North Texas Bats Held in Check by WKU on Day One
Hilltoppers Clinch Series with Two Saturday Wins Behind Kramer's 18 Strikeouts
(G1) BOX SCORE: WKU 14, North Texas 8
(G2) BOX SCORE: WKU 4, North Texas 0
DENTON -- After seeing its seven-game losing streak come to an end on Wednesday, North Texas' streak of two consecutive Conference USA series sweeps also came to an end at the hands of Western Kentucky on Saturday. Behind the arm of the Miranda Kramer, the Hilltoppers blew strikeout after strikeout past the Mean Green en route to two victories, 14-8 in game one and 4-0 in game two.
North Texas dug itself a big hole in game one, spotting WKU five runs in each of the first two innings of play thanks to 12 hits and an uncharacteristic Mean Green error. With a 10-0 lead, the Hilltoppers allowed starting phenom pitcher Kramer to take a breather on the bench while getting other pitchers innings under their belts.
Instead of laying down, the Mean Green fired up some pride and rattled off eight unanswered runs across three innings to cut the deficit to two. An offensive bright spot on the day, catcher Shelbie Smith knocked a one-out single up the middle to plate North Texas' first two runs in the second. Just one inning later, she blasted a three-run home run over the left field wall.
Junior Karly Williams also provided an RBI on a sacrifice fly to right field in the third. A Taylor Schoblocher two-run shot to straightaway center field provided the final Mean Green runs of game one in the fourth inning.
With WKU's Kramer back on the mound after a re-entry, North Texas went silent for the rest of the game, going scoreless in the fifth, sixth and seventh. The Hilltoppers added four runs of insurance in the top of the seventh to seal things up.
In a much tighter contested game two, sophomore Stacey Underwood kept things interesting by keeping the Hilltopper bats relatively quiet. Underwood allowed North Texas a chance, holding WKU to just four runs on eight hits in six innings pitched.
However unlike game one, the North Texas lineup failed to ignite, only posting two hits and just five baserunners against the impressive WKU pitching staff. The Mean Green fell victim to a shutout for just the second time in 2015, the first time since a Feb. 21 non-conference matchup with No. 2 Oregon.
After dropping the first two games of the series on Saturday, North Texas will look to rebound on Sunday to avoid falling victim to the Conference USA sweep at the hands of WKU. Due to the Hilltoppers' travel arrangements, first pitch of game three is set for 11 a.m. CT.
- North Texas' Smith lit up the day offensively, smashing five RBI on 3 for 7 hitting, including a three-run homer. Previous to today, she was 1 for 16 on the season with no RBI.
- After ripping off seven wins in a row, the longest win streak of the season, the Mean Green has now dropped three in a row. The longest losing streak of 2015 is five consecutive.
- WKU's Kramer tossed 18 strikeouts in 26 batters faced on day one of the series. North Texas had only averaged 3.3 strikeouts per game coming into today.