April 4, 2018
DENTON - The North Texas softball team hit a speed bump Wednesday, falling 4-3 to Sam Houston State on Wednesday evening at Lovelace Stadium. The Mean Green offense woke up in the final two innings, but could not come back from a 4-0 deficit.
"It's obvious we came out incredibly flat and Sam Houston took advantage of it," North Texas head coach Tracey Kee said. "We basically played a two-inning game when we decided to bear down and compete. We can't do that. That's not our style."
Annie Bailey (2-4) earned the win after giving up just two runs on four hits with two strikeouts over five innings. Maria Priest (8-11) suffered the loss despite tossing her fifth complete game, allowing two earned runs on seven hits.
Priest no-hit the Bearkats through the first three innings, retiring the first eight batters in order before issuing a walk to to Karlee Canada with two outs in the third.
"Maria's a competitor," Kee said. "She was disappointed with her last performance at FAU. She came out and bore down and that's why I gave her the ball. We need her throwing well and I had the utmost confidence, regardless of her last outing. I'm always willing to give the ball right back to you."
After the teams were scoreless through the first three innings, Sam Houston capitalized on a pair of North Texas errors with three runs in the top of the fourth.
"Maria did what she needed to do to put us in a position to win," Kee said. "She didn't get down on herself when things started to fall apart defensively and she just kept competing. The pitches she made in the back-half were just as good as the front-half."
The Mean Green got on the board in the bottom of the sixth after Camille Grahmann and Katie Clark reached on an error and a walk and scored on Lindsay Gregory's single down the left-field line that chased Bailey out of the game.
"We started having better at-bats and I saw a good pitch and put it down the line," Gregory said. "I feel like that sparked the offense a little bit, but it was too little too late."
Sam Rea began the final half inning with her eighth home run of the season, a solo shot to dead center to cut the deficit to just one run. North Texas worked the bases loaded with two outs for Lacy Gregory, who flied out to right field to end the game.
"It's hard to give credit for the late push when you know you're capable of doing it in the middle innings," Kee said. "This team doesn't roll over, but sometimes we show up too late. As a pitching staff, that's something we have to figure out and fix real quick."
North Texas returns to the road for a three-game series with Mississippi Valley State beginning with a double-header Saturday at 1 and 3 p.m.
The Mean Green fall to 1-5 in mid-week games this season.
Lindsay Gregory tied a season high with a pair of hits in the loss.
Katie Clark extended her hit streak to six games and is hitting .381 (8-21) in the streak.