North Texas Softball To Face No. 25 Texas On Longhorn Network
Mean Green Begin Five-Game Road Swing At No. 25 Texas On Wednesday Night
DENTON — Riding a five-game winning streak and the second-best start in school history, the North Texas softball team hits the road for the second time this season. The Mean Green (13-6) begins a five-game road swing on Wednesday against No. 25 Texas with first pitch set for 6 p.m. on the Longhorn Network.
The nationally-televised matchup with the Longhorns (14-3) provides a platform for a program that has already knocked off nationally-ranked and fellow Big 12 member Baylor twice and received votes in a national poll for the first time in school history. It’s also the third of nine games against Big 12 teams and the fourth of six games against teams currently ranked in the top 25 this season.
“We’re trying to build North Texas Softball,” head coach Tracey Kee said. “We’re trying to get people familiar with the changes that are occurring here and the direction of this program. You look at this season and the top-25 games that we have under our belt, and any time you can get exposure on TV, it’s good for your program and it’s good for your school and lets people know that we’re out here and we’re competing. And hopefully in the long run it will pay off.”
North Texas is coming off a 5-0 weekend at the Mean Green Spring Fling, where they defeated UT Martin twice, Nicholls State twice and Houston Baptist. They hit at a .358 clip over the five games and had six different players hit over .300 and four players hit over .400. They averaged 6.6 runs per game and tallied 18 extra-base hits and 82 total bases, including eight home runs.
The Mean Green are led by junior shortstop Kelli Schkade, who extended her school-record hit streak to 19 games with a hit in all five games this past weekend. During the 19-game stretch to open the season, she leads the team in batting average (.431), home runs (8) and RBI (23), as well as slugging percentage (.881) and total bases (59). Her eight home runs also leads the league and ranks eighth nationally.
The midweek matchup against No. 25 Texas also represents the final test before the start of Conference USA play against UTSA this weekend. The Mean Green and Roadrunners meet in a three-game weekend series that begins Saturday in San Antonio.
“This group understands that they have to play every game and every out,” Kee said. “You look at how many games where we have come from behind and how many games where we have won in the last inning. That’s just competitiveness. That’s our kids not giving in and playing 21 outs, or however many number of outs we need to win the game.
“With this young group, we’re going to have our ups and downs, and we’re trying very hard to bring a constant game, day in and day out. We work diligently on our offense, our pitching, and we put a high emphasis on defense.”