North Texas Softball Hosts North Texas Invitational
Mean Green Plays Host To Sam Houston State, Creighton For First Four Home Games Of 2016
DENTON — After a week that saw them notch two nationally-ranked wins, win the 2016 Getterman Classic and receive votes in one of the national polls for the first time in school history, the North Texas softball team opens its 2016 home slate with the North Texas Invitational. The Mean Green will play host to Sam Houston State and Creighton in a two-day, six-game round-robin tournament on Saturday and Sunday.
The North Texas Invitational is the first of two home nonconference tournament, later hosting the Mean Green Spring Fling, a three-day, 10-game tournament that begins on Friday, March 4. This weekend, North Texas will play Sam Houston State at 1 p.m., followed by Creighton at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday. And they will conclude the weekend of action against Creighton at 11 a.m., followed by Sam Houston State at 1 p.m. on Sunday.
North Texas enters the weekend with a 6-4 record, highlighted by a 4-1 record with a pair of wins over No. 21 Baylor on the way to the 2016 Getterman Classic tournament title in Waco this past weekend.
They won both of their bracket play games against Liberty and No. 21 Baylor in walk-off fashion, their second and third walk-off wins of the season. Looking at their opponents this weekend, Sam Houston State is 2-6, while Creighton is 4-6 through the first two weeks of the 2016 season.
“I’m excited that our fans get to see this team,” head coach Tracey Kee said. “Hopefully, this team will respond by being at home. They have done very well on the road in very difficult situations and have picked up some wins when people didn’t expect us to. Now, it’s a matter of understanding how to play at home with consistency and winning games and making this a difficult place for opponents to come beat us.”
The Mean Green offense has been ignited by the contributions of junior shortstop Kelli Schkade and junior outfielder Danielle Gregory.
Schkade, a Conference USA Co-Player of the Week selection earlier this season, has a hit in each of the first 10 games this season, including five multi-hit games. She leads the team in batting average (.444), on-base percentage (.500) and slugging percentage (.889) and also leads the league and ranks among the nation’s leaders with four home runs.
Gregory is second the team in batting average, hitting at a .394 clip and tallying a hit in each of her last six at-bats in bracket play of the Getterman Classic against Liberty and No. 21 Baylor. She also had her hand in the team’s walk-off wins at the Getterman Classic, scoring the winning run on a triple and throwing error against Liberty, and drawing a bases-loaded walk against Baylor.
In the circle, the North Texas pitching staff posted a 2.03 ERA at the Getterman Classic, giving up just 17 runs, 11 of which were earned, on 30 hits with five walks and 14 strikeouts in 38.0 innings of work. Junior Stacey Underwood leads the team with a 3.27 earned run average and .237 opponents’ batting average, including a 1.17 ERA and .169 opponents’ batting average in a team-high 18.0 innings at the Getterman Classic.
“We’re still going to try to play the underdog role,” Kee said. “I told the team that all that receiving votes this week did was put a bull’s eye on our back and make everyone get up for games against us. As I told them, a gritty team is going to accept that challenge and do everything they can to execute and play their own game, and hopefully that’s the type of team that we will respond with this weekend and come out here and do what we’re capable of doing.”