Offense, Bullpen Struggle In Saturday's Losses
Mean Green Fall To UTA, Nicholls
DENTON - Bullpen struggles and quiet bats marred the Mean Green Saturday as they dropped both of their North Texas Invitational games to UT Arlington and Nicholls.
North Texas fell to UTA, 10-0, in the Mean Green's first game of the day, marking the first shutout loss for the team in 2018.
The Mavericks' (9-7) starting pitcher JoJo Valencia (4-4) tossed six innings, struck out three and allowed six hits to get the win. Valencia was the first left-handed starter North Texas had faced this season, but Mean Green head coach Tracey Kee doesn't believe that was the cause for their offensive drought.
"This team has no problem hitting lefty pitching," Kee said. "We just didn't have an approach. We didn't have our individual game plans and we didn't make adjustments in the box."
The Mavericks drew first blood in the third inning with a two-out triple from Aileen Garcia to drive in Whitney Walton. After Ally Lindsey took over on the mound for Trautwein in the fifth, UTA tacked on three more runs on a wild pitch and a two-run single. Trautwein (3-2) suffered the loss after giving up three runs on seven hits in 4 1/3 innings.
The Mavericks erupted for six runs in the sixth, beginning with a solo shot off the bat of Bryanna Datko and a RBI double by Madison Miller. A pair of two-run singles pushed the lead to double-digits.
"We're getting late in games and hitters have seen our pitcher three or four times and by then, you have nothing left," Kee said.
North Texas fell to 0-2 on the day with a 6-1 defeat at the hands of Nicholls on Saturday evening. The Mean Green again allowed just one run through four innings before bullpen struggles put the game out of reach.
"It's about knowing and understanding what your role is out of the bullpen," Kee said. "We're just going through our growing pains. We got some great innings from our pitchers and I don't want to lose sight of that."
Megan Landry (5-4) tossed a complete game, striking out four and allowing one run. Maria Priest (4-5) took the loss, allowing five runs on nine hits in 6 1/3 innings.
For the third-straight game, North Texas (7-7) had to play from behind after Priest gave up back-to-back doubles to give Nicholls (10-7) a 1-0 lead in the fourth. After retiring the next eight batters, Priest allowed another pair of back-to-back doubles to lead-off the top of the seventh that doubled the Colonels' lead.
Hope Trautwein entered the game for Priest, inheriting runners at first and second, and gave up a three-run blast to left field that pushed the deficit to six runs. Hanna Rebar chipped away at the deficit with a lead-off home run in the seventh, but the offense failed to continue the comeback.
"There's highs and lows on every point, but we're going into tomorrow confident that we can hit, square up on balls and string things together," Rebar said.
The Mean Green will conclude the North Texas Invitational against Nicholls and UTA at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., respectively.
Rebar's long ball in the second game was her third lead-off home run this season.
Mean Green pitchers allowed two runs through the first four innings of both games and 14 in the final three frames.
North Texas is 1-6 when opponents score first.