North Texas Sweeps On Day One At North Texas Invitational
Mean Green Defeat Sam Houston State, Creighton In First Home Games Of 2016
Box Score: North Texas 11, Creighton 1 (5)
DENTON -- The North Texas softball team opened its 2016 home slate with a doubleheader sweep of Sam Houston State and Creighton in the first day of the North Texas Invitational on Saturday afternoon at Lovelace Stadium.
In their home opener, the Mean Green (8-4) held on for the 5-2 win over Sam Houston State (2-8). After a 30-minute break, they came back and run-ruled Creighton (5-7) by a score of 11-1 in five innings. The 8-4 start to the 2016 season is tied for the second-best in school history.
"The sweep today is big for us," head coach Tracey Kee said. "We had spent the last two weekends on the road, so to see our kids respond on our own field and in our own environment, it was good to put two games in the win column against two quality teams."
The team's leading hitter, junior shortstop Kelli Schkade extended her hit streak to 12 games to open the season and also hit her fifth home run of the season, which leads Conference USA and ranks among the nation's leaders. With a hit in her 12th straight game, she is just one game shy of tying for the longest hit streak in school history.
"As a coach, you want those kids who work hard to be successful," Kee said. "For her, she's put in the due diligence into her swing and into her entire game, and it's great to see her reap the benefits of her hard work."
North Texas 5, Sam Houston State 2
North Texas jumped out to a 3-0 lead with runs in the third inning, highlighted by an RBI triple by junior Kelli Schkade, who extended her hit streak to 11 games to open the season.
That was all the run support that junior Jessica Elder needed in this one. Elder (4-1) earned the win, giving up just two runs on five hits with a walk and four strikeouts in 6.1 innings.
Sam Houston State scored a run in the top of the fifth, but the Mean Green answered right back with two runs in the bottom of the inning, extending their lead to 5-1.
Freshman third baseman Kay Kay Hayer delivered with an RBI single to right field for the first run, and then senior second baseman Karly Williams scored the second run of the frame on a delayed steal.
The Bearkats threatened in the top of the seventh, pulling to within 5-2 and bringing the would-be, game-tying run to the plate with runners at the corners, before freshman Lauren Craine ended the threat with a lineout to short.
North Texas 11, Creighton 1 (5)
Freshman third Harley Perella, junior shortstop Kelli Schkade and senior catcher Bryana Wade all homered, as North Texas battered Creighton for 11 runs and 12 hits in a run-rule win over the Bluejays.
On the mound, junior Stacey Underwood (3-3) earned the win, working 4.0 shutout innings and limiting Creighton to a single hit, a bunt single in the third inning. She also struck seven, including each of the first six batters of the game.
The Mean Green struck early, scoring five runs in the top of the first. Schkade led off the inning with a single to left, extending her hit streak to 12 games. Later in the inning, Perella provided the big with a three-run blast to left-center, extending the lead to 5-0.
North Texas added four more runs in the third inning, scoring on a two-run home run to dead center by Schkade and a two-RBI single by freshman first baseman Rhylie Makawe later in the inning.
Wade led off the fourth inning with a solo shot to center to make it a 10-0 game, and then in the fifth inning, Makawe drew a two-out walk, and senior second baseman Karly Williams followed with an RBI double to center to score the 11th run of the game for the Mean Green.
- North Texas is off to an 8-4 start, which is tied with the 2009 team for the second-best start in school history. The 2014 team, which set a school record for wins (31-22), started the season with a program-best 9-3 record
- Kelli Schkade has a hit in each of the first 12 games this season, including six multi-hit games
- Kelli Schkade's 12-game hit streak is the third-longest in school history. Katy Muller (2006) and Dani Hoff (2014) each hit safely in 13 straight games
- The three home runs against Creighton is tied for the most this season
- Rhylie Makawe and Bailey Thompson tallied a multi-hit game in both games against Sam Houston State and Creighton.
- Danielle Gregory (vs. Sam Houston State), Kelli Schkade (vs. Creighton) and Harley Perella (vs. Creighton) also had multi-hit games on Saturday
- Harley Perella drove in three runs for the second time this season, driving in all three runs on a three-run home run in the first inning against Creighton
North Texas concludes play at the North Texas Invitational with a doubleheader against Creighton and Sam Houston State. The Mean Green will face Creighton in the second game tomorrow at 11 a.m. and then Sam Houston State in the third game tomorrow at 1 p.m.