Softball earns walk-off victory on senior day

Softball earns walk-off victory on senior day

May 08
19:44 2016

Clay Massey | Staff Writer

@Clay_FC

Just a day after stopping its losing skid that would have been the worst in school history, the Mean Green softball team struck for a win again against the University of Alabama at Birmingham in the final game of the season, this time off the bat of junior outfielder Danielle Gregory.

It is just the second Conference-USA series North Texas has won this season.

With two runners in scoring position and one out on the board, Gregory floated a single over the left fielder’s head, scoring junior shortstop Kelli Schkade to give the Mean Green (22-33, 5-19) a 3-2 win.

“It means a lot after having such a rough season,” Gregory said. “It’s a great feeling to win on a walk-off and show them what we’re made of.”

North Texas was held in striking distance after strong bullpen performances from juniors Stacey Underwood and Jessica Elder. The duo combined for 4.0 shutout innings, only allowing two hits, both off the hands of Underwood.

The two relieved freshman pitcher Lauren Craine, who gave up just two runs across 3.0 innings.

“The victory’s big,” said head coach Tracey Kee. “I thought they did a great job and [Craine] gave us a couple of good innings. [Underwood] again came out and dialed it up. [Elder] is a competitor and came in and got it done.”

But it was not all sunshine and rainbows on a cloudy day at Lovelace Stadium for the Mean Green. North Texas left the bases loaded in the first inning after a leadoff double from Schkade that tied the school single-season double record at 16.

UAB (25-30, 14-10) struck in the third with two RBI doubles for a 2-0 lead. The Mean Green cut the lead in half in the fifth when second baseman Karly Williams singled home Schkade to cut the deficit in half. The senior was big in her final game, going 2-for-4 with an RBI.

The other senior for North Texas was just as big. In her last at-bat in a Mean Green uniform, catcher Bryana Wade tied the game at two with a solo shot in the sixth to dead center.

Wade was emotional when she hit home plate surrounded by her teammates, wiping away tears from her eyes.

“As soon as I felt it I looked up and saw how high it got,” Wade said. “I just thought, ‘keep going, keep going,’ and then I saw it went over. I just started crying and rounding the bases.”

It was a first for Kee when she greeted Wade as she rounded third.

“I think that’s the first time in my career I’ve had somebody come around crying on a home run,” Kee said. “But my big question was if she came up again if I would pinch hit for her so she could go out on that positive note.”

Kee hopes her young squad can learn from this season as she will be returning a majority of the team. Despite this, when asked about the certainty of her future with the team, Kee said she’s not thinking too far into the future.

“I’m just going to enjoy today,” Kee said.

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