North Texas Travels To No. 9 Oklahoma For Midweek Matchup
Mean Green Finish Six-Game Nonconference Stretch In Norman
DENTON -- The North Texas softball team continues play on the road with the back half of an eight-game road swing, beginning with a midweek matchup at No. 9 Oklahoma on Wednesday at 6 p.m. It's also the final game of a six-game nonconference stretch for North Texas (20-19), before returning to Conference USA play at Southern Miss this weekend.
The Sooners (30-7), ranked No. 7 in this week's RPI rankings and ranked as high as No. 9 in the national polls, completed a three-game sweep of No. 18 Baylor in Waco this past weekend and enter the week atop the Big 12 standings. They are also a perfect 25-0 all-time against North Texas, including a 6-3 win in Norman and a 6-2 win Denton this past season.
"Oklahoma is a great program, and we have the honor of going up there and playing them," head coach Tracey Kee said. "It's something that we like doing. They will give us a great battle and they will be tough for pitchers, and we'll get to see great pitchers. We schedule like we do to see quality opponents, to be challenged and to be pushed to our limits."
North Texas has posted a 2-3 record during the first five games of this six-game nonconference stretch, bookended by a 1-0 walk-off win over UT Arlington in eight innings in Denton and a 10-2 run-rule win over Georgia Tech in five innings at the Kansas Round Robin in Lawrence, Kansas. The matchup with the Sooners presents a final tune-up before the start of the second half of the Conference USA slate.
"Our kids need to maintain their confidence and be smart hitters, to attack the pitches that they hit the best and go up there fearless," Kee said. "We hit a point where we were all pressing and we were all trying to get that clutch hit that we were lacking and it spiraled out of control for about seven or eight games."
North Texas has four Oklahoma natives on the roster in sophomore Lauren Miller, freshman Bailey Thompson, senior Bryana Wade and freshman Casady Webb, and for Miller, Thompson and Webb, it will be their first game against their home-state team. Kee expects there to be some added incentive for them on Wednesday night.
"These kids, they grow up watching that program," Kee said. "A lot of them took hitting lessons there and went to their camps. For them, it's an opportunity, just like when our Texas kids play Texas, to prove themselves. Some wished that they had played there or had gotten an opportunity to play there. Those are things that you like to see because they have that chip on their shoulder and they're out to prove their own talents."