North Texas Falls In Series Finale To FIU
Mean Green Conclude Four-Game Homestand Against UT Arlington On Wednesday
DENTON -- The North Texas softball team was unable to salvage a game against FIU, dropping the series finale Saturday by a score of 12-3 in a run-rule-shortened six innings.
FIU (21-17, 7-5 C-USA) scored four runs each in the first and second innings and added two more runs each in the fifth and sixth innings to clinch the win and complete the weekend sweep. It's the second time that North Texas (18-16, 3-9 C-USA) has been swept in a weekend series this season, and their four-game losing streak is the longest this season.
"In our sport, with the season so long, you tend to get a spurt where you can't do anything right," head coach Tracey Kee said. "Credit to FIU, they came in here and took care of business. They outplayed us."
For the third straight game, FIU jumped out to an early lead, scoring four runs on three hits, all with two outs, in the top of the first. FIU sophomore A.J. Belans provided the big hit with a three-home run to make it a 4-0 game.
North Texas answered right back, as junior shortstop Kelli Schkade led off the bottom of the first with a solo shot to left field, her league-leading 12th home run of the season. The Panthers scored four more runs in the top of the second, on a two-RBI single and a two-run home run.
"We did not do well as a pitching staff," Kee said. "We didn't keep them off the board early. A four-spot in the first innings, OK, you have seven innings to get that back. But another four-spot in the second inning, that just can't occur. That's asking too much of an offense. And that's a tone-setter for the rest of the game. Our staff is too good to let that happen."
North Texas scored a run each in the third and fourth innings. Freshman third baseman Harley Perella delivered with a two-out RBI single in the third, while Schkade worked a full count and drew a bases-loaded walk with two outs in the fourth. FIU extended the lead to 10-3 on back-to-back solo home runs to lead off the fifth, and then in the sixth, Belans delivered with a two-out, RBI single to shallow right to make it a 12-3 game heading into the bottom of the sixth.
Junior Stacey Underwood (6-7) suffered the loss for the Mean Green, giving up 10 runs on nine hits with two walks in 2.1 innings. In between Underwood's two appearances to start and end the game, junior Jessica Elder gave up two runs on four hits with a strikeout in 3.2 innings.
Along with Schkade, who reached base in two of her three plate appearances, freshman outfielder Hannah Gerecke was a bright spot for North Texas. Making her sixth start of the season, she tallied her first career hit as part of a 3-for-3 game.
"We're halfway through the conference schedule, and we're sitting at 3-9," Kee said. "We have 12 more conference games, and going into those, we're 0-0. We control everything at this point, and it comes down to how we approach the next 12 conference games."
- North Texas swept a three-game weekend series at FIU in 2015, while FIU swept a three-game weekend series at North Texas in 2016
- North Texas was swept at home for the first time this season, and it is the second time overall that North Texas has been swept this season
- The 12 runs allowed were the most allowed this season, and the 13 hits allowed were the second-most allowed this season
- The four home runs allowed were also the most allowed this season
- North Texas is now 4-12 when its opponent scores first this season and is now 5-7 when its opponent scores in the first inning this season
- FIU was 6-for-12 with runners on base, including 5-for-10 with runners in scoring position, and was 4-for-9 with two outs, scoring six of its 12 runs with two outs
- Kelli Schkade led off a game with a home run for the third time this season, having also done so against Arizona on Feb. 12 and against Marshall on March 19
- Kelli Schkade has reached base in 33 of 34 games this season, including a team-best streak of 19 games and an active streak of 14 straight games
- Hannah Gerecke tallied her first career hit as part of a 3-for-3 game, her first career multi-hit game and the team's ninth three-hit game this season
North Texas wraps up a four-game homestand with a midweek matchup against UT Arlington on Wednesday at 6 p.m., before hitting the road for an eight-game road swing, beginning with a game at Kansas on Friday at 5 p.m.