North Texas Sweeps UTEP In C-USA Opener
Mean Green Move To 13-9
DENTON - The North Texas softball team swept Saturday's doubleheader against Conference USA foe UTEP, defeating the Miners 2-0 in game one and 8-6 in game two.
It was the conference opener for both squads.
"For this young group of players, it was great to get the first win out of the way," head coach Tracey Kee said. "I really have to credit our freshman and sophomore class because aside from one senior, our lineup is made up of underclassmen. Our freshmen approached their first conference series with a positive manner and the results showed; it was nice to get some carryover from our success in Lubbock last weekend as well."
Sophomore Harley Perella shined on offense for the Mean Green, going a combined 3-for-6 with a career-high four RBI in game two.
"Harley is clutch hitter and a very tough out," Kee added. "She is a gritty kid and when runners are on, she is who I want to see in the box. She isn't going to get cheated and she does a nice job of putting the ball in play, forcing the defense to make a play."
North Texas 2, UTEP 0
In the opening game, senior Stacey Underwood (7-3) outpitched UTEP's Erika Harrawood, helping the Mean Green to a 2-0 victory.
Underwood tossed her seventh complete game of the season, going seven innings, tallying three strikeouts, while allowing no runs on five scattered hits. It marked her third shutout of the season.
"UTEP is one of the best hitting teams that I've seen all year," Kee added. "We knew the staff had their work cut out for them, but you have to give Stacey credit for her outing today. She did a nice job with her command, kept her composure in check and allowed her defense to work for her."
The bats were quiet for both squads early, as the first hit of the game did not come until the top of the third inning. In that frame, UTEP put runners in scoring position with two singles, but Underwood worked out of the jam, stranding two runners on base to keep the game scoreless.
Both teams were unable to push a run across until North Texas took a two-run lead in the fifth inning. Freshman Hanna Rebar doubled to right center and later scored on Kelli Schkade's double to right field. Freshman Lacy Gregory plated Schkade with a single of her own to right field.
That was the extent of the scoring for both teams, as Underwood sat the Miners down in order in the sixth and worked around two singles in the seventh to secure the Mean Green's first C-USA win of the season.
UTEP's Harrawood took the loss, going six innings, allowing two runs on six hits.
North Texas 8, UTEP 6
Game two of the day was a slugfest, with the Mean Green grinding out an 8-6 victory over UTEP.
After needing four and a half innings to plate a run in game one, the Mean Green (13-9, 2-0) put a run on the board in the opening frame on sophomore Rhylie Makawe's RBI single to short, scoring Lindsay Gregory.
Then, in the second stanza, the Mean Green offense exploded for five runs to make it a six-run ballgame. Freshman Lacy Gregory plated Lindsay Gregory on a stand up triple down the right field line and sophomore Harley Perella's dealt the major blow with a towering three-run home run to left field, scoring Lacy Gregory and Schkade, moving the score to 6-0.
Sophomore Lauren Craine made quick work of UTEP (5-17, 0-2) across the first three innings, but the Miners cut the Mean Green lead to five with an unearned run in the fourth inning.
"I thought Lauren threw the ball very well today," Kee added. "When you see a team that just lost and has a sense of urgency, it's tough to keep them down and she did a great job of holding them at bay as long as she could."
The damage came in the sixth, as UTEP plated five runs of its own, all with two outs. UTEP's Macey Brown drove in two runs with a pinch hit single to left field, chasing Craine. Underwood relieved Craine in the circle, allowing three runs to score, capped off on Courtney Clayton's two-run home run to left field.
North Texas got one run back in the sixth on Perella's groundout to third, scoring freshman Camille Grahmann.
Underwood retired the Miners in order in the seventh, securing the 8-6 victory. Craine (3-3) earned the win after tossing 5.2 innings allowing four runs - three earned - with four strikeouts.
- Kelli Schkade stretched her team-best hitting streak to 12 games after 1-for-3 showing in game one and a 2-for-3 showing in game two.
- Lindsay Gregory moved her hitting streak to 11 games, recording a base knock in each contest.
- Lacy Gregory hit her first career triple and collected three RBI on the day, bring her total to 22, a team best.
- Stacey Underwood matched her win total from last season.
- With her four strikeouts in game two, Lauren Craine has 27 for the season. She finished with 16 last year.
- Harley Perella hit her fourth homer of the season, tying Lacy Gregory for the team lead.
Up Next For The Mean Green
North Texas and UTEP will complete the three-game series tomorrow at 1 p.m.