Softball Extends Win Streak To Four
Mean Green Finish Schutt Classic 4-0
DENTON – The North Texas softball team finished the Schutt Classic with a perfect 4-0 record after defeating Grambling and Prairie View A&M on Sunday afternoon at Lovelace Stadium.
North Texas began the day with an explosive 14-3 win in five innings over Grambling as four Mean Green players had two or more RBI. Lacy and Lindsay Gregory combined to hit 3-for-6 with two triples, a home run and six RBI.
“Today was all about making adjustments to the hitting we were seeing and I think everyone did a better job,” Lacy Gregory said. “We waited on the ball more and put better swings on it.”
After her historic opening weekend at the Mardi Gras Classic in Monroe, La., Lacy Gregory went just 1-for-12 at the Elon Softball Classic, dropping her batting average from .700 to .364.
“I think there’s still more work to do, but this weekend was definitely an improvement. I can’t put too much pressure on myself to bat .700 every weekend, but if I can contribute a few runs or hits here and there, that’s what it’s all about.
Lacy opened the scoring with a two-run home run in the bottom of the first and followed with an RBI triple in the following inning. With Gregory standing on third, Nicole Ochotnicki hit her third long-ball of the season to extend the lead to 6-0.
In the fourth inning, North Texas opened the flood gates with seven unearned runs, highlighted by a three-run triple for Lindsay Gregory, the first of her career.
“We got the ball out of the air,” North Texas head coach Tracey Kee said, “and when you hit the ball hard and in the ground, positive things are going to happen. You force the defense to make plays and to our advantage, they weren’t able to do so.”
Maria Priest (3-3) won her third straight start with three strikeouts and two earned runs in her four-inning outing. D’Maria Matthews (0-4) took the loss after allowing six runs on seven hits in 1 2/3 innings.
After winning their first three games by a margin of 24-4, the Mean Green were due for some drama and got it in the form of a 3-2 victory over PVAMU. Ochotnicki’s walk-off RBI single drove in Clark and sealed the win.
“I was just trying to put the ball in play and advance the runner, whether it was to get her to third or to win the game,” Ochotnicki said.
The heroics began with Clark’s leadoff single, improving her average as a leadoff hitter to .600. Lacy Gregory bunted Clark into scoring position, setting up the winning play.
“Being the leadoff hitter is about setting the tone for the game,” Clark said. “My job is just to try and get on and get us in a position to be successful.”
Priest (4-3) earned the win after tossing a perfect inning of relief for Trautwein who allowed a game-tying homerun in the top of the seventh before handing the ball over. Crystal Castillo fell to 0-3 after giving up the game-winning hit to cap her 2 1/3 innings of work.
Starting pitcher Ally Lindsey threw four scoreless innings and struck out two Panthers. Lindsey faced the minimum through the first three frames and didn’t allow a hit until a Kylar Ward-Flowers double with two outs in the fourth.
“I thought mechanically she looked better and confidence-wise, I was pleased,” Kee said. “She did her job and passed it off with a two-run lead. I couldn’t have asked for more from her.”
Hope Trautwein entered in relief of Lindsey, retiring the first five batters she saw before walking the bases loaded with two outs in the sixth. The Panthers cut the lead in half with a single up the middle, but Trautwein limited the damage by striking out the final batter.
North Texas will host the North Texas Invitational at Lovelace Stadium March 2-4. The Mean Green take on Tulsa at 1:30 p.m. Friday.
• The Mean Green are off to their best start at home since 2014, when they started 9-0.
• Clark is 6-for-6 on stolen base attempts since making her North Texas debut last weekend.
• Since starting 0-3, Priest has won her last four decisions.