North Texas Falls Short In Upset Bid At No. 9 Oklahoma
Mean Green Fall Victim To Six-Run Fifth Inning In 6-1 Loss
NORMAN, Okla. – The North Texas softball team eyed a historic upset, clinging to a 1-0 lead over No. 9 Oklahoma through four and a half innings, before the nationally-ranked Sooners exploded for six runs in the bottom of the fifth for the 6-1 win on Wednesday night.
The Mean Green (20-20) were seeking their first win over Oklahoma (31-7) in school history and their second win over a top-10 team in school history. The Sooners scored six runs on four hits in the fifth, taking advantage of two walks and an error in the inning.
“I saw some positives from our team tonight,” head coach Tracey Kee said. “Our kids played loose and went about their game in the beginning. Whenever you’re playing a great like Oklahoma, you can’t have an inning where you give them five outs. I feel that we had two errors in that inning, and then you give them two walks, and they capitalized. They scored four runs off of those two errors.”
Freshman first baseman Rhylie Makawe, sophomore designated player Lauren Miller and freshman outfielder Hannah Gerecke all tallied hits in the contest, while junior shortstop Kelli Schkade drove in freshman infielder Kay Kay Hayer for the team’s lone run in the third.
Oklahoma threatened in the bottom of the first, loading the bases with two outs, but junior Jessica Elder ended the threat with a sky-high pop out to shortstop.
North Texas struck first, pushing a run across in the top of the third. Miller led off the inning with a single up the middle. Senior catcher Bryana Wade worked a full count and drew a walk, and then freshman Bailey Thompson reached on a fielder’s choice to load the bases. Schkade followed with a sacrifice fly to right-center field, but that was all the damage that was done.
“Whenever you have the bases loaded with nobody out, no matter who you’re playing, you’re slightly disappointed to only get one run,” Kee said. “For us, it was key that we got out of their bases-loaded situation earlier in the game, which certainly gave us a boost.”
Junior Stacey Underwood (6-10) put up zeroes in the third and fourth innings, to send the game into the bottom of the fifth with North Texas leading 1-0. In the bottom of the fifth, each of the first seven batters reached base for Oklahoma, including a bases-loaded walk, two RBI base hits to score a combined three runs and a fielding error that scored additional two runs.
After coming on in relief in the fifth inning, Oklahoma sophomore Paige Parker (18-3) allowed just one hit with one walk and six strikeouts in 3.0 scoreless innings. She also did not allow a base runner to advance past first base in her third innings of work.
“We can hang with people, and I think our kdis understand that, but we have to get some consistency and really try to put this together going down the stretch," Kee said.
- For just the fifth time this season, North Texas lost when scoring first, moving to 16-5 in such games this season
- North Texas is now 1-34 all-time against top-10 teams and 0-26 all-time against Oklahoma
- North Texas is now 2-4 against Big 12 teams and 3-7 against Power-Five Conference opponents this season
- Kelli Schkade failed to reach base for just the third time this season, reaching base in 37 of 40 games this season
- Jessica Elder allowed two hits with a walk in 2.0 scoreless innings, while Lauren Craine allowed one run on one hit in 2.0 innings of relief
- North Texas went 0-for-5 with runners on base, including 0-for-2 with runners in scoring position, and 1-for-8 with two outs
North Texas returns to Conference USA play with a three-game series at Southern Miss, beginning with a doubleheader on Saturday. First pitch for the first game is set for 1 p.m. in Hattiesburg.