North Texas Splits On Day One At Hillenbrand Invitational
North Texas Falls To No. 13 Arizona, Defeats Nebraska-Omaha
TUCSON, Ariz. -- The North Texas softball team began play at the Hillenbrand Invitational, splitting its first two games on Friday night. After dropping a 9-1 decision to No. 13 Arizona in six innings, the Mean Green (1-1) bounced back with an 11-3 run-rule win over Nebraska-Omaha in five innings.
"We knew coming out against Arizona, they're a great team, and then we bounced back well against Nebraska-Omaha," head coach Tracey Kee said. "We really believed in our offense and what we were capable of and the things we had been doing well. Our kids did a nice job in the second game of responding after the first game."
Junior shortstop Kelli Schkade had herself a night at the plate, going 4-for-7 with three home runs, one against Arizona and two more against Nebraska-Omaha. She also recorded a double, three runs scored and five RBI during the doubleheader.
"She's such a different player this year," said Kee of Schkade. "She's packed full of power and speed. For her, she's seeing the ball well. Since August, she has really put in the hard work that she has needs, and it's nice to see that paying off early."
No. 13 Arizona 9, North Texas 1 (6)
North Texas jumped out to a great start in its upset bid against No. 13 Arizona, but the Mean Green fell victim to the long ball in an 8-1 loss to the tournament hosts in the first game of the Hillenbrand Invitational on Friday night.
After taking the first pitch of the season for ball one, junior shortstop Kelli Schkade squared up the next pitch and led off the 2016 season with a solo shot to left, igniting the North Texas dugout and grabbing early momentum. She later just missed her second home run of the game, knocking a double off the wall in right in the sixth inning.
No. 13 Arizona answered back with a run in the bottom of the inning and then broke things open with the long ball. The Wildcats hit a three-run blast as part of a four-run second inning and also homered in the third and fourth innings on the way to the 8-1 final.
Making her college debut, freshman Lauren Craine worked 3.1 innings of relief, limiting Arizona to two runs on four hits with two walks, including a perfect fifth inning.
North Texas 11, Nebraska-Omaha 3 (5)
For the second straight game, North Texas grabbed an early lead, but this time, they busted things open on the way to a 11-3 run-rule win over Nebraska-Omaha in the second game of the Hillenbrand Invitational on Friday night. The Mean Green pounded out 13 hits and took advantage of five Nebraska-Omaha errors in the win.
Each of the first four batters reached base on the second, including four base hits and a walk, on the way to a three-run inning and a 3-0 lead.
North Texas added to its advantage in third, batting around and scoring seven runs in the inning. The Mean Green pounded out seven hits and took advantage of four errors, including a towering sole home run by senior catcher Bryana Wade and a three-run blast by junior shortstop Kelli Schkade, her second home run of the night.
Schkade continued her torrid tear at the plate with her second home run of the game, her third of the night, to give North Texas an 11-3 lead in the fourth.
On the mound, junior Stacey Underwood earned the win for the Mean Green, setting a career high for strikeouts. She worked 5.0 innings and allowed just three runs on four hits with two walks and eight strikeouts.
- Nine of the 11 newcomers made their North Texas debuts against No. 13 Arizona
- Kelli Schkade led off the game against No. 13 Arizona with a solo home run to left, her second career lead-off home run and her fourth career home run overall
- Kelli Schkade went 2-for-3 with a home run and double against Arizona, her 11th career multi-hit game
- Makenzi Dawson, Casady Webb, Harley Perella, Danielle Gregory and Rhylie Makawe each collected their first career hits in the win over Nebraska-Omaha
- Kelli Schkade, Makenzi Dawson, Bryana Wade, Danielle Gregory and Rhylie Makawe each recorded multi-hit games in the win over Nebraska-Omaha
- Makenzi Dawson and Casady Webb both stole a base against Nebraska-Omaha, the first of the season for North Texas and the first of their respective careers
- North Texas is now 5-7 in games played during the opening weekend of the season, including a 1-2 record in season openers, under head coach Tracey Kee
North Texas continues play at the Hillenbrand Invitational in Tucson, Arizona, playing a doubleheader against UC Santa Barbara (Noon CT) and Southern Utah (2 p.m. CT) on Saturday.