North Texas Daily

Softball splits games in battle of the conference leaders

Softball splits games in battle of the conference leaders

March 31
12:27 2018

North Texas went into Boca Raton, Florida with singular goal of claiming all rights to first place in Conference USA.

It was so close, but yet so far on Saturday evening.

The Mean Green (17-16, 7-4) and Florida Atlantic University (20-17, 8-3) sat in the one and two spots atop the C-USA standings coming in, and they showed why by splitting their doubleheader. The Mean Green took game one 1-0, and  FAU bounced back with a 12-4 win in five innings in game two.

“We came here with one thing in mind and that was to take the series” head coach Tracey Kee said. “That goal is still in tact heading into Sunday.”

North Texas 1, Florida Atlantic 0

Sophomore catcher Nicole Ochotnicki has two walk-off hits under her belt and has cemented herself as one of the team’s most clutch batters.

In game one against the Owls, she did it again.

After being held scoreless all game, the Mean Green strung together a couple of singles and a sacrifice bunt set up a runners on the corners, one out situation for Ochotnicki. In the top of the eighth inning, Ochotnicki then sent a high fly ball to left field, deep enough for sophomore outfielder Camille Grahmann to tag up and score the go ahead run for the Mean Green.

“I felt like I was put in a really good situation with Lindsay getting the bunt down and Camille being on third with wheels,” Ochotnicki said. “I just try to go up there with the mentality of putting the ball in play and seeing what happens.”

Freshman pitcher Hope Trautwein and FAU senior pitcher Tatum Buckley went head-to-head in a pitchers duel that carried the game into extra innings. Trautwein tossed 8.0 innings while giving up no runs on three hits and struck out nine. Buckley was equally as impressive with a one run on five hits and three strikeouts through 8.0 innings.

“I wanted to be aggressive on the batters,” Trautwein said. “We’ve been working all week on hitting better spots so I just wanted to go out and get them.”

Trautwein improves to 9-6 on the year and notches her seventh complete game and second shutout of her young career.

“For Hope, it was just matter of believing in her stuff,” Kee said. “She did a great job executing her gameplan. To see her go against one of the best teams in the conference and do what she did, it was impressive.”

The game one victory gave was the Mean Green’s third consecutive victory over FAU, dating back to last season.

Florida Atlantic 12, North Texas 4

It was a much different story for the Mean Green in game two against the Owls. And not in a good way.

North Texas was able to strike first when sophomore centerfielder Katie Clark led off with a single and was brought in two hitters later with a double by sophomore second baseman  Lacy Gregory.

Then, things got out of hand.

Freshman pitcher Maria Priest was only be able to record two outs as the Owls jumped on her for eight runs, including seven hits and two home runs through the 10 batters faced.

Freshman pitcher Ally Lindsey then entered the game and somewhat hold the Owls in check for the remainder of the game. Lindsey finished out the game, throwing 4.0 innings and giving up four runs with three strikeouts.

“I was happy for Ally,” Kee said. “We were able to find some things and try some different stuff in regards to her warmup. I think she carried it over and made the adjustments she’s been struggling to make.”

At the plate, North Texas struggled to get anything going and were held to just six hits and scored two of their four runs in the fifth inning. Clark, Gregory and junior first baseman Rhylie Makawe stood alone as the only Mean Green players with multiple hits on the day.

North Texas now sits comfortably in second place in C-USA, but will once again have the chance to at least share the first place spot with FAU if they can bounce back and take the series on Saturday.

“Nobody likes to lose how we did,” Kee said. “But we need to quickly put that in our short term memory, get out here tomorrow and really get after it.”

Up next: North Texas looks to head into Easter Sunday on a high note and take game three against FAU in Boca Raton at 11 a.m. on Saturday morning.

Featured image: North Texas freshman pitcher Hope Trautwein (7) pitches the ball. , Saturday, March, 3, 2018, Lovelace Park in Denton, Texas. Jake King/

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Luis Diosdado

Luis Diosdado

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