North Texas Daily

Softball snaps four-game losing skid with walk-off victory

Softball snaps four-game losing skid with walk-off victory

April 06
21:32 2016

Reece Waddell | Senior Staff Writer

@ReeceWaddell15

It took extra innings and 140 pitches from junior pitcher Jessica Elder on Wednesday night, but North Texas softball walked off a winner 1-0 over the University of Texas at Arlington, snapping a four-game losing streak.

With the winning run on second and junior infielder Kelli Schkade due up, the Mavericks (25-8, 4-5) opted to pitch around the RBI leader for the Mean Green (19-16, 3-9) to get to freshman infielder Harley Perella.

Perella made them pay in the form of a game-winning hit, a line drive back up the middle to plate freshman outfielder Bailey Thompson.

“We knew they were going to walk Kelli,” Perella said. “I had to make an adjustment, and I did. It’s a real confidence booster.”

Elder had to work out of several jams with runners threatening to score to give North Texas and Perella a chance to take it in extras. In the fifth inning, she pulled off a Houdini act, forcing the UT-Arlington batter to fly out to center field to extinguish a bases loaded dilemma.

“[That was] probably one of the best games I’ve seen her throw,” head coach Tracey Kee said. “She was working with a difficult strike zone and quality hitters. For her to work herself out of some jams and come up with some great pitches, I’m happy for her. We all needed a game like that, and we needed a pitcher to set the tone.”

Elder picked up her 12th win of the season to improve to 12-6. She threw 8.0 innings and allowed no runs on seven hits, three walks and five strikeouts.

“It’s probably the best thing I’ve ever felt so far this season,” Elder said. “Coming out and wanting to do good. I couldn’t have done it without my defense as well.”

The North Texas defense, which had several web gems all night, came up with a huge play in the top of the eighth to keep the game scoreless.

With a runner in scoring position, UT-Arlington managed a bloop single into shallow left field. The third base coach for the Mavericks immediately waived the runner around, but junior outfielder Danielle Gregory had other ideas. Gregory fielded the ball on a hop and rifled it home where senior catcher Bryana Wade caught it, took some contact and tagged the runner out.

“That was one of the biggest plays of the game,” Elder said. “With runners on, Dani just came with a straight shot and got the out when we needed it the most.”

Neither side was able to get much going in the early stages, as both squads were sat down in order in the first inning. With the bats quiet, the Mean Green leaned heavily on Elder, who maneuvered her way out of several tight spots, especially in the late innings. Elder surrendered two-out doubles in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings but escaped unharmed, continually bailing herself out.

Despite recording just four hits to the Mavericks’ seven, North Texas prevailed due in large part to its timely hitting in crunch time.

“It was huge for us,” Kee said. “It’s great to get a win.”

Next up: North Texas travels to take on the University of Kansas in the Kansas Round Robin on Friday, April 8. First pitch is set for 5 p.m.

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