March 28, 2018
DENTON - Fighting the conditions on a drizzly Wednesday evening, the North Texas softball team won its fourth straight game with a 7-0 victory over Texas Southern at Lovelace Stadium.
"We needed to get out there, despite the conditions, and put it all together," Mean Green head coach Tracey Kee said. "The mid-week games are what you use to see live pitching. Hopefully this one game will help."
Hope Trautwein (8-6) earned the win with four scoreless innings of work and seven strikeouts. After giving up a one-out single in the first, Trautwein set down the next six Lady Tigers on strikes.
"I just really wanted to attack the zone today," Trautwein said. "I was confident and just wanted to keep it going and keep working."
North Texas jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the opening frame, drawing a pair of bases-loaded walks and tacking on two more on the Texas Southern shortstop's second error of the inning. The Mean Green extended their lead to 5-0 in the following inning on Katie Clark's leadoff home run.
"You want to get on the board as fast as you can," Kee said. "They gave us a couple errors that we took advantage of, but it's about creating your own breaks. That's something we hadn't done in a while. You had kids taking walks with the bases loaded instead of being selfish hitters."
"I was just trying to get my swings in today," Clark said. "I was looking for something hittable."
In the fourth inning, Miranda Holguin came off the bench and in her first at-bat, singled in Camille Grahmann to go ahead 7-0. It marks the first career hit for Holguin, a freshman with 10 at-bats on the year.
"It felt good," Holguin said. "I knew I had to come in and take advantage of my opportunity. I finally got it over with, so I feel like I have a lot more confidence. If I got the ball in play on the ground, she could get in."
"The kid can ball," Kee said. "She straight-up has some of the best hands. She's getting more aggressive at the plate."
Maria Priest, the reigning Conference USA Pitcher of the Week, took over for Trautwein to begin the fifth and allowed just one hit in the final three innings with two strikeouts to pick up her second career save.
"Considering they didn't get any work in the bullpen yesterday, I felt both pitchers had pretty good command," Kee said. "Texas Southern's a great hitting team and our group did a good job of getting some easy ground balls and silencing their bats.
North Texas heads to the Sunshine State for a three-game series with Florida Atlantic, beginning with a doubleheader at 3 & 5 p.m. Friday.
• Katie Clark's second-inning home run was the 16th lead-off home run for the Mean Green.
• North Texas has homered in four straight games and nine of the last 10.
• Lacy Gregory was hit by a pitch for the first time since April 30, 2017.