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Softball falls in extras in opener, but salvages split in WKU double-header

Softball falls in extras in opener, but salvages split in WKU double-header

The North Texas softball team stands at the edge of the infield for the playing of the alma mater after a win against the University of Tennesee-Martin during the Mean Green Spring Fling Tournament. Dylan Nadwodny | Staff Photographer

Softball falls in extras in opener, but salvages split in WKU double-header
March 25
20:50 2016

Clay Massey | Staff Writer

@Clay_FC

North Texas softball continued play with a trip to the hills of Kentucky to face the reigning Conference-USA champion, Western Kentucky University. The young and spunky Mean Green (17-2, 2-6) took one of two to start the three game set with the Hilltoppers (11-14, 3-2).

“I was highly disappointed in this group in the first game,” said head coach Tracey Kee. “I felt we came out flat for a team who only had one conference win. We are not in a position to where we can just throw on our gloves and continue to put losses in the column.”

North Texas 3, Western Kentucky 6 (8)

It took extra innings, but the Hilltoppers were able to down the Mean Green in game one of the double header after senior infielder and Flower Mound native Brooke Holloway teed off on junior lefty Jessica Elder for a three-run walk-off homer to win it in the eight inning. It was her fifth long ball of the season.

The Mean Green rolled out all three pitchers on the day, with freshman Lauren Craine being charged the loss after a career high 5.0 innings of relief with two runs on seven hits. Junior Stacey Underwood got the start, going 2.0 innings with two runs on two hits. Elder only went 0.2 innings, allowing one hit, which ended up being the game winner.

WKU took the first lead of the game in the second inning after two separate illegal pitches by Underwood, making the score 2-0. North Texas immediately answered in the top of the third, pushing two runs across. Freshman infielder Harley Perella knocked a double scoring Schkade to cut the lead in half. Junior outfielder Danielle Gregory kept the scoring going with a sac-fly scoring one to tie the game at two apiece.

The Hilltoppers answered in its half of the third with an RBI infield single for a 3-2 lead. Neither team would score again until the 7th inning, when Perella knocked in Schkade again and reached base on an error to tie the game. Perella was not awarded a hit on the play.

Holloway’s homer was the dagger in the next inning, as the Hilltoppers walked-off victorious.

“We prepare so much for these teams the week before,” Schkade said. “I think that we go into the games and get too comfortable. I think instead of coming out and trying to jump on them first, we expect to win. Then we get our butts kicked the first game and then we bounce back. We’re going to have to learn how to take the first game.”

North Texas 9, Western Kentucky 4

Elder had to get her mind right quick after the walk-off in game one, as she was handed the keys to the car to start game two. Elder re-focused and shook off the early defeat, going all 7.0 innings and allowing only four runs on seven hits.

“I just had to stay true to myself,” Elder said. “I had to believe my pitches and spin the ball hard. It came out for me in the end.”

Her offense came to help too, as all nine starters recorded a hit. Freshman infielder Rhylie Makawe got an RBI single to right in the first inning. WKU answered with a sac-fly in the bottom half of the first to make the score 1-1, but a three-run second inning gave the Mean Green some breathing room. Schkade doubled off the center field wall for two-runs, and then Gregory whacked an RBI single to score Schkade.

A two-run homer for WKU pulled them within one in the third, but another multi-run inning in the fifth gave North Texas a cushion. Senior utility player Karly Williams, freshman utility player Casady Webb and freshman outfielder Bailey Thompson knocked home the insurance runs.

North Texas led 7-4 at the end of five, after the Hilltoppers grabbed a solo-home run from redshirt junior utility player Jordan Mauch – her fifth of the season.

Schkade gave yet another run to the Mean Green after she singled home Thompson in the 7th for an 8-4 lead. Schkade now has a team-leading 30 RBIs.

Williams capped off the scoring when she knocked Schkade home to make the score 9-4. The win is North Texas’ second in conference play this season.

“We talked about the importance after the first game about battling for 21 outs,” Kee said. “It was about jumping out and smacking them first, and I thought we did a good job of that.”

The Mean Green finish up its trip to Kentucky with a 5 p.m. series finale tomorrow evening.

Featured Image: The North Texas softball team stands at the edge of the infield for the playing of the alma mater after a win against the University of Tennesee-Martin during the Mean Green Spring Fling Tournament. Dylan Nadwodny | Staff Photographer

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