North Texas Returns Home To Host Lady Techsters
Saturday Doubleheader Starts At 1 P.M., Sunday Series Finale At 1 P.M.
DENTON — With three Conference USA series remaining, the North Texas softball team returns to the friendly confines of Lovelace Stadium for a three-game series against Louisiana Tech, beginning with a doubleheader on Saturday. It is the first home games for the Mean Green since April 6, when they defeated UT Arlington 1-0 in eight innings, winning in walk-off fashion for the fourth time this season.
North Texas (20-23, 3-12 C-USA) is coming off a 1-7 road swing that included a 10-2 run-rule win over Georgia Tech in five innings at the Kansas Round Robin, a 6-1 loss to No. 9 Oklahoma and, most recently, a series sweep loss at Southern Miss. Junior shortstop Kelli Schkade continues to set the pace for the Mean Green, leading the league in home runs (12) and slugging percentage (.775) and also ranking third in batting average and on-base percentage (.488).
“Our pitching had a pretty good stretch there,” head coach Tracey Kee. “Offensively, we were still getting people on base, but we had a difficult time of putting the runs on the board. Our kids were challenged mentally. Any time you’re not winning ballgames, it really pushes you to figure out what’s wrong and how to turn the corner.”
Louisiana Tech (24-16, 5-7 C-USA) has won each of its last two league series over UAB and UTSA, both at home, and is coming off a 4-2 win over Louisiana-Monroe on Thursday night. The Lady Techsters boast one of the league’s best offenses, leading Conference USA in runs per game (6.21), home runs per game (1.13) and slugging percentage (.480). They also rank sixth in batting average (.296) and fourth in earned run average (3.36).
Senior outfielder Kristen Miles and senior third baseman Anna Cross, both Texas natives, lead the way for the Lady Techsters. Miles leads the team in batting average (.375) and on-base percentage (.462), while Cross leads the team and ranks second in the league in home runs (11) and also leads the team and ranks third in the league in slugging percentage (.707). Sophomore Bailey Allen has a 11-6 record and a team-best 2.38 earned run average in 111.2 innings.
“They’re playing some great ball, they’re swinging the bats with a lot of power, and they have a full pitching staff available,” said Kee of Louisiana Tech. “Every conference game is important for us, as it is for them.”
The top eight teams advance to the conference tournament in Denton, and North Texas sit in 12th place of 12 teams in the league standings. The eight-team tournament field will include the top three teams in the East and West Division standings, as well as two wild card teams from either division. North Texas is 5.5 games back of Southern Miss, which occupies third place in the West Division standings, and 3.5 games back of eighth-place FIU for the last wild card spot.
“In our sport, once you begin to press, you’re not going to have a lot of success, whether it’s on the mound or in the batter’s box,” Kee said. “It comes down to fixing yourself individually, and if we get 15 kids doing that, we should move forward as a team. We keep telling them to plug away and we keep reminding them of the talent and the grit that we have on this team.”
Live stats are available for all three games, and a free live stream will be available for Sunday’s series finale on MeanGreenSports.com. Saturday's doubleheader begins at 1 p.m., while the series finale on Sunday is set for a first pitch of 1 p.m.