Mean Green Softball Splits On Day Two In Waco
North Texas Defeats Lamar 2-1, Falls To GCU 9-3
WACO, Texas – The North Texas softball team edged out Lamar 2-1 in a pitchers-duel in game one on Saturday and later fell to Grand Canyon 9-3 on day two of the Getterman Classic hosted by Baylor.
“I saw a lot of positives today,” head coach Tracey Kee said. “Lauren Craine did a nice just job of stepping up and eating some innings for our staff. It’s nice getting Kelli back on the ball and swinging it with power. We worked ourselves out of some jams and gave away some opportunities, but we are moving forward.”
It was the second-straight day North Texas split its games with Lamar and GCU.
North Texas 2 vs. Lamar 1
Craine (1-0), the sophomore righty for the Mean Green, out-pitched Lamar’s Laura Napoli (1-2), throwing six innings of one-run softball, limiting Lamar to two hits with two strikeouts and freshman Lacy Gregory provided the offense in the 2-1 victory over Lamar.
“Lauren did an unbelievable job of throwing all her pitches,” Kee said. “She was just cutting through Lamar’s lineup and getting the fly balls she needed. She pitched to her defense and I give our outfield a lot of credit. They tracked down a lot of balls today that could have easily been extra-base hits.”
Napoli tossed a complete game in the loss, striking out eight batters.
The Cardinals and Mean Green were scoreless after two innings, but North Texas broke through in the top of the third, taking a 2-0 lead on Lacy Gregory’s double to left, her third of the season, scoring senior Kelli Schkade and freshman Lindsay Gregory.
The two runs were all Craine needed in her best outing of the season so far.
LU (2-7) couldn’t capitalize on two North Texas errors in the bottom of the third, as Craine got Kelly Meeuwsen to fly out to shallow left-center field, picking up her defense and stranding runners on the corners.
“It seems when we make mistakes, they tend to occur in bunches,” Kee added. “We had two errors in the inning and for her to escape it without allowing a run is something we haven’t been able to do. It shows a lot of maturity, grit and growth.”
The righty kept the Cardinals off the scoreboard until the fifth inning when LU’s Brittany Rodriguez drew a two-out walk and raced around the bases to score from first on Brynn Baca’s single to right-center field.
That would be the extent of the Cardinals’ offense, as Craine worked out of another jam in the sixth, and senior Stacey Underwood closed it out in the seventh to earn her first career save.
Schkade and Lacy Gregory went a combined 4-for-8 in the game.
Grand Canyon 9 vs. North Texas 3
The Mean Green (3-5) couldn’t dig out of an early deficit, falling 9-3 to Grand Canyon, their second loss to GCU in as many days.
Taylor Nowlin, last year’s Western Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Year, threw five innings, allowing three runs on four hits, while tallying six strikeouts opposed to one walk.
Grand Canyon (9-1) struck first, using five singles – three to left-center and two to right field -- off North Texas’ senior lefty Jessica Elder (0-3) to race out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning.
North Texas wasn’t going to back down though, scoring a run of its own on Schkade’s solo home run to left-center field in the home-half of the inning to cut the lead to two.
“Kelli was frustrated last weekend, so for her to come out and make the adjustments that she has is nice to see,” Kee added. “She has a bull’s-eye on her back. Everyone wants to shut her down, so for her to string together multiple hits shows she is coming along.”
The Mean Green had their chance to add more runs, but Lindsay Gregory was cut down at the plate on a squeeze play. Freshman Hanna Rebar struck out swinging to end the inning.
It didn’t take long for the Lopes to get the run back. In the second inning, Taylor Kaye recorded an infield single to short and advanced to third on a throwing error by first baseman Lacy Gregory. Kaye came around to score on a double to right-center by Shea Smith.
GCU added to its lead in the third after Hailey Freeman singled to right-center field with two outs and later scored on Kaye’s single to center field, bringing the score to 5-1.
Sophomore Harley Perella sparked the Mean Green in the fourth, hitting her first home run of the year – a two-run blast over the wall in right-center field -- on a 3-2 count, cutting the lead to 5-3.
GCU manufactured four two-out runs in the fifth off Craine, who relieved Elder, capped off by Sierra Smith’s three-run home run to right-center to end the scoring.
Elder tossed 4.2 innings in the loss, giving up 10 hits and seven runs – six earned.
- Grace Blagg earned her first career start as the designated player against Lamar in game one on Saturday.
- Lauren Craine made her second-consecutive start for the Mean Green in game one against Lamar. Her six innings pitched was the longest outing of the season for the sophomore.
- North Texas struck out a season-high eight times against Lamar’s starter, Laura Napoli.
- Nicole Ochotnicki was hit by two pitches against Lamar, marking the first time a North Texas player has been hit multiple times in a single game.
- Harley Perella’s home run against GCU was her first of the season.
- Jessica Elder’s throwing error against the Lopes was the first of her career at North Texas.
- The two home runs hit against GCU marked the second time North Texas had more than one in a game (UMass Lowell 2/11).
- Kelli Schkade has collected two or more hits in four-straight games.
- Lacy Gregory has reached safely in all eight games to start the season. She is also working a seven-game hitting streak.
Up Next For The Mean Green
North Texas will complete the Getterman Classic on Sunday against Baylor. First pitch is slated for 11 a.m.