Mean Green Softball Faces No. 8 OU Tonight

DENTON, Texas (2/29/12) - The Mean Green faces its fourth nationally-ranked opponent this season when it plays No. 8 Oklahoma (8-1) at home on Wednesday, Feb. 29 at Lovelace Stadium.

North Texas (5-7) is 0-19 in the series against the Sooners. North Texas has lost to No. 11 Oklahoma State, No. 20 Houston and No. 9 Baylor (twice) in 2012.

The offense struggled last weekend, but the pitching did not. The pitching staff posted an ERA of 1.58 over five games at the Texas Shootout. Brittany Simmons led the staff with an ERA of 0.36. She gave up just one earned run over 19.1 innings. Simmons saw action in all five games of the tournament, while Ashley Kirk pitched 15.2 innings in three appearances.

Simmons is leading the pitching staff with an overall ERA of 0.85 and a win-loss record of 4-2. Among Sun Belt leaders, she is second in lowest ERA and tied for fifth for most wins.

Ashley Kirk posted her 200th career strikeout at the Texas Shootout. She is only the fourth pitcher in school history to record 200 strikeouts in her career. Despite her 1-4 record, Kirk has taken on some of the Mean Green's toughest competition. She has started games against Oklahoma State, Houston, Texas Tech and Baylor. All of those teams were ranked except Texas Tech. Among Sun Belt leaders, she is second in strikeouts with 42.

The Mean Green has had a lot of success with home-field advantage in the past few years. North Texas placed second in last year's Sleep Inn Classic and won the 2011 Courtyard Classic. The success continued with a 3-0 record at the Fairfield Inn & Suites Classic last weekend. The Mean Green lost the tie-breaker with Creighton who also posted a 3-0 mark. Despite a Saturday rainout, North Texas picked up wins against Northern Illinois, Missouri State and Wichita State.

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North Texas Mean Green