North Texas Daily

Softball sweeps UTSA in Saturday doubleheader

Softball sweeps UTSA in Saturday doubleheader

March 25
20:32 2017

The Mean Green found a way to win two games in very different ways in their home doubleheader Saturday afternoon against the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Coming into the first game on a four-game losing skid, the wins allowed the team to regain momentum as the heart of Conference USA play approaches. The Roadrunners (12-19, 2-6), however, made the Mean Green (16-13, 5-3) grind out the impressive wins.

“[These wins are] real big, last week we let a couple get away from us,” head coach Tracey Kee said. “This was a total team effort, I’ve never seen this team so fired up for all 14 innings on the field and off the field.”

Game one was a resilient victory for North Texas in a game that featured 11 runs despite the Mean Green having their ace Stacey Underwood on the mound. Underwood had a 2.44 ERA coming into Saturday but struggled to maintain her early success.

The second game finished 45 minutes quicker than the first as the pitchers, especially sophomore Lauren Craine, dominated. Craine never had the luxury of a big lead, making her strong performance all the more impressive.

“I was just trying to stay within myself and make good pitches so the defense could play behind me,” Craine said. “It was a little too close for comfort, but I knew if I just kept spinning it then we’d be fine.”

North Texas 6, UTSA 5

Senior shortstop Kelli Schkade cracked open the game for the Mean Green with a solo home run in the bottom of the first and it felt like North Texas would be in control for the rest of the game.

For the most part, the Mean Green were – until the Roadrunners nearly stole the game in the final innings. At the end, the bats of North Texas proved to be too much.

North Texas led 5-1 in the top of the sixth and their senior pitcher looked untouchable. Then the Roadrunners began to tag her on seemingly every at bat for a stretch of five batters.

The Roadrunners scored three runs and left two stranded in the sixth, closing the gap to one.

Against the closing pitcher, senior Jessica Elder, UTSA hit a game-tying homer with two outs to tie the game and send the Mean Green back to the plate.

“You have to give UTSA some credit,” Kee said. “I thought they made a nice run there at the end, [and] I thought we did a good job of getting out of that inning to leave it at a tie ballgame.”

North Texas got a runner on with a single, then advanced with a sac bunt before freshman right fielder Hanna Rebar stepped to the plate and did this:

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The Mean Green survived a late scare and won game one in walk-off fashion.

“We’ve been working on that scenario specifically, being tied or down in the seventh and having to produce runs,” Rebar said. “So it was good to finally be in that position and come out winning in it.”

North Texas 1, UTSA 0

While the scoreboard showed 13 zeros and one one, this game was not the usual pitching duel.

UTSA pitcher Nicole Merrill walked seven and only struck out three, but did hold the Mean
Green to a single hit.

Meanwhile, Craine threw one of her best games of the season as she pitched just her second complete game of her career. Despite allowing seven hits, Craine did not walk any UTSA batters and kept the Roadrunners off the board in the shutout.

Kee was extremely pleased with her sophomore pitcher’s performance in the win.

“[Craine] was amazing today,” Kee said. “Her ball has unbelievable spins and movement and everything. We had other pitchers ready but we were not going to remove [Craine] as well as she was throwing.”

The pitching of Craine was the story of game two. Even though she did not record a single strikeout, most of her pitches were exactly where she wanted them to be.

“My drop ball outside [was working], and to lefties, I was throwing a lot of screwballs,” Craine said. “[I was] just trying to keep it as far off the plate as I could and just spin it.”

Next up: North Texas returns Sunday to face UTSA once again at 1 p.m. Sunday at Lovelace Stadium.

About Author

Matthew Brune

Matthew Brune

Matthew Brune is the Senior Sports Writer for the North Texas Daily, covering football and men's basketball.

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