Elder's Gem, Strong Defense Leads Mean Green To Series Victory Over FAU
Senior Throws Six-Hit Shutout
DENTON - North Texas senior Jessica Elder tossed a complete-game shutout and freshman Lacy Gregory provided the offense with a two-run home run in the 2-0 victory over Florida Atlantic on Senior Day at Lovelace Stadium.
"This game could have gone either way and I thought our kids really stepped up today," head coach Tracey Kee said. "The freshmen and sophomores got on base and delivered clutch hits for us. We had all pitchers ready to go, but Jess kept dealing and credit to her for another strong outing."
With the victory, North Texas improves to 24-23 overall and 11-10 in Conference USA play, while remaining the No. 2 seed in C-USA's West bracket.
Elder (7-8) threw seven innings of shutout softball, allowing six hits with three strikeouts opposed to two walks. The complete-game shutout is her second in as many weeks.
"Jess came out of the gates slow and she was frustrated, but she continued to work hard in the bullpen every day," Kee said. "We continued to push her and let her know we needed her down the stretch. She is very confident right now and is having a lot of success in the circle."
Across her last four conference outings, Elder has held opponents to two runs in 20 innings of work.
After two and a half scoreless innings, Lacy Gregory gave Elder all the run support she needed with a two-run home run over the wall in left, plating sophomore Rhylie Makawe, giving North Texas a 2-0 lead. It was her sixth home run of the season.
In the fourth stanza, FAU put a runner on base with a single, but Elder induced a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning. Then, in the fifth inning the Owls put another runner on base, but senior Danielle Gregory made a diving stop in center field on Madisyn Palmer's hit to keep FAU off the board.
"That was the play of the game," Kee said. "I've never seen a catch like that and if she doesn't make that play, this game could have ended differently."
North Texas had an opportunity to extend its lead in bottom of the fifth after sophomore Harley Perella lined a triple to right-center field and Makawe was hit by a pitch, but FAU's second baseman made a nice over the should grab in shallow right field and fired to second for an inning-ending double play.
In the seventh, FAU's Mia Olson singled down the line in left field and Samantha Lageyre reached on a single to short, putting two runners on with one out, but Elder was able to get the next two batters out to end the game in favor of North Texas.
FAU's (30-18, 10-8 C-USA) Amanda Wilson (13-9) took the loss, allowing two runs on three hits with two strikeouts.
- Lacy Gregory has now tallied a team-best 10 multi-RBI games after collecting two in the series finale.
- North Texas picks up its first series victory over FAU since 2013.
- Harley Perella's triple in the fifth inning marks the first of her career.
- North Texas left three runners on base opposed to FAU's seven.
- The Mean Green recognized their four seniors before the game.
- The squad finishes the season 13-7 at home, including a 10-2 mark in conference.
Up Next For North Texas
The Mean Green will travel to Austin to challenge Texas on Wednesday. First pitch is slated for 6 p.m.