North Texas Daily

Softball bats silenced in home doubleheader

Softball bats silenced in home doubleheader

North Texas head coach Tracy Kee talks to her infielders during a mound visit against Florida International. Dylan Nadwodny | Staff Photographer

Softball bats silenced in home doubleheader
April 02
18:30 2016

Alex Lessard | Associate Sports Editor

@alexjlessard

Mean Green softball struggled mightily in its doubleheader with Florida International University on Saturday afternoon, dropping both games and scoring only one run on the day.

It was the third time this season North Texas (18-15, 3-8) lost two games in one day, giving Florida International (20-17, 6-5) the advantage in the three-game weekend series.

“Credit to them,” head coach Tracey Kee said. “They came in here, they had more energy that we did and they took the series on day one.”

Florida International 3, North Texas 1

Each team had troubles with runners left on base in game one, but quality pitching kept both sides competitive throughout. Junior Stacey Underwood got the start for the Mean Green, pitching all 7.0 innings. Underwood allowed nine hits and two walks with only one strikeout, but managed to allow only two earned runs.

“[Stacey] agreed that it wasn’t her best game,” Kee said. “She was effectively wild. I wasn’t pleased with any of our pitching today.”

On the other side, Panthers starter Corinne Jenkins make it tough for the North Texas bats. The senior finished with nine strikeouts, including three in the sixth inning to keep the score 2-1.

Although the Mean Green could only muster three hits compared to nine for Florida International, determining a winner came down to the very last out.

After an RBI groundout plated an insurance run in the top of the seventh, North Texas started the bottom half with two singles to start a rally. A sac bunt moved each runner over, and Schkade was intentionally walked to load the bases with two outs.

North Texas freshman utility player Kay Kay Hayter (5) sprints from the batters box to first base after hitting a ground ball against Florida International. Dylan Nadwodny | Staff Photographer

Freshman utility player Kay Kay Hayter (5) sprints from the batters box to first base after hitting a ground ball against Florida International. Dylan Nadwodny | Staff Photographer

With the game on the line, the aggressiveness of utility player Karly Williams did not end up working out. The senior hit a line drive on the first pitch of the at-bat, but it was snagged by the shortstop to secure the victory.

“We knew it all along,” Kee said. “They have great pitching. They have great hitters. We knew we had to contain their speed, and we didn’t do a good job of that.”

Florida International 6, North Texas 0

In game two, the Mean Green were unable to get out of its hitting slump, getting a season-low two hits. However, the numbers do not represent the amount of chances the team had to score.

North Texas started four innings with a leadoff baserunner, but its best opportunity to do damage came in the fourth inning. Freshman infielder Mackenzi Dawson reached first from a throwing error by the catcher on a strikeout, and freshman outfielder Bailey Thompson was hit by a pitch to put two runners on with two outs.

Like she did most of the game, Schkade walked to load the bases, but North Texas was unable to get a hit afterwards to drive a runner in. Schkade finished the day 1-for-2 with five walks and a hit by pitch.

“They’re not going to let Kelli beat them. It’s obvious,” Kee said. “They’re going to work around her. I thought she was very unselfish today, and credit to her for just taking the walks and finding a way on base. It’s up for the people behind her to step up.”

North Texas junior pitcher Jessica Elder (17) pitches towards home plate against Florida International. Dylan Nadwodny | Staff Photographer

Junior pitcher Jessica Elder (17) pitches towards home plate against Florida International. Dylan Nadwodny | Staff Photographer

As for the Mean Green pitching, things looked decent after allowing only one run in the top of the first, but uncharacteristically poor fielding made things tough on junior Jessica Elder in the third. Although Kee’s squad came into action leading Conference USA in fielding percentage, it committed two of its three errors in the inning, leading to three unearned runs and a 4-0 deficit.

“At that point, when you’re down by four, you’ve got to just start putting people on [base],” Kee said. “Nobody wanted to swing the bats. That’s the bottom line.”

Elder was replaced by freshman Lauren Craine in the sixth inning after allowing five hits, one walk and failing to notch a strikeout. Craine went on to strike out two batters but allowed a solo home run in each of her 2.0 innings, including one on her first pitch.

North Texas failed to fight back at the plate, going three-up three-down in the final two innings. It was the third time this season the Mean Green has been shut out and second time in the past four days.

“I don’t think this team did a very good job of executing our game plan, but I don’t think it was for a lack of preparation,” Kee said. “Whenever you roll a game out where you don’t hit, pitch or play defense, you’re not going to win, and we rolled both games out like that today.”

North Texas will have a chance at redemption against Florida International again on Sunday. First pitch is set for 11 a.m.

Featured Image: Head coach Tracy Kee talks to her infielders during a mound visit against Florida International. Dylan Nadwodny | Staff Photographer

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