North Texas Daily

Softball splits doubleheader in thrilling final day of North Texas Invitational

Softball splits doubleheader in thrilling final day of North Texas Invitational

March 04
23:10 2018

Drama filled the air in Lovelace Stadium in the final day of the North Texas Invitational as the Mean Green competed in two action packed games. North Texas split the games to end the weekend, falling to Nicholls State University 10-7 and then coming back to win against the University of Texas at Arlington, 9-8 in walk off fashion.

After being held to combined one run on just ten hits by both of these teams the night before, the Mean Green had a much different mentality at the plate this time around. They completely flipped the switch and went for a total of 16 runs on 23 hits.

“I thought our hitters had a much better approach today,” head coach Tracey Kee said. “Whenever you get two looks at the same pitcher, you should be making adjustments and I thought our kids did a nice job of that today.”

Nicholls State University 10, North Texas 7

The Mean Green (8-8) appeared to have the game in the bag carrying a two run lead into the seventh inning, just one out away from their first win of the weekend.

However, the Colonels (10-8) took advantage of a few walks and string together a couple of base hits off of freshman Maria Priest to set up the go-ahead grand slam.

“Obviously, nobody wants to lose a game and you definitely don’t want to blow a lead late,” Kee said. “We’re just trying to take the mistakes that are happening and try to learn from them.”

Freshman Ally Lindsey started the game and lasted 2.o innings while giving up three runs. Freshman Hope Trautwein came in to relieve her and, despite giving up five hits, gave up only two runs with five strikeouts while tossing 3.2 innings before being replaced by Priest in the sixth.

North Texas came alive in the fifth inning, scoring six runs headlined by a grand slam from sophomore outfielder Hannah Rebar and a solo shot from junior third baseman Harley Perella giving the Mean Green a 7-5 lead.

Another offensive standout in the victory was sophomore shortstop Lindsay Gregory, who went 2-for-3 with a pair of doubles in her first action back at the number two spot in the lineup since opening weekend.

“I just try to get back to the basics and try to get my swing back,” Gregory said. “I feel like it did give me a confidence boost this morning seeing that I was hitting two hole.”

North Texas 9, University of Texas at Arlington 8

The Mean Green only managed six hits and were held scoreless on Saturday night as UTA (9-9) handed them their first shutout loss of the year.

Sunday’s game, though, consisted of three lead changes and the Mean Green came out on top as sophomore catcher Nicole Ochotnicki gave the team the win in extra innings for her second walk-off hit this season.

“Right now, Ocho is our rock. She is steadily going about her job,” Kee said. “The kid is just doing a lot of things and is just doing her job every single inning from reading signals behind the plate to keeping her batting average where it should be.”

Priest was called on to go to the mound once again and get the win for Kee. She threw all eight innings while giving up five earned runs and striking out two.

“Credit to Maria, she logged in a lot of pitches today,” Kee said. “She did her job, we just didn’t execute behind her and shouldn’t have been in that close of a situation.”

The action started early, as Rebar got the Mean Green on the board with her second home run of the day after UTA struck first. Two hitters later, junior outfielder Sally Gastelo hit a two run shot of her own to give North Texas its first lead of the game.

Fast forward to the seventh inning, the Mean Green held a 7-6 lead in hopes of getting out of a tough jam. However, UTA took advantage of an error and started a rally to take the lead and put North Texas’ backs against the wall heading into the bottom of the inning.

With two outs and Perella standing on first, Gastelo drove an outside fastball over the right field wall to tie the game up and send it to extras.

“I was definitely nervous, but we do that kind of pressure hitting in practice,” Gastelo said. “Its exciting. I didn’t really know what was going to happen but I knew I had to help out the team somehow this weekend. ”

Gastelo’s clutch home run then set up the opportunity for North Texas to win it in the eighth. With sophomore outfielder Camille Grahmann standing on third with no outs, Ochotnicki drove a ball back up the middle to win the game for the Mean Green.

“You’re going to make mistakes and put losses in a column that you don’t want,” Kee said. “But it was nice to see them respond with a coupe players really stepping up in big spots today.”

Up next: North Texas begins conference play hosting University of North Carolina at Charlotte in a doubleheader on Saturday at 1 p.m. then 3 p.m.

Featured image: North Texas sophomore Katie Clark slides into second base in a game against the University of Texas at Arlington on Mar. 4 at Lovelace Stadium. Sara Carpenter

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Luis Diosdado

Luis Diosdado

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