North Texas Rallies To Doubleheader Split On Day Two In Arizona
Five-Run Seventh Lifts North Texas To 6-5 Win Over Southern Utah In Game Two
Box Score: North Texas 6, Southern Utah 5
TUCSON, Ariz. -- Behind a seventh-inning rally in the second game of the doubleheader, North Texas split for the second straight day at the Hillenbrand Invitational. After falling to UC Santa Barbara by a score of 6-3 in game one, the Mean Green (2-2) rallied past Southern Utah 6-5 in game two.
"That seventh-inning rally was huge for us and this young team," head coach Tracey Kee said. "We talked about how you're never always going to hold a lead and sometimes somebody is going to come out and smack you in the face like Southern Utah did to us in the first inning. Jess Elder did a wonderful job of keeping us in the game and giving our offense an opportunity to show up, and they did."
Junior left fielder Danielle Gregory and freshman first baseman Rhylie Makawe provided the heroics at the plate, while junior left-hander Jessica Elder turned in a yeoman's effort in relief, working 9.2 innings and allowing just three runs on 10 hits with three walks and three strikeouts over the two games.
"She had great off-speed and held us in the game," Kee said. "I kept telling her in between innings to just hold us in the game. She worked herself out of some jams and had some great defensive play behind her. We have gone four games and haven't committed an error. That's something that we pride ourselves on. We know we can't just show up for one inning and win. We have to bring it for an entire game."
UC Santa Barbara 6, North Texas 3
North Texas threatened throughout, scoring a run each in the first, third and sixth innings, but they were unable to put together the big inning. UC Santa Barbara took better advantage of their scoring opportunities, scoring three in the fourth and two in the fifth on the way to a 6-3 win at the Hillenbrand Invitational on Saturday afternoon.
North Texas loaded the bases in the first and third innings, pushing across a run in each of the two innings. Freshman designated player Casady Webb drove in the first run with a sacrifice fly, and then freshman first baseman Rhylie Makawe drew a bases-loaded walk to score the second run.
UCSB answered and grabbed its first lead of the game, behind some timely two-out hitting in the fourth. Three-straight RBI base knocks each scored a run, including a blooper to shallow left to give the Gauchos the 3-2 lead. UCSB later added two run in the fifth and another in the sixth. For the game, they were 5-for-11 with two outs and 4-for-9 with runners in scoring position.
Stacey Underwood retired 10 of the first 11 batters faced, including six strikeouts, to start the game, before UCSB exploded for three runs on five hits in the fourth. She suffered the loss for the Mean Green, giving up five runs -- four earned -- on eight hits with two walks and six strikeouts.
North Texas threatened again in the sixth, loading the bases with one out in the inning, but the Mean Green once again pushed across just one run in the inning, on a sacrifice fly by senior second baseman Karly Williams.
North Texas 6, Southern Utah 5
With five runs in the bottom of the seventh, North Texas rallied past Southern Utah 6-5 at the Hillenbrand Invitational on Saturday afternoon. The Mean Green tied the game on a 2-RBI single by junior left fielder Danielle Gregory, who also scored the winning run one batter later, when freshman first baseman Rhylie Makawe singled through the right side.
Junior shortstop Kelli Schkade, Gregory and Makawe, the three, four and five-hole hitters, were a combined 6-for-11 with three doubles, three runs scored and six RBI, none bigger than their contributions in the bottom of the seventh.
"I was pleased with them," said Kee of Gregory and Makawe. "This was Dani's first game in the four-hole. She had been taking some great swings on pitches and she had been a tough out, and she responded well. We're putting newbies in a lot of key spots in the lineup, and they have responded. Rhylie plays so hard and so gritty. I feed off of that, and I know her teammates do too."
Southern Utah grabbed an early 3-0 lead, highlighted by a lead-off solo home run to open the game. The teams traded runs in the fourth, and the Thunderbirds added another run in the fifth to take a 5-1 lead.
Junior left-hander Jessica Elder, who limited damage throughout her relief appearance, stranded the bases loaded in the sixth inning with a pair of groundouts, to keep the score at 5-1.
After threatening in the fifth, loading the bases but not scoring a run, North Texas broke through with the big inning in the seventh to complete the rally. Freshman center fielder Bailey Thompson started the rally with a single to right. Freshman right fielder Makenzi Dawson and senior second baseman Karly Williams followed with back-to-back single to load the bases with one out in the inning.
Schkade, who scored the first run of the game, delivered with a two-RBI double to gap in the right-center to make it a 5-3 game. Gregory then tied the game with a two-RBI single back up the middle and Makawe capped the rally with the game-winning RBI single through the left side.
- Kelli Schkade (7-for-14) and Karly Williams (5-for-12) have each tallied a base hit in each of the four games this season
- Schkade has led the way at the plate for the Mean Green with three doubles, three home runs, six runs and seven RBI, including a double, three runs scored and two RBI on Saturday
- Between her two relief appearance against UCSB and Southern Utah, Jessica Elder worked 9.2 innings and allowed just three runs on 10 hits with three walks and three strikeouts
- Stacey Underwood took a no-hitter into the fourth inning against UCSB, retiring 10 of the first 11 batters faced, before allowing her first hit of the game
- Making her first career relief appearance against UCSB, Jessica Elder retired each of the first four batters she faced and allowed just one run on three hits with two strikeouts in 3.0 innings
- Against UCSB, North Texas was just 1-for-8 with two outs and 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position, leaving 10 runners on base in the contest
- Freshman center fielder Bailey Thompson tallied her first career hit against Southern Utah, a one-out single to right in the bottom of the seventh inning
- North Texas is now 6-8 in games played during the opening weekend of the season under head coach Tracey Kee
North Texas wraps up play at the Hillenbrand Invitational in Tucson, Arizona, with its fifth and final game of the weekend against Purdue on Sunday at 10 a.m. CT.