North Texas Completes 5-0 Weekend With Sunday Sweep
Mean Green Defeats Nicholls State, Houston Baptist On Final Day Of Mean Green Spring Fling
DENTON -- The North Texas softball team completed a 5-0 weekend at the Mean Green Spring Fling, sweeping Sunday's doubleheader against Nicholls State and Houston Baptist.
The Mean Green (13-6) began the day with 3-2 win over Nicholls State, before exploding for 15 runs and 16 hits in a 15-1 run-rule win over Houston Baptist to conclude the three-day, five-day tournament at Lovelace Stadium.
"This was a positive weekend for our group," head coach Tracey Kee said. "It's no easy task to rip off five wins in a row with the quality of competition in the tournament this weekend. We played four close games, and they could have gone either way, but our kids were resilient, they stayed in there and they competed until the last out."
The offense hit a combined six home runs Sunday, hitting back-to-back home runs in consecutive games against Nicholls State and Houston Baptist. Junior shortstop Kelli Schkade also extended her school-record hit streak to 19 games with a hit in each contest, including a home run against Houston Baptist.
"Last weekend we kind of fell apart on Sunday, so today our challenge was to finish a tournament out, and we did just that," Kee said. "The offense was phenomenal. We had timely hitting in the first game. We showed a great display of power and also did well in the short game today. It was spread out, one through nine. They proved they were `Team 13' because it took everybody to put these wins in the win column."
North Texas 3, Nicholls State 2
North Texas jumped out to an early 3-0 lead, behind back-to-back home runs by junior outfielder Danielle Gregory and freshman third baseman Harley Perella in the second inning, and held on for the 3-2 win over Nicholls State in the first game of the day at the Mean Green Spring Fling.
Nicholls State scored a pair of runs and loaded the bases with one out in the seventh, but freshman Lauren Craine got a strikeout and a fly out to earn the save and preserve the win for the Mean Green.
"Those were probably the two biggest outs of the weekend," said Kee of Craine. "With the bases loaded, she strikes out the first batter and then she spins the ball and gets a nice fly ball. She has ice water in her veins. She's great in pressure situations."
North Texas struck first, grabbing a 2-0 lead on back-to-back home runs by Gregory, her first career home run, and Perella, her third home run of the season. The Mean Green pushed another run across in the third inning, which proved to be the game-wining run, on an RBI single by Gregory.
That was all the run support that junior Jessica Elder (7-2) needed in this one. After giving up a one-out infield single in the first inning, she retired each of the next 17 batters in order, before Nicholls State threatened in the seventh inning. For the game, Elder worked 6.1 innings and allowed just two runs on four hits with three strikeouts.
"Jess did a great job of spinning the ball," Kee said. "Their aggressiveness acutally played into our favor. We have gotten a lot of innings out of her arm and she got a little tired at the end there. You couldn't have asked for a better performance against a great hitting team like Nicholls."
North Texas 15, Houston Baptist 1
North Texas capped a 5-0 weekend at the Mean Green Spring Fling with an 15-1 run-rule win over Houston Baptist in five innings. The 15 runs and 16 hits are both season highs for the Mean Green and rank among the best offensive performances in school history.
"The win is a credit to our kids," Kee said. "They could have rolled over and taken Houston Baptist lightly. They didn't and they understood that Houston Baptist was going to come out and compete and try to put a win in the win column."
Junior Stacey Underwood (5-3) earned the win in the circle, working 4.0 scoreless innings and limiting the Huskies to just three hits and a walk.
North Texas scored a run in the second inning, before exploding for five runs in the fourth. Junior shortstop Kelli Schkade and senior second baseman Karly Williams provided the big hits with back-to-back home runs, making it a 4-0 game. Later in the inning, senior catcher Bryana Wade plated two more runs on a two-RBI double to left-center.
North Texas put together another big inning with seven runs in the fifth. The Mean Green pounded out six hits in the inning, highlighted by home runs from Williams, her second of the game, and freshman first baseman Rhylie Makawe, the first of her career.
The four home runs in the contest are tied for the second-most in school history, while the 15 runs are tied for third and the 16 hits are tied for fifth in school history.
- The 13-6 start is the second-best in school history. The 2014 team started the season 14-5 and finished 31-22, the most wins in school history
- The four home runs, 15 runs scored, 16 hits and 34 total bases were all season highs for North Texas this season
- North Texas hit back-to-back home runs for the first and second time this season, doing so in both games Sunday
- North Texas hit multiple home runs for the fifth and sixth time this season, hitting two home runs against Nicholls State and a season-high four home runs against Houston Baptist
- Having already broken the school record, Kelli Schkade extended her season-opening hit streak to 19 games with a hit each against Nicholls State and Houston Baptist
- During her 19-game hitting streak, Kelli Schkade is hitting a team-best .419 and has eight multi-hit games
- Danielle Gregory tallied multi-hit games against both Nicholls State and Houston Baptist, giving her a team-best nine multi-hit games this season
- As a team, North Texas hit .358 for the weekend and had six different players hit over .300 and four players hit over .400
- Rhylie Makawe led the team in batting average (.583), on-base percentage (.643) and slugging percentage (1.083) and also had three doubles and four RBI for the weekend
- In the circle, North Texas posted a 2.12 ERA and .226 opponents' batting average for the weekend, led by Jessica Elder (1.05 ERA in 13.1 innings) and Stacey Underwood (1.91 ERA in 14.2 innings)
- Lauren Craine earned the save against Nicholls State, the first of her career and the first of the season for the Mean Green
North Texas travels to Austin for a midweek nonconference matchup with No. 24 Texas on Wednesday, before opening Conference USA play with a three-game series at UTSA that begins on Saturday.