North Texas Drops Series Rubber Match To Marshall
Marshall Takes Conference USA Series Two Games To One
DENTON -- The North Texas softball team dropped its second straight Conference USA series, falling to Marshall by a score of 9-5 in the series finale Sunday. The Thundering Herd (16-10, 5-1 C-USA) scored four runs each in the fifth and sixth innings, totaling 11 of their 17 hits during those two frames.
Junior Jessica Elder took a no-decision for the Mean Green (15-11, 1-5 C-USA), as she worked 4.0 innings and allowed three runs on six hits with a walk. Freshman Lauren Craine (1-2) suffered the loss in relief, giving up four runs on nine hits with two strikeouts in 2.1 innings.
The league's leader in stolen bases entering the weekend, Marshall put pressure on North Texas defensively throughout the weekend, forcing North Texas into a season-high three errors in the series opener Friday and another costly error in the series finale Sunday.
"The story of the whole weekend was their slappers doing an unbelievable job against our defense, between bunting, clutch hitting, shooting it hard and dropping it soft," head coach Tracey Kee said. "We just had no answer for that, and that's what happened today. They set a table, got those kids on and then wreaked havoc on us."
Elder and Marshall junior Jordan Dixon traded zeroes through two and a half innings, before North Texas struck first, taking a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third on an RBI single by senior second baseman Karly Williams.
Marshall answered with a run in the top of the fourth, and North Texas regained a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the innings on a sacrifice fly by sophomore designated player Lauren Miller, before Marshall exploded for four runs each in the fifth and sixth innings.
The Thundering Herd scored four runs on six hits and also took advantage of a fielding error in the frame. North Texas pushed across another run in the bottom of the inning, before Marshall answered back with four runs on five hits in the top of the sixth, highlighted by a two-out, three-run home run by freshman first baseman Briana Daiss.
"Honestly, I thought I could have called better pitches in the fifth and sixth innings, and our pitchers did what they could," Kee said. "They tried and they fielded their positions. I take a lot of ownership of those innings."
North Texas rallied in the bottom of the sixth, making it a 9-5 game on an RBI double by senior catcher Bryana Wade and a two-out, RBI single by senior Karly Willams. The base knock for Williams also brought the would-be, game-tying run to the plate, but Dixon pitched out of the two-out, bases-loaded jam with a pop out to second base.
"I encouraged the offense to continue to play like they did today, and we'll get in the win column," Kee said. "Yesterday, I thought we pitched well. Today, I thought we hit well. We have to get everything firing on all cylinders."
- The nine runs allowed were tied for most runs allowed this season, and the 17 hits allowed were the most hits allowed this season
- North Texas lost for just the fourth time when scoring first, moving to 11-4 in those such games this season
- For the first time since joining Conference USA for the 2014 season, North Texas dropped its league home-opening series, having swept Southern Miss in 2015 and taken two of three from UTSA in 2014
- North Texas moves to 4-5 all-time against Marshall, including a 4-2 mark in Denton
- Kelli Schkade has a hit in 25 of the 26 games this season, having hit safely in each of the last six games, since having her school-record 19-game hit streak snapped
- Harley Perella saw her 11-game hit streak snapped, which was the second-longest hit streak by a North Texas player this season
- Dani Gregory tallied her team-leading third three-hit game and team-leading 12th multi-hit game of the season, going 3-for-4 with a double and two runs scored
- Karly Williams also had three hits in the game, going 3-for-3 with a walk and three RBI
- Bryana Wade threw out her 12th runner of the season, throwing out 12 of 21 runners who have attempted to steal a base this season
North Texas travels to Stephen F. Austin for a midweek game on Tuesday, before continuing play on the road with a Conference USA series at Western Kentucky that begins on Friday.