North Texas Daily

Softball leaves weekend’s homestand unscathed

Softball leaves weekend’s homestand unscathed

February 25
20:58 2018

It was a tale of two stories for the North Texas in their final day of the Schutt Classic in Denton. However, in the end, the Mean Green reached a goal that has not happened since the 2014 season.

They are 4-0 to start out the year at Lovelace stadium.

North Texas (7-4) grabbed two wins on Sunday as they cruised past Grambling State University 14-3, and then followed that up with a tight win over Prairie View A&M University in walk-off fashion, 3-2.

North Texas 14, Grambling State 3

The Mean Green’s bats exploded for a big offensive performance as they 10-run ruled the Grambling State Lady Tigers (1-10) in just five innings. North Texas used their speed to their advantage and racked up four stolen bases to go along with their big bats.

“The fact that we were able to get people on, swipe some bags and then drive the ball was key,” head coach Tracey Kee said. “The thing about this team, they can do the long ball, but they can also play small ball. That’s something we’re going to need down the stretch.”

Freshman Maria Priest (3-3) started out the game for North Texas, going 4.0 innings with three strikeouts while allowing three runs on seven hits to earn her third win of the season. Freshman Ally Lindsey made her third appearance of the year in the fifth inning and quickly shut down the Lady Tigers to end the game.

Sophomore outfielder Katie Clark kept her bat hot from the lead off spot and got things going early for the Mean Green, ripping a lead off single and then stealing a base to put herself in scoring position. Sophomore Lacy Gregory handled it from there, hammering the second pitch of her at-bat over the right field wall for her third home run of the season to get North Texas on the board first.

The following inning, North Texas got four more runs, headlined by an RBI triple from Gregory and a two-run home run from sophomore catcher Nicole Ochotnicki.

Ochotnicki was also key on defense early as she threw out a runner attempting to steal and caught a baserunner sleeping on first and picked them off.

“I’m definitely always expecting a steal when people are on just because that’s just the nature of the game, moving people over,” Ochotnicki said. “Our coaches do a great job of pre-positioning us so we have those chances to throw people out.”

The Mean Green then put the game out of reach in the bottom of the fourth inning by taking advantage of a couple errors and walks to bring across seven runs in that inning alone.

Clark led the offensive charge going for 3-for-3 with a pair of RBI’s.

“Katie has really ignited this offense,” Kee said. “Anytime you can have that type of athlete as your leadoff hitter, it just really jump starts the rest of the lineup.”

North Texas 3, Prairie View A&M 2

The Mean Green’s win over Prairie View A&M (1-10) was nothing like game one.

Lindsey was given the opportunity to make her first start of her collegiate career and she did not disappoint. Despite only going 4.0 innings, Lindsey held Prairie View to no runs on just one hit before being replaced by freshman Hope Trautwein. Trautwein carried the game into the sixth inning and gave up two hits on two runs. Finally, Priest relieved Trautwein to seal the deal and send all three batters she faced back to the dugout.

“The pitchers I saw the last couple weekends don’t even resemble the ones I’ve seen these last two days,” Kee said. “I think they’re settling in and understanding that they are capable of working out of some jams.”

Two out of the three runs scored were products of the sacrifice bunt and sacrifice fly.

After Gregory led off the third inning with a double, Ochotnicki would then sacrifice bunt her over to third base. Sophomore outfielder Hannah Rebar took it from there and drove in Gregory with a sacrifice fly to score the first run of the game.

The very next inning, junior outfielder Hannah Gerecke would take matters into her own hands and extend the lead t0 2-0 with a solo shot for her first home run of the season.

After a few more scoreless innings, Prairie View would take advantage of three straight walks and tie the game in the top of the seventh at two with a bases loaded single.

Unfortunately for Prairie View, Clark, Gregory and Ochotnicki were due up to lead off the bottom of the seventh.

Clark led off the inning with a single to set up a winning situation for Gregory. Gregory, who is known as the power hitter of the team, then utilized the sacrifice bunt to move Clark into scoring position.

Ochotnicki took it from there and sent a pitch right back up the middle to score Clark for the walk-off victory.

“Get on, get em over, get em in. It’s exactly what we talk about everyday in practice.” Clark said. “That’s what we did and we executed it perfectly.”

Next up: North Texas stays at home and hosts the North Texas Invitational. They’ll kick things off by taking on Tulsa at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday.

Featured image: The Mean Green softball team cheers on sophomore Nicole Ochotnicki after she hit a home run in a game against Prairie View A&M on Feb. 24.

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Luis Diosdado

Luis Diosdado

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