North Texas Swept On Opening Day Of Conference USA Play
Mean Green Drops Two To UTSA In Saturday's Doubleheader
Game Two: UTSA 8, North Texas 6
SAN ANTONIO — The North Texas softball team opened Conference USA play on Saturday at UTSA, dropping both games of a doubleheader with the Roadrunners.
The long ball ruled the day in game one, as UTSA (8-16, 2-0 C-USA) hit three solo home runs, including a walk-off home run, in a 3-2 win in eight innings. In game two, UTSA and North Texas (13-8, 0-2 C-USA) and UTSA played to a 3-3 tie through 5.5 innings, before the Roadrunners broke through with five runs in the bottom of the sixth, all with two outs in the inning, and held on for an 8-6 win.
“We have to do a better job of understanding that conference play is completely different from preseason play, where every pitch, every at-bat and every out counts. I thought UTSA played with a much better sense of urgency than we did. I thought we hit well enough to win.
"I think the first game come down to the fact that we did not have any timely hitting and stranded runners on base. And then in the bottom of the sixth in the second game, we were right where you want to be, and they get a two-out flare and then the floodgates just opened and we were unable to shut it down on the pitcher’s mound.”
North Texas and UTSA play the series finale Sunday at 1 p.m., and the Mean Green look to avoid being swept on the first weekend of Conference USA play for the second straight season.
“To lose a series is not good; to be swept is even worse,” Kee said. “We need to do everything that we possibly can to get out of here with a win. We need to play with a sense of urgency and realize that any win you can put in the win column in going to help you in conference.”
Game One: UTSA 3, North Texas 2 (8)
UTSA and North Texas traded blows in the early innings and zeroes in the late innings, and the Conference USA opener for both teams went to extra innings. The Roadrunners prevailed, powering past the Mean Green with three solo home runs in a 3-2 win in game one of Saturday’s doubleheader.
Junior Jessica Elder (7-3) took the loss for North Texas, giving up three runs on seven hits with seven strikeouts in 7.1 innings, the second-longest outing of her career.
“I take full responsibly for Jess’ loss because I should have intentionally walked a kid,” Kee said. “That was my call, and obviously inn hindsight, that was a horrible call. I thought Jess pitched well enough to win that game.”
The Roadrunners staked a 2-0 lead behind a pair of solo home runs in the first and third innings to take a 2-0 lead. The Mean Green answered back in the top of the fourth, as freshman first baseman Rhylie Makawe hit a line-drive, two-run home run of her own.
UTSA threatened again in the bottom of the fourth, putting a pair of runners in scoring position with two outs, but Elder pitched out of the jam with an inning-ending groundout to first base. North Texas advanced a runner to third base with two outs in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings, but they were unable to push a run across, and the game went to extras.
In extra innings, junior outfielder Danielle Gregory led off the eighth with an infield single and Makawe reached on an infield single, but that all for the Mean Green in the inning. In the bottom of the inning, junior designated player Randee Crawford delivered for the Roadrunners with a walk-off solo home run, her second home run of the game.
Game Two: UTSA 8, North Texas 6
North Texas battled back to tie the game at 3-3, but they were unable to overcome a five-run bottom of the sixth, falling to UTSA by a score of 8-6 in the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader. North Texas battled back with three runs in the top of the seventh, but they were unable to extend the game.
“This team is going to fight until the end,” Kee said. “We have had so many wins in the bottom of the seventh or extra innings, but in conference play, you can’t sit around. There’s a sense of urgency with every pitch, every at-bat and every out. If we’re going to continue to hang around and try to pull it out late, we’re not going to be very successful.”
Junior Stacey Underwood (5-4) tossed a complete game but took the loss, giving up eight runs on 10 hits with two walks and six strikeouts. Senior second baseman Karly Williams had a career day at the plate, going 4-for-4 with a double and a home run, setting a career high for hits in a game.
“Because she’s in her hometown, she has a lot of fans here, and she’s been working diligently and she’s putting in the extra time, and now she’s reaping the results of that,” said Kee of Williams. “We knew she was a great hitter, and right now, she’s extremely hot.”
For the second straight game, UTSA struck first, taking a 1-0 lead on an RBI double in the first inning. In the next half inning, North Texas tied the game at 1-1 on a solo home run by junior outfielder Danielle Gregory. And then UTSA went back ahead in the third inning on a solo home run by junior designated player Randee Crawford, her third home run of the day.
Trailing 3-1, North Texas pushed across a run in the fourth and another run in the fifth to tie the game at 3-3. In the fourth, freshman designated player Casady Webb delivered with a two-out RBI single to right. In the fifth, the Mean Green strung together three straight hits, capped by an RBI double to the gap in left-center by freshman outfielder Harley Perella.
North Texas threatened in the sixth with runners at first and second and two outs in the inning, but UTSA ended the threat with a pop out to second. UTSA broke through with five runs in the bottom of the inning, all with two outs, scoring the go-ahead run on a an RBI single to shallow left and adding four more runs on a pair of two-RBI base hits in the frame.
The Mean Green fought to the end, scoring three runs in the top of the seventh. Williams capped her day at the plate with a solo home run, her fifth of the season. Later in the inning, senior catcher Bryana Wade hit a two-out, two-run home run to deep center to make it an 8-6 game. North Texas would bring the would-be, game-tying run to the plate with two outs in the inning, but UTSA junior Nicole Merrill got a game-ending strikeout to preserve the win.
- North Texas is now 2-2 in extra-inning games, having lost each of its last two extra-inning games to Creighton (5-4 in 8) and UTSA (3-2 in 8)
- Kelli Schkade saw her school-record 19 game hit streak come to an end, going 0-for-3 in game one
- Rhylie Makawe homered in consecutive games, becoming the second player to perform the feat this season, joining Kelli Schkade, who has homered in consecutive games twice this season
- Harley Perella and Rhylie Makawe tallied multi-hit games in game one
- Jessica Elder struck out a career-high seven batters in game one, including five in the first three innings
- Jessica Elder worked 7.0 or more innings for a third time this season, going 7.1 innings in game one, the second-longest outing of her career
- The three home runs allowed in game one were tied for the most home run allowed this season
- Karly Williams had a career-high four hits in game two, going 4-for-4 with two singles, a double and a home run
- Danielle Gregory tallied her team-leading 10th multi-hit game, going 2-for-3 with a home run in game two
- Casady Webb tallied her second career multi-hit game, going 2-for-3 in game two
North Texas concludes its three-game weekend series at UTSA on Sunday with a first pitch set for 1 p.m. The Mean Green will remain in San Antonio for a midweek matchup at Incarnate Word on Tuesday with a first pitch set for 3 p.m.