North Texas Powers Past WKU For First C-USA Series Win
Mean Green Hand Defending C-USA Champion First-Ever C-USA Series Loss
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. -- The North Texas softball team claimed its first Conference USA series of the season and handed Western Kentucky its first series loss as a C-USA member, powering past the Lady Toppers 9-6 in the series finale Saturday.
The Mean Green (18-12, 3-6 C-USA) scored five runs in the third inning, and junior shortstop Kelli Schkade belted her league-leading 11th home run of the season in the fourth inning to score what proved to be the game-winning run in the contest. Junior Jessica Elder (11-4) earned the win in relief, limiting WKU to one run on four hits in 4.0 innings.
"It feels good to come out of the weekend with our first league series win of the year," head coach Tracey Kee said. "Our kids came out of the gates, and as soon as they got off the bus, they were full of energy and focus. They felt like they could win, and they put it all together, and it was nice to see it pay off today."
The Mean Green scored two more runs in the inning, both with two outs, on an RBI single by freshman outfielder Makenzi Dawson and a wild pitch. WKU answered right back in the bottom of the inning, also scoring five runs on five hits, highlighted by a two-out, three-run home run by sophomore Hannah Parker.
North Texas had another answer in the next-half inning, as Schkade delivered with a two-run home run to left to put the Mean Green out in front for good.
"It was nice to grab that early lead, but when they answered immediately, our kids did a great job of responding right back," Kee said. "By the third game of a series, you know the pitchers up and down, so it's up to the offenses to swing it and put some runs up, and we did a nice job of that today."
WKU pulled to within 7-6 in the bottom of the fifth, but North Texas added insurance runs in both the sixth and seventh innings, manufacturing a run in the sixth, capped by a sacrifice fly by Perella, and a solo home run by freshman Rhylie Makawe in the seventh, her fifth home run of the season.
After giving up a two-out, RBI single in the bottom of the fifth, Elder retired the final seven WKU batters in order, working a perfect sixth and seventh to close out the 9-6 win.
"They're a great program," said Kee of WKU. "They accomplished a lot last year, and they started 1-0 in series this year. We wanted to be that team to end their streak. We understand that we need to put wins in the win column, and our kids handled that pressure well and got after it this weekend."
- North Texas improves 18-24-1 all-time against WKU, snapping a five-game winning streak for the Lady Toppers entering the weekend
- North Texas handed WKU its first Conference USA loss since joining the conference for the 2015 season, snapping a streak of eight straight series wins
- North Texas improves to 14-4 when scoring first this season
- North Texas tallied double-digit hits for the 14th time this season, including in both wins over WKU this weekend
- The leadoff batter reached in six of the seven innings, coming around to score in four of those innings
- North Texas was 6-for-15 with runners on base, including 5-for-14 with runners in scoring position
- Kelli Schkade tallied her team-leading 14th multi-hit game of the season, going 2-for-4 with a home run, three runs scored and two RBI
- Harley Perella tied her career high for RBI, going 2-for-2 with a double, a run scored and three RBI
- Kelli Schkade led the team at the plate for the weekend, going 6-for-10 with a double, a home run, eight runs scored and five RBI
- Harley Perella went 4-for-8 for the weekend with two doubles, two runs scored and four RBI
North Texas concludes its five-game road swing with a midweek matchup at No. 20 Baylor on Wednesday, before returning home for a three-game series against FIU beginning Saturday.