physical and mental mistakes and we gave them a plus seven. We gave them seven extra outs and they used them.”

North Texas 6, University of Massachusetts – Lowell 0

After giving up a combined 19 runs in just two games yesterday, the Mean Green needed a pitcher to bounce back. Underwood got the call to open the morning on the mound, and she delivered.

The right-handed power pitcher tossed a gem, going all the way with 7.0 shutout innings while striking out seven and allowing just one hit. After two relatively rough outings yesterday against Arkansas in which she allowed five runs in 3.1 innings, the senior needed the bounce back after falling to the Riverhawks in extras.

“It felt really good,” Underwood said. “I wanted to get back at [UMass Lowell] for really everything. It felt good.”

The Mean Green offense did their part as well. North Texas pushed across six runs on six hits which started in the first with freshman Lacy Gregory. Lacy’s hot shot into left scored one run and got the Mean Green going.

North Texas did most of its damage in the bottom of the third with four runs in the frame. It started with a double for senior Kelli Schkade off of an error. Senior Dani Gregory came up a few batters later to single home a run.

Lacy had a chance again to knock home runners and did so with a laser down the left field line that scored two. Lacy ended the first game with 3 RBIs. She finished 3-for-6 on the day.

Sophomore outfielder Hannah Gerecke added one more with a single that rounded out the inning putting the Mean Green up 5-0.

“In the first game everyone was on a roll,” Lacy said. “We’re working on getting runners on and getting them over before getting them in.”
Underwood’s roll continued, and freshman Nicole Ochotnicki rounded out the day offensively with a solo home run to left that cleared the fence in a hurry in the bottom of the 6th to make it 6-0 for the final.

Arkansas 7, North Texas 0

The Razorbacks jumped out to a quick lead with a two-run single from junior infielder A.J. Belans to open-up a 2-0 lead in the first. The scoring continued in the top of the second when a failed fielder’s choice allowed a runner to reach second and the batter for reach first.

A run scored on a single by senior catcher Shelby Hiers before the inning ended on a double play from Dani who caught a pop-fly in center and threw a rope to home plate to catch the runner.

Another mental error by the Mean Green gave the Razorbacks two more runs. A short chopper on the right side of the infield was gathered by senior second basemen Kelli Schkade, but her throw went through the glove of sophomore first basemen Rhylie Makawe.

Two runners scampered home from the loaded bases to put the Razorbacks up 5-0.

“I think based on the tempo of that ball, my first basemen could have gotten it,” Kee said. “Our first basemen didn’t know that Kelli was on the grass and if she had known she would have gotten it. It’s a matter of knowing where your teammates are. That opened up a can of worms.”

Senior southpaw Jessica Elder got the start and lasted 4.0 innings, allowing seven runs on seven hits. Her day was not over before she allowed a towering 2-run home run to sophomore infielder Katie Warrick, her second of the season, to make it 7-0.

Sophomore righty Lauren Craine came on to relieve Elder, going the rest of the 3.0 innings allowing no runs on just two hits and striking out one.

“She got beat up pretty hard yesterday,” Kee said. “For her to come out and give us three complete innings and change her mindset, she’s got great stuff. I liked the adjustment from yesterday to keep the gas on.”

Next up: The Mean Green travel to Waco for a weekend tournament that will feature Lamar University, Grand Canyon University and Baylor University. The tournament opens on Feb. 17th when North Texas faces Lamar at 10 a.m.

Featured Image: Jessica Elder, Mean Green senior pitcher (17) throws a ball toward homebase during a game against the Arkansas Razorbacks Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017, at Lovelace Stadium. Tomas Gonzalez

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Clay Massey

Clay Massey

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