North Texas Splits Saturday's Doubleheader With Southern Miss
Mean Green Secure Game One, 4-1, Southern Miss Game Two, 4-1
DENTON - The North Texas softball team split Saturday's doubleheader with Southern Miss, winning game one 4-1 on a three-run walk-off home run by freshman Hanna Rebar in the ninth inning.
In game two, an overturned play sparked Southern Miss to a 4-1 victory at Lovelace Stadium, to split on day one. North Texas maintains a two-game edge over USM in Conference USA's West bracket.
North Texas 4, Southern Miss 1
It took nine innings to decide a winner in game one, as Rebar propelled the Mean Green to a 4-1 victory with a three-run walk-off home run to center field.
Tied at 1-1 after eight innings, senior Kelli Schkade reached on an error to lead off the ninth before moving into scoring position on freshman Lindsay Gregory's sacrifice bunt. Classmate Lacy Gregory lined a single into left field, but Schkade was thrown out trying to score on the play. Senior Danielle Gregory worked a two-out walk and Rebar ended it with her fourth home run of the season.
"Rebar is doing everything she can for this program," head coach Tracey Kee said. "I don't see an athlete that has so much fun and so much passion like she does. She won't be denied. She is a gritty player and wants to be in that situation and as a coach, that's a kid you love to have."
Senior Stacey Underwood tossed another gem en route to her 12th win, going all nine innings allowing one unearned run with six strikeouts, two walks and six scattered hits.
"It was key for Stacey to go nine innings for us," Kee added. "She got better in the circle the deeper she went into the game. She was a little loose, but she said she was feeling stronger and stronger as the game went on."
Southern Miss opened the scoring in the third inning, as Arielle Pollock reached on a fielding error and later scored on a sacrifice fly to left field off Chase Nelson's bat.
Then, North Texas tied the game in the fourth inning on Schkade's team-best sixth home run, this one a solo shot to center field.
Both teams went quietly in innings six through eight, but USM put the go-ahead runner on third in the ninth, but Underwood was able to strike out Lauren Holifield to end the threat.
USM's Kin Crowson (7-8) was dealt the loss, going 8.2 innings, while allowing four runs - one earned - with six strikeouts and one walk.
Southern Miss 4, North Texas 1
After playing nine innings in game one, the Golden Eagles secured a 4-1 victory over North Texas (20-17, 7-7 C-USA) in game two as an overturned play in the third inning sparked a rally en route to the split.
Tied 1-1 in the third, USM's Nelson was initially ruled out on the field after being tagged out by first baseman Rhylie Makawe, but the umpires reversed the call, saying the ball was foul before the play was made, though initially called fair. Nelson delivered after the deliberation, knocking an RBI double to centerfield, scoring Rachel Johnson to take a 2-1 lead. Nelson late scored on a fielder's choice to make it a 3-1 game.
"I thought getting the call overturned led to, in my opinion, a couple of runs that should not have occurred," Kee added. "For us, we didn't do a good job as a team or as coaches to rebound from that. It was a dagger early, but we need to do a better job as a group not to let decisions and umpires affect our game."
The Golden Eagles (20-20, 5-9 C-USA) added another run in the seventh on Nelson's solo home run to right center.
North Texas' lone run came in the first when Schkade was hit by a pitch, advanced to third on Lindsay Gregory's double to right and scored on Lacy Gregory's groundout.
The Mean Green had a chance to cut into the lead in the sixth, but Rebar was called out trying to score from second on freshman Nicole Ochotnicki's double to left.
Senior Jessica Elder (4-6) was dealt the loss after going seven innings, allowing four runs - two earned -, while matching a career-best with eight strikeouts.
USM's Samantha Robles secured the win with a complete game performance.
"We are still in a position to achieve our goal and that is to win the series," Kee added. "Whoever walks through the gates tomorrow wanting it more is going to win the series."
• The nine-inning game was the longest of the season thus far for the Mean Green.
• Hanna Rebar's walk-off home run was her second walk-off hit of the season, the first being against UTSA on March 25. She stretched her reached base streak to 12 games with a hit in each contest.
• The three RBI in game one for Rebar marked a career high.
• Kelli Schkade started both games at third base for the first time this season.
• Stacey Underwood logged a single-game career high with nine innings pitched in game one.
• Jessica Elder matched her career high with eight strikeouts in game two.
• Camille Grahmann recorded her first pinch-hit of the season, lining a single into left field in game two.
• North Texas honored 2016 Hall of Fame Inductee Susan Waters before the game.
• The game two loss is the first conference loss at home this season.
Up Next For The Mean Green
North Texas and Southern Miss will play for the series victory tomorrow at 1 p.m.