Elder throws complete game shutout to lead softball past UAB
Morgan Price | Staff Writer
After being swept in the doubleheader Friday against the University of Alabama at Birmingham, North Texas came into Saturday looking for their first road win in conference play.
Senior pitcher Jessica Elder took the circle for the Mean Green (22-20, 9-9) and looked sharp from the start. Elder had a quick 1-2-3 first inning against the Blazers (15-27, 7-8), setting the tone for the game in which she pitched five innings of no-hit softball.
“I came out with the feeling I need to put it all on the line and give it my all,” Elder said. “It was either go big or go home.”
The lead-off double to break up the no-hitter in the sixth didn’t phase her, as Elder bounced back to strand the runner at second after retiring the next three batters in order.
The Blazers threatened in the fourth inning with a lead-off walk and a hit by pitch with two outs but Elder kept her composure, getting her second strikeout of the day to end the inning and leave the runners stranded.
“It came down to keeping the ball low and knowing if it was going to get hit, my defense was going to take care of it,” Elder said.
Elder pitched a complete game shutout, moving to 6-7 on the season. She gave up just two hits while striking out two and walking two.
“She had great command today,” head coach Tracey Kee said. “When she’s hitting her spots, she can be very dangerous and I couldn’t be happier with her today.”
North Texas took the lead in the third inning on a lead-off solo home run by senior third baseman Kelli Schkade. This was the only run scored by either team.
Schkade went 2-for-2 with a single, home run, a walk and a stolen base.
“I struggled yesterday and I didn’t do what I need to, to help the team win,” Schkade said. “So today I made adjustments in the box and try to put a one on the board for the team.”
With timely hitting being an issue throughout the series, the Mean Green stranded nine on the bases. All four runs scored by the Mean Green in the three games came off of home runs.
However, Coach Kee remains confident after the Mean Green put up more hits Saturday than the two games Friday.
“Today we came out of the gates putting charges in balls that didn’t get hits,” Kee said. “I thought we did a nice job of squaring up balls, just again, it went at people.”
North Texas will play Oklahoma University on Tuesday at Lovelace in a makeup game after the original was rained out earlier this month. First pitch is at 6 p.m.
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