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Offensive explosion ignites softball in run-rule victory

Offensive explosion ignites softball in run-rule victory

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

Offensive explosion ignites softball in run-rule victory
April 10
13:15 2016

Alex Lessard | Associate Sports Editor

@alexjlessard

Having lost seven of its past eight games and starting the Kansas Round Robin 0-3, the Mean Green softball team was desperate for a confidence booster.

North Texas (20-19, 3-9) got just that in an early Sunday morning matchup with the Georgia Institute of Technology, pulling off a 10-2 run-rule victory in five innings.

“This group did a nice job of not rolling over and taking it easy to leave here 0-4,” head coach Tracey Kee said. “We made adjustments at the plate and we got a good pitching outing. Things just finally came together.”

The Mean Green ended the first inning deadlocked at zero with the Yellow Jackets (16-23, 3-8), but broke out of its offensive slump in a big way in the second. After scoring just six runs over the past three games, North Texas plated six in one inning, ignited by two consecutive walks from the sixth and seventh slots in the order.

Senior catcher Bryana Wade didn’t miss out on her chance to snatch an early advantage, sending a towering home run over the wall to give the Mean Green a 3-0 lead. Her teammates followed with five hits in a row after the second out of the inning was recorded, including an RBI single for freshman utility player Harley Perella.

The Frisco native went a perfect 4-for-4 as part of an unstoppable top of the order for North Texas. The first four batters in the lineup combined to go 10-for-16 at the plate with four RBIs.

“We just had everything working for us,” Perella said. “Our pitching was doing good, and we were hitting the ball and stringing hits together. Our offense really showed up, and it was good to get that back and going.”

The bats went on to produce two runs in both the fourth and fifth innings, including a two-RBI single with two outs by senior utility player Karly Williams.

Kee said the results can be traced to an altered pregame routine. Instead of taking live batting practice, the Mean Green hitters simply practiced hitting the ball off tees to regain a high level of confidence.

“What we kept preaching yesterday was to simply stay relaxed, try not to panic, don’t press,” Kee said. “When you start panicking or pressing in your at-bats during every pitch, then typically it’s not going to work out for you. They did a nice job of playing loose, yet focused and had a really good energy.”

In the pitcher’s circle, junior Jessica Elder bounced back strong from allowing a season-worst 12 runs yesterday, throwing 4.0 innings of two-run ball with nine hits and two strikeouts. She said she was much more relaxed and trusted her teammates to pull of the win and improve to 13-7 this season.

“I think we came out with a vengeance this weekend,” Elder said. “We started off kind of rough, but this game was just a chance for us to come out of the gate strong.”

With an important stretch of conference games looming and a daunting road matchup at 6 p.m. Wednesday versus No. 12 University of Oklahoma, Kee said the team has its confidence back.

“Right now, we’re just going to enjoy this victory,” Kee said. “They’ll have tomorrow off, we’ll get a solid practice in on Tuesday and just go up there and compete. For us, we’ll just play 21 outs, give it our best effort and see what happens.”

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

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