Softball falls flat on day two of North Texas Invitational

Softball falls flat on day two of North Texas Invitational

Softball falls flat on day two of North Texas Invitational
February 28
18:37 2016

Clay Massey | Staff Writer

@Clay_FC

After sweeping day one of the North Texas Invitational, the Mean Green failed to win a game on day two against the same teams, falling to Creighton University in extra innings and losing to Sam Houston State University.

Despite hanging around in both games late, the Mean Green (8-6) failed to execute down the stretch, something head coach Tracey Kee was not happy with.

I thought we played some very stupid softball today,” Kee said. “Not being disciplined in the box, not pitching well. Honest to god, the only positive today is that we were swiping bases.”

Creighton 5, North Texas 4 (8)

The Blue Jays (6-8) bounced back after North Texas throttled them Saturday, but it did take extra innings. With tournament tie-breaker rules putting a runner on second to begin the eighth, the Bluejays used a sac-bunt to get the runner to third and scored on a go-ahead double.

North Texas did the same by moving senior catcher Bryana Wade to third, but could drive her in, ending the ball game on a grounder back to the pitcher.

“We rolled up today with the mindset that we could compete with anybody without really showing up,” junior infielder Kelli Schkade said. “It was a wake-up call for us. We have to come and compete every day.”

Senior infielder Karly Williams (21) slides into home to score against Sam Houston State in the Mean Green Invitational. Dylan Nadwodny | Staff Photographer

Senior infielder Karly Williams (21) slides into home to score against Sam Houston State in the Mean Green Invitational. Dylan Nadwodny | Staff Photographer

The starting pitchers for both teams went the distance, each going 8.0 innings. Junior Jessica Elder got the nod for North Texas, posting a line of five runs on nine hits and striking out two on 94 pitches.

After Creighton opened the scoring in the second on a suicide-squeeze play, North Texas came right back in the bottom half of the second with two runs, all with two outs on the board. Freshman utility player Kay Kay Hater scored on a sac-fly and was followed up by Schkade, who tied the school record for longest hitting-streak with a RBI double to give North Texas the 2-1 lead.

The lead was short-lived, as Elder allowed her second home run of the weekend to make the score 3-2. But North Texas answered with two runs of their own in the fourth with a two-RBI double up the middle from freshman infielder Makenzi Dawson to regain the lead.

The back-and-forth affair continued as Creighton tied the game at four with a sac-fly. Elder was forced to face the meat of the Creighton lineup multiple times and managed to escape until the eighth, allowing Creighton to score the winning run.

Sam Houston State 5, North Texas 4

Sam Houston State (4-8) scored the winning run in the bottom of the fifth after a ball to center field was bobbled by freshman outfielder Bailey Thompson. The play was not counted as an error in the books, but the poor fielding led to the Bearkats win.

“I thought that scoreboard did not resemble the amount of errors and mistakes I saw from the dugout,” Kee said. “Just a bad day all the way around. I think every individual on that team should take responsibility for it.”

Junior pitcher Stacey Underwood struggled in her second start of the weekend, allowing four runs on eight hits. Freshman pitcher Lauren Craine was used in relief again and gave up one run for the third time in the tournament.

“I thought Underwood had an awful day mechanically,” Kee said. “She never got in a groove, but shame on me for not pulling her sooner and putting us in that situation. We just gave up too many hits today in both games. [I’m] highly disappointed in the entire staff.”

Elder inherited a bases-loaded situation from Craine, but only needed one pitch to get out of the inning, setting North Texas up for a rally. Overall, Elder pitched 8.1 innings on the day and 14.2 on the weekend, allowing 14 hits and striking out six.

“I had to come back in the bullpen and warm up right,” Elder said. “It’s not a matter of pressure, it’s a matter of focus and believing in myself and my teammates.”

North Texas got on the board in the top of the third via a passed ball that scored Thompson after a double-steal that moved her and Dawson into scoring position. Dawson stole three bases on the day.

The Mean green softball team breaks their huddle on the third base side after a half inning against Sam Houston State in the Mean Green Invitational. Dylan Nadwodny | Staff Photographer

The Mean green softball team breaks their huddle on the third base side after a half inning against Sam Houston State in the Mean Green Invitational. Dylan Nadwodny | Staff Photographer

Then, Dawson scored after senior infielder Karly Williams ripped a ball through the right side of the infield to make the score 2-0.

Schkade came to the plate in the top of the fourth and blasted a no-doubt home run to deep left-center field. It was her sixth home run of the season and extended her school-record hit streak to 14 games.

“Honestly, I didn’t even know there was a record,” Schkade said. “Stats and record don’t mean much to me, it’s about the team effort. We weren’t able to pull it out today. It sets us up for a hard week of practice.”

Sam Houston State answered in the bottom half of the fourth with a home run to cut the lead to two. Later, a pinch-hit RBI base hit brought the Bearkats to within one.

The Bearkats continued to add to the lead and entered the seventh up 5-3. North Texas was able to get a run back with a Dawson RBI double, but Wade was the final out, stranding the tying run at third.

North Texas will be back in action March 3 against McNeese State University, a game Kee hopes her team can bounce back in after Sunday’s losses.

“They truly need to learn from this,” Kee said. “We were lucky to be in both of these games today with the efforts we brought. We’ve been patient as coaches, we’ve been trying to bring this youth along, and three weekends in, you have to have your mess together.”

Featured Image: The North Texas softball team gathers around home plate as freshman utility player Harley Parella (3) touches the base after hitting a home run. Dylan Nadwodny | Staff Photographer

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