Softball sweeps UTEP to open C-USA play
It took five games last season for North Texas to pick up its first Conference USA win last season.
This season though, the Mean Green started C-USA play undefeated at 2-0.
North Texas (13-9, 2-0) downed the University of Texas at El Paso 2-0 and 8-6 to start conference play. The Miners (5-17, 0-2) never led during the day.
Sophomore Harley Perella stood out with a 3-for-6 day with four RBIs. Freshman Hannah Rebar was the spark plug the Mean Green needed at the bottom of the line-up, going 2-for-4 on the day with a run scored.
Senior right hander Stacey Underwood continued her dominant season with a complete game in game one. Her ERA now sits at 2.59 on the season with 46 strike outs.
North Texas 2, UTEP 0
North Texas opened the day with a win behind Underwood’s success in the circle. She manned the circle with confidence to improve to 7-3 on the season.
Using just 70 pitches, she ran through the UTEP line-up going all the way, 7.0 innings, giving up no runs and allowing just five hits. The senior has already matched her win total from last season.
On the losing side was another senior righty in Erika Harrawood. Harrawood has struggled with just one win this season, but she pitched well against the Mean Green and allowed just two runs on six hits in 6.0 innings while striking out three.
But two runs was all the Mean Green needed, and both scored in the fifth inning. Senior infielder Kelli Schkade scored Rebar with a bloop single to right field to extend her hitting streak to 11 games and pick up her 13th RBI of the season.
Freshman infielder Lindsay Gregory followed up Schkade with rope single into right center that pushed Schkade across the plate to make it 2-0. Gregory also is riding a double-digit hitting streak at 10 games.
The Miners went quietly until they were down to their final out in the seventh. But with runners on first and second, Underwood got a strikeout to end the ballgame.
North Texas 8, UTEP 6
North Texas opened the scoring almost immediately when sophomore first basemen Rhylie Makawe gently lifted a hit into left field to score a run and punch home her fifth RBI of the season.
Lindsay kept her hitting streak alive, extending it to 11 games. Schkade followed suite, extending her own hit streak to 12 games. Freshman Lacy Gregory got the Mean Green on the board again in the second with a RBI base knock, her 10th of the season, and then Perella followed up with a two-run bomb to left.
It was Perella’s fourth home run of the year to give the Mean Green a 6-0 lead at the end of two after a five run inning.
Sophomore infielder Cortney Smith got the first run of the day for UTEP with a RBI single to left to make it 6-1 in the fourth. But the Mean Green answered back with a Perella sac-fly making it 7-1 at the end of four.
Sophomore righty Lauren Craine got the start and pitched well until the sixth. Craine was faced with her first big challenge of the day with two runners on and no outs, and allowed a two-RBI single before head coach Tracey Kee made the call to the bullpen for Underwood.
Craine’s day was done after 5.2 innings, as she allowed four runs on eight hits. Underwood came in to allow an RBI single, and then a two-run shot to junior infielder Courntey Clayton to make it a one run ballgame at 7-6 in favor of the Mean Green. It was Clayton’s second of the season.
But Perella pushed across yet another RBI, and it was an important one, giving the Mean Green some breathing room in the sixth as the scoreline sat at 8-6.
That score held as the final.
- Next up: North Texas rounds out the three-game series with the Miners at 1 p.m.
Featured Image: At the Saturday noon softball game versus UTEP, UNT Senior Kelli Schkade hits the ball and makes a run to first base. Katie Jenkins
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