Reece Waddell / Staff Writer
The Mean Green softball team kicked off the Baylor Invitational with on a high note with a 3-2 win over Abilene Christian University 3-2, and a 1-0 upset win over No. 7 Baylor University.
Abilene Christian University
North Texas (5-7) defeated Abilene Christian (3-5) by a final score of 3-2 on Friday morning. Sophomore Stacy Underwood pitched her first complete game in a Mean Green uniform. Through seven innings, she gave up two runs on three hits, no errors and three walks to go with two strikeouts.
“It felt awesome being able to go out and set the tone early,” Underwood said “I worked really hard in the bullpen this past week to just get better at the little things.”
North Texas got the scoring started in the top half of the fourth inning with a sacrifice fly by senior first baseman Dani Hoff. ACU quickly responded in the bottom half of the inning when freshman shortstop Payton Hedrick scored on a wild pitch. After a scoreless fifth inning, the Mean Green reclaimed the lead for good on the back of a solo homerun to left field by sophomore shortstop Kelli Schkade.
“I knew I had to get deep in the count with their pitcher,” Schkade said. “I wasn’t really going into the at bat looking for anything. I just saw the ball and hit it pretty well.”
North Texas would score once more in the top of the seventh on an RBI single by freshman utility player Sarah Barker. Underwood gave up her only earned run of the day in the bottom of the seventh on a solo homerun to center. She would eventually retired the side and sent the Mean Green to a victory in its first game of the tournament.
North Texas stunned the No. 7 Baylor Bears (9-2) by a final score of 1-0 on Friday afternoon. Senior pitcher Madison Thompson threw a complete game gem for the Mean Green. Despite giving up seven hits, Thompson gave up no runs and never allowed a Bear to cross the plate.
“I give a lot of credit to my defense,” Thompson said. “Without them, this win just isn’t possible. Karly Williams made a ton of key plays at second.”
With no outs in the bottom of the seventh, Thompson surrendered a walk and a single that put runners on first and second for Baylor. She quickly got down 3-0 in the count to the next batter, but forced a groundout to second that junior second baseman Karly Williams turned into a key double play.
“As soon as I threw it, I saw that she rolled over on it,” Thompson said. “I was just thinking ‘please field that ball, Karly.’”
Junior catcher Bryana Wade drove in the only run of the game on an RBI double in the second inning.
“I got the girl deep in the count and just stayed patient.” Wade said. “I like them low and outside and that’s where she threw it.”
This is North Texas’ first win over a nationally ranked opponent since beating the University of Tulsa in last year’s Conference USA tournament. Head coach Tracey Kee declined comment after the game, but Underwood said Kee was thrilled.
“I don’t think Coach Kee stopped smiling.” Underwood said. “She was just happy for us. She knew we could play this way and beat an elite opponent.”
After allowing an average of 7.9 runs per game through their first 10, the Mean Green really buckled down defensively in the first two games of Baylor Invitational, allowing just four runs through Friday’s two games. Thompson said it was a great feeling coming off the field knowing she just shutout a national powerhouse.
“Walking off the field? I mean, it was kind of surreal. Just high fiving and hugging everyone. It was an awesome experience.” Thompson said.
The Mean Green continue tournament play Saturday with another doubleheader. Game one is at 9:35 a.m. against the No. 2 University Oregon and game two is at 11:45 a.m. against No. 25 Tulsa.