April 25, 2014
North Texas at FIU Media Notes
MIAMI - The Mean Green softball team (28-16, 12-5 C-USA) goes into its second-to-last Conference USA swing against FIU with a fair amount on the line.
For starters, the unit sits two wins away from becoming the winningest team in program history.
Furthermore, with six conference games left, North Texas is in the driver's seat for the two seed at the conference tournament, which will take place on May 8-10 in Boca Raton, Fla.
Leading the charge is a strong group of seniors, highlighted by ace pitcher Ashley Kirk. She boasts a 20-7 record in 29 appearances and has struck out a North Texas record 189 batters. She has held the opposition to a .217 average at the plate and has been even better with runners on, where she limits batters to a mere .211 average (56 hits in 266 attempts).
Another senior, starting third baseman Jordan Terry, has also pieced together an exceptional season in her final year. Having spent the majority of the spring in the cleanup spot (27 games), the Rowlett product is batting .310. Going into the series at FIU, Terry has an active 16-game reached base streak going, a Mean Green best. The veteran has also been clutch in two-out situations where she has knocked in 18 RBI, which is tied for the team high with junior Kat Strunk.
Strunk, a transfer from local NCTC, is another hot bat in head coach Tracey Kee's lineup. She has been efficient in several spots in the order and is batting .328. Her best work has come against southpaws where the Grand Prairie native is batting .529.
Like Terry, Strunk has shown the clutch gene as she is hitting .611 with a runner on third base and less than two outs. She's also posting a .360 average in two-out situations, the second-highest mark on the team (min. 5 attempts) to junior Jen Beardsley, who is hitting .714 with two outs. Defensively, she is one of two players on the entire roster to start in the same position, center field, in all 44 games.
As a team, the Mean Green is on the verge of several season records. If they hold, NT's .289 batting average, .457 slugging percentage and .380 on-base percentage would all be program bests.
The offense has been deadly on the base paths as well, where the Mean Green's 57 stolen bags trail only the 2013 and 2004 squad's 66 and 72.
In the circle, the pitching staff's combined six shutouts is tied for the program high (2010 and 2009), and it has only allowed 170 runs all season, the second-fewest in team history.
The series begins with a doubleheader on Saturday, March 26, at 3 p.m. CST.
Follow along with the Mean Green on its weekend trip through the Magic City on Twitter @MeanGreenSB for photos, stats, trip updates and more.