2013 Softball In Review
The 2013 Mean Green softball team won nine of its last 12 regular season games to record its third winning season in school history at 29-24.
The 2013 Mean Green softball team won nine of its last 12 regular season games to record its third winning season in school history at 29-24. North Texas also tied a school record for most wins in a single season with 29.
Playing in its final Sun Belt Conference season, North Texas faced one of the most competitive conference seasons in recent history. The Mean Green recorded a 12-9 record in the conference, tying its second-best mark in school history.
North Texas swept its last two conference series to move up the rankings and earn a No. 4 seed at its final Sun Belt Conference Tournament. The top three teams in the Sun Belt (USA, WKU, and ULL) went on to receive bids to the NCAA Tournament. North Texas went 1-8 against those teams, placing fourth in the regular season and tying for third in the conference tournament.
It took eight innings but North Texas won its opening game at the conference tournament in Troy, Ala. against FAU for the first time since 2007. The Mean Green fell to WKU in the second round but came back to eliminate Troy from the tournament with a 5-2 victory. USA came up with four runs in the fourth inning to knock the Mean Green out of the tournament in the semifinals. WKU and USA went on to face each other in the conference championship.
Brooke Foster was named to the Sun Belt Conference All-Tournament Team for her performance in Troy. Foster led the team in the tournament with five RBI. The honor capped a stellar season for the junior. In 2013, Foster led the team with a .377 batting average, 66 hits and 25 multi-hit games. She was second on the team with 10 doubles and 14 stolen bases and third with 31 RBI.
She was one of three players to be named to the all-conference team, tying another school record. Ashley Kirk was named second-team all-conference, while Foster and freshman Taylor Schoblocher were named to the second-team at-large team.
Kirk led the team with 15 wins, 17 complete games and 177 strikeouts. Her 2.38 ERA was sixth in the conference, and the right-hander was fourth in strikeouts. The 15 wins is a personal best and third in school history. Kirk broke her own single-season strikeout record in 2013. She also set the career strikeout record this season against Middle Tennessee in just her third year. She holds the single-game, single-season and career strikeout records at North Texas.
Kirk was named Sun Belt Pitcher of the Week twice this season. She received the honor on April 29 following her performance against ULM when she picked up three wins against the Warhawks. Two of her wins were five-inning no-hitters. One of her biggest wins this season was her eight-strikeout performance against No. 19 Baylor on April 17.
Schoblocher is the first the Mean Green softball player to receive all-conference honors as a freshman since Foster accomplished the feat in 2011. The freshman led the Mean Green with 11 home runs, setting the freshman record for most homers in a single season at North Texas. The 11 home runs ranks tied for fourth in school history. Only four other North Texas players in school history have hit 11 or more home runs in a single season.
One of the most dramatic home runs Schoblocher hit was a walk-off grand slam against UTA on April 30. Despite losing a bulk of its offensive from last season, the Mean Green hit .259 as a team in 2013, just six points below the 2012 squad. This year’s team also hit 40 home runs, aided by Schoblocher’s 11.
Jordan Terry hit eight of those homers, good for second on the team. The sophomore started off the season on a hot streak, leading the team in most offensive categories. She was named the conference player of the week twice. Despite cooling off towards the end of the season, she still finished the season with a batting average of .271, which is 73 points higher than her 2012 totals.
Another sophomore who had a much improved season was first baseman Dani Hoff. She started every game at first base and led the team with 13 doubles. She finished second on the team with a .291 batting average and fourth with 24 RBI. She more than doubled her numbers from her freshman year, including raising her batting average by 93 points. Her sacrifice fly was the game-winner in the 2-1 win against Stephen F. Austin on May 1.
North Texas had a number of close games during the 2013 season. The Mean Green won seven 1-run ballgames and lost eight 1-run games. The Mean Green still was able to tie the school record for the best win total in school history. Notable wins in 2013 included Texas Tech, Oklahoma State on the road and No. 19 Baylor at home. North Texas broke a losing streak against ranked opponents with the 5-3 win against the Bears. North Texas had not beaten a ranked opponent since defeating Baylor in 2011.
The Mean Green opened the season with four tournaments, playing in the championship game in two of them. North Texas opened the season at the Texas Classic and lost twice to No. 7 Texas, including a 5-4 loss in a televised game in the finals. After going just 1-3 in its home tournament, North Texas rebounded with a 3-2 record at the Texas Shootout, falling twice to No. 25 Baylor.
The toughest stretch of the season came in April early when North Texas faced Louisiana-Lafayette, No. 23 South Alabama and No. 19 Baylor back-to-back. The Mean Green went 0-5 against the two conference opponents before splitting a doubleheader with the Bears at home. North Texas then went on to finish the season 10-4.
In addition to tying the school record for wins, North Texas also set the record for fielding percentage (.968). The Mean Green recorded the second-most walks in team history and stole the second-most bases.
North Texas loses pitcher Brittany Simmons and outfielder Lesley Hirsh to graduation but welcomes five newcomers for the 2013-14 season.