Mean Green Drop Series With 4-0 Loss To Charlotte
Pitchers Strand 12 49er Runners
DENTON – For the first time since joining Conference USA in 2014, the North Texas softball team dropped their opening conference series at home with a 4-0 loss to Charlotte on Sunday afternoon at Lovelace Stadium.
“Conference play is conference play,” Mean Green head coach Tracey Kee said. “You’re going to drop games and turn around a pick up games you weren’t expecting to. This was a huge learning experience for this young team.”
North Texas (9-10, 1-2 C-USA) fell just a few feet shy of tying the game to extra innings after Sally Gastelo’s pinch-hit single loaded the bases with two outs for Katie Clark. With the wind gusting, Clark sent the first pitch on the fly to right field, but Mother Nature kept the ball in the park for the final out.
“I knew what pitch I was going to get, because they’d been getting me on inside all day,” Clark said. “I just wanted to jump on that first pitch. I was unlucky with the wind because I got it a little too far up instead of straight.”
Haley Wiseman (5-7) picked up the win, tossing a complete-game shutout with four strikeouts and just two walks. Hope Trautwein (4-3) suffered the loss after giving up the 49ers’ first three runs on six hits. Wiseman held the Mean Green to just five hits scattered across seven innings.
“Our hits were with two outs and it’s very hard to manufacture runs or move people around when you’ve got two outs on the board,” Kee said. “We need to do a better job of getting our leadoff batters on. When we do that, we’re really good at pushing them around and delivering a clutch hit.
Charlotte (8-12, 2-1 C-USA) got on the board first with a run-scoring single in the second inning and added to its lead with a pair of RBI singles in the following inning. Coach Kee went to her bullpen as Maria Priest took over on the mound in the fourth, stranding six runners over her four innings to bring the total to 12.
“When you come into the game, the goal is to throw up zeros, slow down the offense and give our offense a chance to get going,” Priest said. “It was big and gave our offense some time to try to figure it out and get on their pitcher.”
North Texas hosts Pacific and Uconn in a mid-week doubleheader on Tuesday at noon and 2:30 p.m., respectively.
• After scoring four runs in the first inning of Saturday’s second game, the Mean Green have failed to score a run in the last 13 innings.
• North Texas fell to 10-5 in their first C-USA series at home since joining the league in 2014.
• The Mean Green pitching stranded 27 Charlotte runners on base in three games.