Softball shutout by defending national champion Oklahoma
North Texas was scheduled to face off against defending champion No. 8 Oklahoma University in Denton, but heavy rain in the area forced the game north to Norman.
It was on their home field where the Sooners (39-7) downed the Mean Green (22-21) 8-0 in a mid-week match-up. North Texas now falls to 0-3 against the state of Oklahoma after falling to Oklahoma State University and OU.
“All of this was vital,” head coach Tracey Kee said. “We weren’t going to get to practice and we got our pitchers out there. I think anytime when you’re playing the defending national champion you have nothing to lose.”
Senior right handed pitcher Stacey Underwood got the start, but was hit hard for four runs in 2.0 innings of work. She was replaced by fellow senior Jessica Elder who worked 2.0 innings as well and surrendered just two runs.
All three pitchers manned the circle for North Texas after sophomore Lauren Craine worked 1.1 innings to end the ballgame allowing two runs on four hits. The midweek work in the circle is key for the three pitchers, according to Elder.
“Every inning counts,” Elder said. “The more you get, it pushes you forward and makes you better for the next game. We come out and try our best to win every game.”
North Texas never had many ducks on the pond for hitters to bring home, and the Mean Green hitters could only notch two hits. The Sooners, meanwhile, finished with 12 hits in the win.
Senior infielder Kelli Schkade says the offensive struggles are all part of the game.
“We go through little slumps,” Schkade said. “It will just take time and we’ll work out of it. We will be patient and work over it.”
The first run came in the first inning for the Sooners with a sac-fly to right field that scored one. The Sooners added three more in the second with a RBI single and then the lone long ball of the night from sophomore Caleigh Clifton, who hit a two-run bomb off of Underwood to make it 4-0.
Oklahoma added two more in the fourth before a run in the fifth made it 7-0. The Sooners pushed one final run across with a single to left field to reach the 8-0 final.
Next up: The Mean Green play hosts to Florida Atlantic University, which is near the top of the conference. First pitch for the doubleheader Saturday is at 1 p.m.
“We’re going to have to play incredibly well,” Kee said. “They are a phenomenal team with great hitters.”
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