Troy, Ala. (5/10/13) - The two-seeded South Alabama softball team eliminated North Texas from the Sun Belt Conference Tournament with a 5-0 win on Friday night at the Troy Softball Complex. The Mean Green advanced to the semifinals with a 5-2 victory against Troy earlier on Friday.
South Alabama (44-7) advances to the championship game of the conference tournament on Saturday at 3 p.m., while North Texas ends its 2013 season with a 29-24 record.
The 29 wins ties the North Texas school record for most victories in a single season. The 2010 team went 29-20. North Texas finishes the tournament with a 2-2 record. It is the sixth time that the Mean Green has won two games in the conference tournament.
USA's Farish Beard held the Mean Green to just two hits in the semi-final game. She pitched seven innings and struck out 10 batters.
Ashley Kirk (15-10) took the loss for the Mean Green. She gave up five runs off four hits in five innings of work. Only one run was earned. She struck out three batters. Brittany Simmons pitched the sixth inning in relief.
Kirk held the Jaguars hitless through three innings of work but got into trouble in the fourth. With two outs in the fourth, Kirk gave up two walks to load the bases. A Mean Green fielding error allowed the first run to score and two more runners would cross the plate off a passed ball and a wild pitch. An RBI single by Britany Campbell capped the scoring for the Jaguars in the fourth.
North Texas had opportunities to score but left runners stranded in the first and third innings.
North Texas knocked out seventh-seeded Troy, 5-2 to advance to the semi-finals earlier on Friday. The Mean Green scored its five runs in the first three innings and starter Brittany Simmons held off Troy the rest of the way.
The Mean Green defeated Troy for only the second time in the conference championship and the first since 2008. The 2008 win came in 13 innings when the tournament was in Troy. The Trojans have eliminated the Mean Green twice from the tournament.
Dani Hoff and Brooke Foster knocked in all five runs for the Mean Green. Hoff gave North Texas a 1-0 lead in the first inning with a single to right field. Foster scored after reaching base on fielder's choice.
North Texas added three runs in the second inning off a two-RBI single by Foster with the bases loaded. Hoff brought home the third run off the inning by drawing a bases-loaded walk. Foster capped the scoring with a sacrifice fly in the third inning.
Simmons (9-9) picked up the complete-game win. She pitched seven innings and allowed two runs off five hits. She struck out three batters.
With her one hit today, Foster tied Stephanie Cranmer for the third-most hits in a single-season at North Texas with 66.
With her three strikeouts today, Kirk finishes her junior season with 177 strikeouts. The 177 break hers own single-season record. She also holds the single-game and career strikeout records.