North Texas Splits Wednesday Doubleheader With Saint Francis
Mean Green Take Game One 2-0, Saint Francis Wins Game Two, 11-2
DENTON - The North Texas Mean Green split a mid-week doubleheader with Saint Francis, taking game one 2-0, dropping game two 11-2 at Lovelace Stadium on Wednesday.
"We played well 11 out of 13 innings today," head coach Tracey Kee said. "They pushed four runs across with two outs in game two, but we had the opportunity to tie the game in our next at-bats. We just couldn't get the clutch hit. We have to figure out how to get out of those innings moving forward."
North Texas 2, Saint Francis 0
The Mean Green (8-8) opened the day with a 2-0 victory on the back of senior righty Stacey Underwood, who picked up her fifth win of the season.
"Stacey did a nice job of not letting a good hitting team square the ball up," Kee said. "They had a lot of ground balls and weak pop flys, and even though she had a few walks, she was able to command her pitches when she needed to."
Underwood (5-3) tossed a complete game, scattering two hits with six strikeouts and three walks, lowering her season earned-run average to 2.80.
Senior Kelli Schkade gave Underwood all the offense she needed in the bottom of the first, hitting a 2-2 pitch over the wall in left field to give the Mean Green a 1-0 lead over the Red Flash (12-6).
The Mean Green were able to manufacture a run in the second as well, building their lead to two. Sophomore Hannah Gerecke led off with an infield single and freshman Camille Grahmann followed that up with a single of her own. Schkade reached on a fielder's choice, advancing Gerecke to third, and later stole second allowing Gerecke to score as the ball got away from the shortstop.
Underwood was nearly lights out from that point on. She retired nine-straight batters across the third through fifth innings, and worked out of a one-out jam in the seventh, stranding two runners on base to secure the win.
Saint Francis 11, North Texas 2
What looked like a pitcher's duel turned into an 11-2 run-rule victory for Saint Francis over the Mean Green as the Red Flash exploded for 11 runs between the fourth and fifth innings.
The game was scoreless through three and a half inning until North Texas broke through in the fourth inning. Schkade and Grahmann reached on back-to-back bunt singles to open the fourth, and later scored on freshman Lacy Gregory's two-run double to center field.
That would be the extent of the offense for the Mean Green, as Saint Francis (12-6) poured it on in the fifth and sixth innings.
In the fifth, Saint Francis used four hits to push four two-out runs across the plate, earning a two-run advantage. Then in the sixth, the Red Flash plated seven runs, highlighted by Hayley Norton's three-run home run to straight away center field.
North Texas had a chance in the fifth with two runners on with only one out, but Schkade and sophomore Harley Perella went down swinging to end the frame and the scoring opportunity.
Sophomore Lauren Craine (2-2) took the loss, going 4.2 innings allowing four runs - all earned - on five hits with two strikeouts. Senior Jessica Elder relieved Craine, tossing 1.1 innings, while giving up seven runs -six earned - on six hits.
SFU's Ketarah Davis was credited with the win as she went the distance in the game.
"The next four games are going to be tough for us," Kee added. "We are back on the road this weekend, but I think it's a good challenge for this team before we open conference play. I've seen a lot of positives from this group, but we need to clean up a few things and work on our game in Lubbock."
- Kelli Schkade hit her second home run of the season, tying her for the team lead.
- North Texas dealt SFU's Ethel Santai her first loss of the season in game one.
- Camille Grahmann went 3-for-5 on the day.
- Schkade stole two bases on the day, bring her career total to 38, tying her with Megan Rupp for second-most steals in program history.
- Stacey Underwood tossed her fifth complete game of the season. She had seven all of last season.
- Hannah Gerecke had started all 15 games previous to game two of the doubleheader.
- Today was the first meeting between the two schools.
Up Next For North Texas
The Mean Green will head west to play in the Jeannine McHaney Tournament in Lubbock hosted by Texas Tech beginning Friday, March 3 and ending Sunday, March 5.