March 24, 2018
Box Score (Game One)
Box Score (Game Two)
DENTON - The North Texas softball team swept Saturday's double-header with division rival Louisiana Tech to clinch its second-straight C-USA series win.
For the first time in the last 12 tries, North Texas was victorious against LA Tech with a 6-2 win over the Lady Techsters.
"There wasn't a person on this team that's beat them besides myself in my first year," Mean Green head coach Tracey Kee said. "That was a fire under our kids. They understood the sense of urgency. LA Tech's a good team. I thought our kids played exceptionally well."
The Mean Green (13-15) offense recorded multiple home runs for the 12th time this season and combined for 11 hits, the sixth game with double-digit hits on the year, against the reigning C-USA Pitcher of the Week. UNT's leadoff hitters reached in five out of a possible six innings, including two home runs.
"Our offense stepped up big," Kee said. "Our hitters were incredibly unselfish today and we capitalized on a couple errors."
Hope Trautwein (7-6) improved to 4-1 in Conference USA starts with three strikeouts and just two runs in six innings. Maria Priest came on in the final inning and pitched a perfect seventh to secure the win.
"Not everything was working today, but I was trying to make good enough pitches to let my defense work behind me," Trautwein said. "It was a team effort. When I was down, they picked me up."
After LA Tech (16-15) struck first with a RBI double down the left-field line by Bayli Simon, Hanna Rebar led off the bottom of the home half with a solo shot over the wall in left, her fifth leadoff home run of the season and ninth overall.
Harley Perella followed it up with another long ball from the leadoff spot in the top of the fifth and North Texas tacked on two more on a pair of run-scoring singles from Katie Clark and Lindsay Gregory. Clark and Gregory replicated their efforts in the sixth to provide some insurance runs.
"We've been doing a really good job of getting our leadoffs on and manufacturing runs," Gregory said. "It was just a matter of timely hitting.
North Texas held off a late LA Tech rally in a 4-3 game two victory as the Lady Techsters had the bases loaded with one out before Rhylie Makawe turned an unassisted double play to end the game.
"Rhylie is one of the hardest-playing players I've ever coached," Kee said. "As soon as I saw it in her glove, I knew she was going to make the dive to get us out of the inning. I couldn't have asked for a better way to end a game.
After Maria Priest walked the bases loaded with no outs, Trautwein took over on the mound and got out one before giving up a RBI single and walking another run in. Trautwein, who has repeatedly praised her defense this season, secured her first career save on Makawe's double play.
"It was amazing," freshman pitcher Hope Trautwein said. "I always knew they could make plays, but to see them execute was that much more special."
Entering the seventh, Priest (7-9) had held the Lady Techsters (16-16) to one run on six hits with no walks and still wound up earning the win.
"She worked her tail off in the bullpen this week to try and get her pitches in better spots," Kee said. "I thought she had great command and moved the ball around. She got in a little trouble in the seventh, but these pitchers aren't selfish. They'll give it off and see if someone can help them out."
The Mean Green (14-15) opened the scoring on a Katie Clark sacrifice fly in the second inning and doubled their lead in the following inning with a two-out RBI single off the bat of Harley Perella, the 42nd two-out RBI of the season for North Texas.
In the bottom of the fourth, the Mean Green put up a run for the third-straight inning as Clark drew a leadoff walk, advanced on a sac bunt from Lindsay Gregory and scored on Nicole Ochotnicki's single through the right side.
"Our kids understand we've got to get them on, get them over and get them in," Kee said.
LA Tech threatened for more than just one run in the top of the fifth after Clark corralled a double to center and assisted on a 8-4-2 putout to get the runner at home. The game was delayed briefly as a pair of Lady Techster fans had to be removed from the stadium, but Lacy Gregory silenced the LA Tech faithful in the home half of the fifth with a leadoff homerun to regain the three-run lead.
"I struggled in game one, so for me it was just about putting good swings on balls," Gregory said. "Today, it was just about continuing to throw punches. I wanted to get that run back.
"Once they punched that run on us, our goal was to get it back," Kee said. "Lacy's been struggling some. We moved her down a little bit. She's a great hitter and it was just a matter of time. This group just wouldn't be denied. There was so much fire and excitement.
North Texas wraps up the weekend series against LA Tech at 1 p.m. Sunday.
• The Mean Green recorded multiple home runs for the 12th time this season and are 8-4 in those games.
• North Texas' game one victory was just the team's fourth when opponents score first (4-10).
• Katie Clark went 4-for-4 in game one, which set a career-high and made her the 12th player in program history to record a four-hit performance.