North Texas Travels To UTEP For Final C-USA Road Series
Mean Green Look To Snap Nine-Game Losing Streak
DENTON — The North Texas softball team travels to UTEP for its final road Conference USA series of the season. The Mean Green (20-28, 3-15 C-USA) and Miners (19-28, 10-8 C-USA) will play a doubleheader on Saturday, beginning at 2 p.m., while Sunday’s series finale has a first pitch set for 1 p.m.
With six conference games remaining, North Texas has been mathematically eliminated from contention for the Conference USA Tournament. The Mean Green look to snap a pair of losing streaks, having lost each of their nine Conference USA games and nine straight games overall entering the weekend.
In the midweek on Wednesday, they rallied late in both games of a doubleheader against Texas Tech but were unable complete either rally, falling 8-5 in game one and 4-2 in game two.
“Our kids handled some tough pitching and really put some quality swings on the ball against Texas Tech,” head coach Tracey Kee said. “If they can carry that over and continue to play with the confidence that some of them got back, that will put us in a good position this weekend.”
Junior shortstop Kelli Schkade ranks among the league leaders in most statistical categories, leading Conference USA in home runs (13), slugging percentage (.78) and also ranking third in on-base percentage (.478) and fourth in batting average. She is also closing in on several North Texas single-season records, including her 46 runs scored, which is tied for the most in school history.
“She’s the true epitome of a student-athlete, when you look at the works that she does in the classroom and the work that she does as a person, and she’s one of those individuals that is going to be quite successful in her life,” Kee said. “It’s nice to see her enjoy her college experience. She’s a fierce competitor, and I’m really happy for her. She deserves it. When you see kids work that hard, you like to see them rewarded.”
UTEP enters the weekend coming off a home series sweep loss to UAB this past weekend, just its second series loss of the season. After a series sweep loss at Marshall to open league play, the Miners won series over Louisiana Tech, FIU, UTSA and Middle Tennessee, including series sweeps of Louisiana Tech in El Paso and FIU in Miami.
The Miners are ranked third in Conference USA and is one of four league schools hitting over .300 with its .313 batting average. They also rank second in home runs per game (0.94) and slugging percentage (.478). Sophomore Courtney Clayton leads the team and ranks second in the league with a .423 batting average. Defensively, they rank 12th in Conference USA in earned run average (5.41), seventh in fielding percentage (.959) and also lead the league with 23 double plays turned.
“UTEP is having a great year, when you look at what they done in conference and how they really turned their year around,” Kee said. “They have a lot of positive things occurring. They’re a tough team at home. It’s going to be quite the challenge for us this weekend, but hopefully one that our team will be up for.”