Softball struggles at the plate in shutout loss to Texas

Softball struggles at the plate in shutout loss to Texas

Softball struggles at the plate in shutout loss to Texas
April 26
23:00 2017

Sitting between its final two Conference USA series, North Texas faced the University of Texas Wednesday night on the road. Despite using all three of their pitchers, the Mean Green (24-24) struggled both on the mound and at the plate in a 6-0 loss to the Longhorns (26-20).

A dropped outfield fly ball on an attempted sliding grab, a ball that rolled past another outfielder and an errant throw with a Texas runner in a pickle all led to runs for the Longhorns.

The concern for North Texas head coach Tracey Kee was the body language and the overall energy with the team after the initial punch from Texas.

“I was disappointed honestly,” Kee said. “I felt once they scored those first two runs we kind of got back on our heals. We got very undisciplined at the plate meaning just chasing balls and not hitting the best pitches.”

Despite fouling off a fair amount of pitches and forcing a few lengthy at-bats, North Texas totaled just four hits and left seven runners on base.

Senior infielder Kelli Schkade was the only player with multiple hits as she went 2-for-4 on the night, but even she admitted it was a struggle for their offense tonight.

“I don’t think we had a plan going into our at-bats,” Schkade said. “I think we were guessing a lot and that led t0 the [high] amount of foul balls and strikeouts we had.”

Three batters wearing the gray and green uniforms walked to first base, marking a total of seven base runners in the loss. The Mean Green average more than two steals per game but managed just one on Wednesday.

Runs were hard to come by because their small ball game was not executed to the level they wanted.

“[We were] just not executing and not moving runners over,” Schkade said. “[We didn’t] have that clutch hit and couldn’t string hits together.”

At this point in the season, both squads are preparing for their final conference games and the upcoming conference tournament. That fact, however, did not diminish the approach by the coaches or the players in wanting to win this game, while still learning from it.

“The approach from us was to do something that we can’t simulate in practice,” Kee said. “Getting our hitters live looks and seeing the types of pitches we’re going to see this weekend.”

Senior pitcher Stacey Underwood only allowed one hit in the first two innings before walking three batters on close calls. Underwood did have a positive showing by her coaches expectations as she showed command of the plate and hit her spots, even if she was not rewarded with strikes.

“I thought we were dealing with a very difficult strike zone, but you’re not expecting to get those pitches on the road” Kee said. “I thought Stacey made some great pitches today, so I think she’s moving in the right direction.”

With the loss, North Texas falls to 4-16 in true road games on the season.

The Mean Green head into their final Conference USA series in Ruston, Louisiana focused on getting wins after falling in their final tune-up in Texas.

This game did, however, offer the team some practice for what they will see this weekend against Louisiana Tech.

“The [Texas] pitchers are very similar to LA Tech” Schkade said. “We’re going to see a lot of [the same pitches] this weekend. [We need to] keep runners off the base paths and have better at bats and we’ll be more successful.”

Next up: North Texas enters a three-game road series with Louisiana Tech University on Saturday and Sunday.

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Brady Keane

Brady Keane

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