The last two weekends provided North Texas with a sneak peek at what the Sun Belt Conference season might be like, at least in terms of repetition.
The Mean Green played back-to-back tournaments at Texas State, playing the host team three times and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi twice.
UNT won all five games — a run it hopes to build on this weekend as it opens Sun
Belt play against Florida International. The Mean Green (11-10) will host FIU (15-10) for an 11 a.m. doubleheader today before concluding the series with a noon game Sunday.
“The [last] tournament gave us a boost,” UNT pitcher Ashley Kirk said. “Four of the five teams we played in the tournament we played the weekend before. It was a lot like a conference series.”
UNT won four of the five games it played last weekend and has taken seven of its last 10. UNT’s only losses in that span came against Baylor and Purdue.
UNT coach T.J. Hubbard said the tournaments put the Mean Green in good position for league play.
Kirk was named Sun Belt Pitcher of the Week after winning two games and posting a 0.64 ERA in 11 innings at the CenturyLink Classic. Jordan Terry hit .438 with two home runs and was named the league’s Player of the Week.
“We have played well in all three areas,” Terry said of offense, defense and pitching. “Hopefully we can keep it up.”
UNT is hoping to get off to a good start and keep pace with Louisiana-Lafayette and South Alabama, which are expected to be among the top teams in the league.
Hubbard and his players say they can be at the top of the league as well after a challenging series against the Golden Panthers.
“FIU is always competitive,” Hubbard said. “You can’t base a lot off their record because they play a grueling schedule. All the Midwest teams come down to Miami to play. They will be tough. If we keep playing like we did last weekend, no one will be overpowering.”
BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.