North Texas Daily

Softball completes sweep of UTEP on senior day

Softball completes sweep of UTEP on senior day

May 03
16:19 2015

Alex Lessard / Staff Writer

In its final game before the Conference USA tournament, the Mean Green softball team defeated the University of Texas El-Paso 14-6 on Sunday at home.

The win completed a three-game series sweep of the Miners (14-39, 9-15) and gave North Texas (19-30, 11-12) the No. 7 seed the C-USA tournament.

Senior day festivities preceded today’s action, as Mean Green infielder Dani Hoff, pitcher Madison Thompson and outfielders Jen Beardsley and Kat Strunk received gifts and celebrated accomplishments with family by their side.

After scoring a total of 21 runs in two wins on Saturday to clinch a spot in the C-USA tournament, the Mean Green offense continued to crush the ball on Sunday afternoon. Strunk led the game off with a solo home run to left field to spark a nine-run first inning on six hits. In her second at-bat of the inning, Strunk ripped a two-out grand slam to left field again, nearly identical to her first.

“I haven’t had a game this good, so it felt really good to get it on senior day,” Strunk said. “It just felt good to win.”

The game quickly became close again when the Miners responded with six runs of their own on six hits in the second inning. Freshman pitcher Monique Garcia was pulled toward the end of the inning after giving up five earned runs.

Sophomore pitcher Kenzie Grimes took over and pitched 4 1/3 innings of one-run ball to close out the remainder of the game.

“Once I started finding the strike zone, I settled down a little bit and was working those corners,” Grimes said.

Grimes has now only allowed 2 runs in her past 9 2/3 innings, getting hot just in time for the C-USA tournament.

“For her to go five, six innings in a game is something we don’t typically ask of [Grimes],” head coach Tracey Kee said. “I am not disappointed whatsoever.”

The Mean Green offense exploded again in the sixth inning for five runs, capped off by a 2 RBI single from Strunk to go up eight runs and enact the mercy rule. Strunk ended the day 3-4 with 2 home runs, 7 RBI and a walk.

“I was just trying to find a way to get on base any way I could for my other teammates,” Strunk said.

Next up for the Mean Green is a trip to Miami, Florida for the first round of the C-USA tournament. Its first matchup will come against the No. 2 seed Florida Atlantic University on May 7 at a to be determined time.

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