North Texas Offense Stymied In Sunday's Losses
Losing Streak Extends To Six Games
DENTON - The North Texas softball team's losing skid hit a season-high six games as the Mean Green dropped both games of Sunday's doubleheader to Florida International.
"FIU completely outplayed us," North Texas head coach Tracey Kee said. "They out-pitched us, out-hit us and made the plays that they needed to."
The Panthers (25-23, 9-7 C-USA) shutout North Texas (22-22, 8-8 C-USA) 6-0 in the first game behind Shannon Saile's (16-9) six-inning gem in the circle, striking out eight batters and allowing four hits.
Maria Priest (10-13) suffered the loss after giving up six runs on 10 hits while tossing her eighth complete game.
For the fourth time in the last five games, North Texas's opponent struck first as Kasandra Castle put FIU on the board with a two-run home run in the first inning. The Panthers added another on a sac fly by Julia Gilbert.
"They came in with a good plan," Kee said. "I don't think we were ready at first pitch and it's not the first time this has happened."
Two-out RBI hurt the Mean Green as the Panthers extended their lead to five in the third inning on a pair of two-out RBI singles by Venessa Gallegos and Kayla Whitehead. Gilbert doubled in a run with two outs in the fourth to go ahead 6-0.
The Mean Green offense had no problem getting leadoff runners on, reaching in six of the seven innings, but went 0 for 13 with runners on and 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position.
"Our short game was non-existent," Kee said. "FIU did a much better job executing than we did today. We've just got to hit the ball hard and through. We've won games by having everyone contribute 1-through-9 and that didn't happen today."
FIU (26-23, 10-7 C-USA) mirrored their game one start in game two with a three spot in the opening frame on its way to an 8-3 win in game two. The Panthers scored on a RBI single from Castle, who scored on the following at-bat on a Rivera triple.
Both starters went the distance as Megan Kugelmann (6-7) picked up the win and Hope Trautwein (12-9) lost her third straight decision.
North Texas (22-23, 8-9 C-USA) scored its first run of the day in the second inning on a two-out single up the middle from Kourtney Williams to drive in Hanna Rebar, the team's first hit with a runner in scoring position. The Panthers responded with a no-out grand slam by Rivera to make it 7-1. In the bottom of the fourth inning, Williams scored on a Miranda Holguin single up the middle to cut the deficit to five at 8-3.
"Credit to Kourtney and Miranda, two kids that have been buried on the bench, for stepping in there and putting great swings on the ball," Kee said.
North Texas will wrap up a five-game homestand against No. 2 Oklahoma in front of a sold-out crowd at Lovelace Stadium at 6 p.m. Wednesday.
With a base-knock in each game, Katie Clark extended her streak of reaching base safely to 17 games.
The Mean Green have lost eight straight to FIU, dating back to 2016.
Trautwein's 137 strikeouts are the second-most by a freshman in program history.