North Texas Sweeps To Championship Of Getterman Classic
Mean Green Defeat No. 21 Baylor, Liberty In Thrilling Fashion
Box Score: North Texas 1, Liberty 0
WACO, Texas -- In a pair of games that both were decided in the final at-bat, the North Texas softball swept Saturday's doubleheader and advanced to the Sunday's championship game of the Getterman Classic, where they will face No. 21 Baylor in a rematch.
North Texas (5-4) began the day with a 7-5 nine-inning win over No. 21 Baylor (4-2), their second win over a nationally-ranked Baylor team in as many years, to earn the No. 1 seed for bracket play. After a 30-minute break, the Mean Green came back and defeated No. 4-seed Liberty (3-7) with a 1-0 walk-off win in the bottom of the seventh.
"Sweeping the day is big for us and our program," head coach Tracey Kee said. "The Baylor win is always a big win. I was pleased with how our kids competed today. We pitched it well, and our offense gave us some timely hitting, and when you have great pitching and timely hitting, a lot of times you will fall in the win column"
At the plate, North Texas saw contributions throughout the lineup, highlighted by some timely hitting in both games. The Mean Green scored four of their seven runs with two outs against Baylor, including the game-tying run and what proved to be the game-winning runs, while they won the second game in walk-off fashion.
That timely hitting was complemented by some lights-out pitching from juniors Stacey Underwood and Jessica Elder. The worked a combined 16.0 innings and allowed just five runs -- two earned -- on nine hits with one walk and five strikeouts. Outside of the third inning against Baylor, they allowed just two runs on four hits, and both of those runs came in extra innings against Baylor, when both teams played using the tiebreaker rule that placed a runner at second base to begin the inning.
"We reassessed ourselves after last weekend. We knew that we could do a better job of putting zeroes on the board, and that's our only focus, three outs at a time, three outs a time. Stacey Underwood had a great day, having to come in and throw seven innings and then the first three in the second game. Jess, after taking a shot off her leg in the first game, she bounced back and did a stellar job of keeping Liberty's good offense off the board in the second game."
North Texas 7, No. 21 Baylor 5 (9)
North Texas went toe-to-toe with perennial power and nationally-ranked No. 21 Baylor, scoring two runs with two outs in the sixth to send the game to extra innings, and then won it with three runs in the top of the ninth on the way to a 7-5 win in nine innings in round-robin play at the Getterman Classic.
It was the program's 10th win over a ranked team in school history, and in a repeat of recent history, it was also their second win over a nationally-ranked Baylor team in Waco as part of a nonconference tournament, knocking off a No. 7-ranked Baylor team by a score of 1-0 last year.
Timely hitting and a pair of brilliant pitching performances proved to be the different in this year's edition. North Texas scored four of their seven runs with two outs, including the game-tying runs in the sixth and what proved to be the game-winning runs in the ninth.
"We needed that mental toughness, coming through with two outs like we did against Baylor," Kee said. "We needed that as a team and as a program. When you're as young as we are, you need to play in these tough games. That's where your kids are going to grow. Today, our kids got a little boost of confidence after last weekend."
On the mound, junior left-hander Jessica Elder allowed just two runs -- one earned -- on two hits with a walk in 2.0 innings. From there, it was all junior Stacey Underwood (2-3), who put together perhaps the best outing of her career. She worked 7.0 innings of relief, limiting the Bears to just three runs -- one earned -- on four hits with a strikeout.
Like they did against No. 13 Arizona in the season opener, North Texas struck first, grabbing a 1-0 lead in the second on an RBI double by freshman Harley Perella that scored freshman designated player Casady Webb all the way from first on the play.
Baylor answered back with three runs in the third, taking advantage of a throwing error and scoring the second and third runs with two outs in the inning. Outside of the five hits in the inning, Elder and Underwood allowed just one hit, and it did not come until the ninth inning.
Trailing 3-1, senior catcher Bryana Wade, making her return to the starting lineup, came through in the clutch for the Mean Green. Her two-out, two-RBI single to left tied the game at 3-3, as freshman center fielder Bailey Thompson raced around the bases to score from second, sliding in safely on the play at the plate. The game went into extras, with the team trading runs in the eighth, setting the stage for North Texas in the top of the ninth.
With senior Karly Williams placed on second base as part of the extra-inning tiebreaker rule, freshman first baseman Rhylie Makawe reached on a fielder's choice, putting runners at the corners with nobody out in the inning. Junior left fielder Danielle Gregory followed with an RBI groundout to give North Texas a 6-5 lead. Three batters later, with two outs in the inning, Perella delivered again, with a two-out, two-RBI single down the left-field line.
In the bottom of the inning, Baylor made it a 7-5 game on an RBI single and brought the would-be, game-tying run to the plate with one out in the inning. Underwood ended the threat with a fly out to center and a game-ending groundout to second base to secure the win.
North Texas 1, Liberty 0
In another pitcher's duel that saw a combined one run and seven hits, juniors Stacey Underwood and Jessica Elder (3-1) out-dueled Liberty freshman Julia DiMartino in this one for the 1-0 win to advance to Saturday's championship game of the Getterman Classic.
The North Texas duo combined for a shutout, limiting Liberty to just three hits and hit by pitch and did not allow a base runner to advance into scoring position for the game. They helped by the defensive work of senior catcher Bryana Wade, who threw out a pair of runners attempting to steal second in the contest.
North Texas threatened in the fourth and sixth, putting two runners on base in both innings, but they were unable to push a run across, before the bottom of the seventh.
There, junior left fielder Danielle Gregory, who was already 2-for-2 with a single and a double, delivered with her third hit of the game, a triple to deep center, and scored on the throwing error by the Liberty center fielder for the walk-off win.
"I can honestly say that I have never seen a game end like that in my 20-plus years, but credit to Dani," Kee said. "She was stroking the ball all day in that second game. That was the kid that I wanted in the box. She's hitting with a lot of confidence, as she should be right now."
- With the win over No. 21 Baylor, North Texas improves to 10-83 all-time against top-25 team, last defeating a ranked team last year against No. 7 Baylor
- Also with the win over Baylor, North Texas improves to 21-74 all-time against Big 12 opponents, including a 7-15 record against the Bears
- After missing the first two games of the Getterman Classic due to injury, Bryana Wade returned to the starting lineup against Baylor, getting the start at catcher against both Baylor and Liberty
- Kelli Schkade has a hit in each of the first nine games this season, including five multi hit games
- Harley Perella tallied a career-high three hits against Baylor, going 3-for-5 with a double and three RBI, including the two RBI that proved to be the game-winning runs
- North Texas drew a season-high eight walks against Baylor, with two of the batters who walked coming around to score later in the inning
- Jessica Elder retired six of the seven batters that she faced against Baylor, not allowing a hit, before allowing back-to-back singles in the third inning
- Stacey Underwood tied a career high, working 7.0 innings of relief against Baylor
- Danielle Gregory tallied a career-high three hits against Liberty, going 3-for-3, finishing a home run shy of the circle, and also scoring the game-winning run on a throwing error after her triple in the seventh
- With one caught stealing against Baylor and two against Liberty, Bryana Wade is now 5-for-5 throwing out runners attempting to steal this season
North Texas concludes play at the Getterman Classic on Sunday, facing No. 21 Baylor in the championship game at noon.