March 14, 2018
Box Score (Game One)
Box Score (Game Two)
DENTON - After dropping the first game of Wednesday's doubleheader with Iowa State, the North Texas softball team snapped a five-game losing streak in game two to split the day.
North Texas allowed seven unanswered runs in a 7-3 loss in game one. Sam Rea was responsible for two of the Mean Green's three runs with a second-inning long ball to give her team a 3-1 lead.
Emma Hylen (5-4) earned the win, giving up three runs on six hits with four strikeouts in her six innings of work. Hope Trautwein (4-5) suffered the loss after giving up seven runs on 12 hits in 6 2/3 innings pitched.
North Texas (9-13) jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second inning, beginning with a first-pitch double down the right-field line from Lacy Gregory. The Mean Green's leadoff hitters reached four times in seven innings.
"We know how important that is," North Texas head coach Tracey Kee said. "It's always a goal of ours. Whenever you get your leadoffs on, you're able to manufacture runs."
After Rhylie Makawe laid down a textbook bunt past the pitcher that allowed Gregory to score, Sam Rea stepped up and blasted her second home run in as many days over the wall in right-center. Through the team's four mid-week contests, Rea hit .555 with two home runs and four RBI.
"I feel a whole lot better," Rea said. "I feel like I'm seeing the ball better and my confidence is back. I'm just in there swinging at as many strikes as I can."
Iowa State (15-12) got one back in the top of the third on an RBI triple from Sydney Stites to trim the lead to two. The Cyclones threatened in the top of the fifth, loading the bases with two outs on a Kaylee Bosworth infield single, but Lindsay Gregory made a basket catch on the run to strand the runners.
In the top of the sixth, ISU's Sami Williams sent a full-count pitch over the wall in dead center to flip the game on its head and give the Cyclones a 4-3 lead. Iowa State added some insurance in the top of the seventh with a pair of two-out RBI singles. Another run came home on a wild pitch by Hanna Rebar, who made her second relief appearance out of right field.
North Texas out-slugged Iowa State in the second game of the day by a score of 9-6. The Mean Green hit three home runs in a six-run fourth inning to tie the school record for home runs in an inning.
"I think we all just felt good in the box," Rea said. "The pitches were a little bit quicker, which was nice. The home runs get the team super excited and get everyone in the game."
"I was proud of this team today," Kee said. "It's hard to stop a losing skid. It takes a lot of effort. I felt this group came out today and truly competed a lot harder than they had been."
Maria Priest (6-8) went the distance for the fourth time this season, allowing four earned runs on eight hits. Brianna Weilbacher (7-3) suffered the loss after giving up five runs on six hits, including two of the fourth-inning long balls. Weilbacher had only allowed one home run in 63 2/3 innings entering the game.
"This offense has been doing great things," Kee said. "When you look at it, they've hit all types of pitching. Slow pitching. Fast pitching. Spinners. Power pitchers. I felt they did good on their second look since a couple of them saw her in the first game."
North Texas (10-13) once again struck first against Iowa State (15-13) by way of a two-out RBI single from Nicole Ochotnicki in the first inning. The Cyclones took the lead in the top of the third, scoring a pair of runs after back-to-back errors by Harley Perella and a hit-by-pitch with the bases loaded.
"Maria had a lot of good movement today and our defense had a lot of opportunities that they didn't take advantage of," Kee said. "Credit to Maria because a lot of pitchers would've rolled over when the defense is falling behind. In her case, she just kept battling and going after it."
The Mean Green retook the lead in the home half of the third, beginning with a RBI double from Nicole Ochotnicki, who scored three batters later on a Rea single. The lead shifted back to ISU in the top of the fourth on a pair of run-scoring doubles, but North Texas erupted for six runs on home runs from Lacy Gregory, Rebar and Makawe in the bottom of the frame.
"The team as a whole has been struggling offensively, so it was nice to get a few hits together and back up Maria," Lacy Gregory said. "Everyone laid it all out there today. That's how we play. That's our game and how we need to play every game."
After the teams combined for 13 runs over two innings, Priest surrendered just one run on three hits over the final three innings and retired six in a row to close out the game.
"After my team got us back on top, it allowed me to settle in, take a deep breath and say `two more zeros.'" Priest said. "I just told myself to dig in and work out-to-out."
North Texas hits the road for their first road Conference USA series against UT San Antonio on p>
The Mean Green tied the school record for home runs in an inning with three in the fourth inning of game two.
The win in game two marked the ninth multi-home run game of the season for North Texas.
With her fourth-inning home run, Makawe reached 100 total bases for her career.