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Offensive woes stump North Texas in Hillenbrand Invitational finale

Offensive woes stump North Texas in Hillenbrand Invitational finale

Junior infielder Kelli Schkade swings for the ball during practice. Dylan Nadwodny | Staff Photographer

Offensive woes stump North Texas in Hillenbrand Invitational finale
February 14
13:36 2016

Clay Massey | Staff Writer

@Clay_FC

The Mean Green finished up play in the Hillenbrand Invitational, hosted by the University of Arizona, with a ballgame against Purdue University. North Texas (2-3) fell 6-1 to the Boilermakers (3-2) to head back to Texas on a sour note.

The Mean Green were defeated by Arizona, the University of California – Santa Barbara and Purdue and came out on top against the University of Nebraska – Omaha and the University of Southern Utah. The Mean Green were outscored by a combined 29-22 over the five games.

After a five-run 7th inning and walk-off win in its last game, North Texas looked to continue its offensive production, but Purdue and senior pitcher Lilly Fecho had other ideas.

North Texas could only muster five hits, with its only run coming off of a solo-shot in the 7th by freshman third-basemen Harley Perella, the first of her career.

Fecho’s line still impressed as she went 7.0 innings only allowing five hits, and striking out 11. North Texas struggled to take advantage of its opportunities, going 0-for-8 with runners on base.

“I would probably be more worried if we weren’t getting people on base,” head coach Tracey Kee said. “Hopefully the more time in that situation, we’ll step-up and get more looks at it and be a little more comfortable. If we weren’t getting people on, I’d probably be incredibly nervous. Right now, we’re getting them on, getting them over, we’re just not getting them in.”

Junior Stacey Underwood got the start for the Mean Green, and only lasted 3.0 innings after going 4.0 last time out against UCSB. Underwood was tagged for four runs on three hits, moving her to a 7.00 ERA on the season with a 1-2 record.

Junior Jessica Elder, who worked in relief for the majority of the weekend, came in to limit Purdue. Elder gave up two runs on an RBI double, and a sac-fly in the bottom of the sixth to give Purdue the 6-0 lead.

Elder threw a combined 232 pitches over four appearances on the weekend.

“I thought [Elder] did a nice job in relief,” Kee said. “She held us in ballgames. We’ll get it fixed. I think right now actually [Underwood] is feeling better than she was last year. It’s one of those where we just have to keep our confidence up. We faced some great hitting teams.”

One offensive standout on the weekend was junior infielder Kelli Schkade, who finished a combined 9-for-16 with three home-runs, giving her a .563 batting average headed into next weekend.

“I just really learned how to settle down in the box,” Schkade said. “Just make sure I’m swinging at good pitches and make good contact. The little tweaks here and there really put me in a good spot to be successful this year.”

The Mean Green return to Texas to get ready for the Getterman Classic hosted by Baylor University in Waco from Feb 19 to Feb 21. Meanwhile, Kee will be looking to build on the positives taken away from the weekend trip to Arizona.

“We saw some kids really step up,” Kee said. “Makawe had an unbelievable weekend. I thought Gregory stepped up too. These are two kids that really hadn’t been doing a whole lot of production in practice, then game time came and it was like a switch.”

Featured Image: Junior infielder Kelli Schkade swings for the ball during practice. Dylan Nadwodny | Staff Photographer

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