Mean Green Swept on C-USA Opening Day
North Texas Battles, Falls Twice to Conference Powerhouse UAB
(G1) BOX SCORE: UAB 6, North Texas 1
(G2) BOX SCORE: UAB 5. North Texas 4
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - North Texas hasn't been able to practice on an actual softball field in over two weeks due to poor weather conditions. Regardless, the Mean Green looked ready as ever to take a shot at Conference USA giant UAB on opening day on Saturday afternoon. Untimely base-running errors and pitching mistakes would prove too much for North Texas to overcome, falling to the Blazers in game one 6-1, and in a 10-inning thriller, 5-4.
North Texas would jump out to a quick start, loading up the bases in the top of the second by way of two walks and Karly Williams reaching thanks to a UAB mental mistake on a fielder's choice. The Mean Green would strike first, as a Kelli Schkade two-out single through the left side would bring home Mallory Land for the 1-0 lead.
Unfortunately for North Texas, the lead wouldn't last long. In the bottom of the second, the Blazers strung together four hits, including two doubles, to plate four runners. UAB would hold a 4-1 advantage as things went quiet until the fifth. Three more Blazer hits would extend the lead to 6-1, a deficit North Texas would not be able to overcome in game one.
For the third straight game, North Texas would be the first to light up the scoreboard. In a pitching duel through three, the Mean Green finally scratched across a run on a Kat Strunk single in the top of the fourth. However, UAB would match the run in the bottom half with a solo homerun off of Stacey Underwood.
After allowing the Blazers to take a one-run lead in the bottom of the fifth, North Texas would threaten with two outs after a Jen Beardsley single and intentional walk to Taylor Schoblocher. With two strikes, Strunk would send a ball to the wall in right center for a two RBI go-ahead triple.
Three singles in the bottom of the sixth would give the lead right back to UAB. Trailing 4-3 heading into its final at bat, the Mean Green looked to be down for the count. Enter Bryana Wade into the batter's box. With one out, Wade sent a 2-1 pitch deep over the centerfield fence for a towering game-tying solo homerun.
Playing in its first extra-inning game of the 2015 season, North Texas kept things scoreless till the tenth thanks in part to Strunk throwing out the potential game-winning run at the plate from centerfield in the ninth. After a base-running mistake in the top half robbed the Mean Green of the go-ahead run, the Blazers finally capitalized. UAB's Ashley Johnson launched a walk-off solo homerun off of relief pitcher Monique Garcia to take game two, and clinch the series.
- North Texas looks to avoid back-to-back season sweeps to UAB by stealing the final game of the series on Sunday. First pitch against the Blazers is set for 12:00 p.m. CT at UAB Softball Stadium.
- Through 18 games in 2015, North Texas has finally played an extra-inning ballgame. The last time the Mean Green played beyond the normal seven innings was in the 2013 Sun Belt Conference Tournament (W 7-6 vs. No. 5 FAU in eight innings). NT is now 20-24 in extra-inning contests in program history.
- North Texas has scored first in the last three games played, winning one of them. The Mean Green is now 5-4 this season when scoring first.
- The Mean Green is still looking for its first win againt UAB in program history. In two years of meetings, North Texas is now 0-5 versus the Blazers. UAB was the only Conference USA opponent to sweep the season series against North Texas last season.