North Texas Daily

RECAP: Softball takes third-straight conference series in Charlotte

RECAP: Softball takes third-straight conference series in Charlotte

RECAP: Softball takes third-straight conference series in Charlotte
March 30
18:12 2022

Making its second Conference USA road trip of the season, softball won two of three games against the University of North Carolina-Charlotte over the weekend.

North Texas (18-7, 7-2 C-USA) took the first two games of the series on Friday and Saturday before dropping the final contest Sunday. Charlotte (22-10, 4-5 C-USA) came into the series after taking two of three games in road series win over the University of Texas-San Antonio (9-17, 3-3 C-USA).

The Mean Green’s conference series win is their third in a row this season. A battle of the top two teams in C-USA’s preseason poll, head coach Rodney DeLong said the series exemplified the team’s resolve.

“I’m proud of our team,” DeLong said. “This was a huge series win for us. We continue to be tested and keep finding ways to win. […] It says a lot about this group.”

Game 1: North Texas 1, Charlotte 0 

Freshman right-handed pitcher Skylar Savage started for North Texas on Friday, pitching a complete game shutout while walking three batters and striking out four. Senior righty Lindsey Walljasper took the circle for Charlotte, also going the distance while allowing one unearned run on four hits and striking out six.

Sophomore outfielder Lexi Cobb led off the game with an infield single, followed by a strikeout and error at third on a sophomore outfielder Kalei Christensen grounder. With both runners in scoring position, sophomore first baseman Kailey Gamble grounded out to short, scoring Cobb from third.

Savage began her outing by setting down the 49ers in order. Walljasper followed with a 1-2-3 inning of her own in the top of the second. Both pitchers traded unblemished innings from that point until the bottom of the fifth when Savage walked two batters who were eventually stranded on-base.

Holding a 1-0 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh, Savage forced three groundouts to end the contest. Savage earned her sixth win while Walljasper picked up her third loss. 

Game 2: North Texas 9, Charlotte 6

Saturday’s contest saw junior left-hander Ashley Peters start in the circle for the Mean Green, pitching five innings, striking out five and giving up six earned runs on nine hits. Graduate right-handed pitcher Amelia Wiercioch also went five innings for Charlotte, surrendering five earned runs, walking one and striking out three.

Freshman infielder Ella Chancey gave the 49ers an early lead in the bottom of the first with an RBI single. After Wiercioch pitched a scoreless top half of the second, Charlotte added four more to its early lead, with two RBIs coming on senior outfielder Bailey Vannoy’s conference-leading 12th home run.

Wiercioch pitched another scoreless inning in the top of third before the 49ers added one more to their tally in the bottom half with an RBI sacrifice bunt off the bat of junior outfielder Lexi Wagner.

With Peters still in the circle, the score remained 6-0 until the fifth inning. After a couple of singles for North Texas in the top of the fifth, Christensen hit her ninth home run to clear the bases and cut the game’s deficit in half.

Peters set down the 49ers in four batters to keep the score at 6-3 heading into the sixth inning. Senior third baseman Tayla Evans led off the bottom half of the sixth with her fifth home run of the season, which began a six run inning for the Mean Green offense. After an error and allowing a single, Wiercioch exited the contest as Walljasper took over in the circle. 

North Texas scored five more runs after Walljasper took the circle, none of which were charged to her as one came via error and the others were inherited from Wiercioch. The offense’s comeback put Peters in line for the win before her day ended in the top of the sixth when Savage checked in to close out the contest. 

Two scoreless Savage innings ended the game as Peters was assisted to her team-leading 10th win of the season with Walljasper getting her second loss of the series.

Game 3: Charlotte 6, North Texas 1

Savage started her second game of the weekend on Sunday, pitching 1.1 innings, giving up five earned runs on nine hits and striking out one in what was her shortest start during her debut collegiate season. Walljasper bounced back from her two weekend losses with a complete game, one-run performance in which she allowed four hits and struck out six Mean Green batters.

With two outs in the bottom of the first, Charlotte strung together six-straight hits on Savage to score four runs, capped off with a two-run home run by Chancey. The 49ers struck again in the bottom of the second, scoring a run on an RBI double by graduate catcher Stacy Payton which forced Savage out of the contest. Peters took the circle, allowing another run to cross the plate via an RBI sac fly from junior infielder Cori Henderson.

Peters held the Charlotte offense for the remainder of the contest, pitching 4.2 shutout innings. Lightning did not strike twice in two days for the Mean Green as the team could not overcome another six-run deficit. North Texas’ only run on the day came on a solo home run by Gamble in the top of the fifth. 

The Mean Green return home on Sunday for a weekend series versus the University of Texas-El Paso (11-19, 2-7 C-USA) as the team tries to continue its conference series streak. 

“Every week brings its challenges and we will continue to prepare and get better,” DeLong said.

Featured Image: Sophomore Kalei Christensen prepares to swing during a game on March 9. 2022. Photo by Kristian Freeman

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Reed Smith

Reed Smith

fall sports editor

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