North Texas rolled to its 10th straight victory with an 8-1 win Saturday over Stephen F. Austin to remain unbeaten in the Texas Shootout.
The win clinched the No. 1 seed in today’s bracket, where the Mean Green will face Texas State, which UNT knocked off on Thursday.
“It was a solid game from us all the way around,” UNT coach Tracey Kee said. “As a coach you’re happy to get a leadoff home run to set the tone, and offensively I thought we came up with some clutch two-out hits to score some runs.”
Following the leadoff homer from senior Brooke Foster, UNT’s bats were quiet until junior Dani Hoff blasted a two-run homer over the right field wall to put the Mean Green in front.
“I was pretty upset with my first at-bat because I grounded out to the pitcher, so I just wanted to put the bat on the ball well,” Hoff said.
North Texas delivered nine hits, including back-to-back doubles by Taylor Schoblocher and Kat Strunk in the top of the fifth to seal the win.
“I think we swung the bats well in the cage in warm-ups, and [Ashley] Kirk gave us a lot of confidence with the way she pitched in her last outing,” Hoff said.
Senior ace Kirk notched her team-leading sixth win of the season, giving up two hits.
“Kirk settled in well,” Kee said. “The only disappointment I had was when we spotted them one run, but we answered it back with six.”
North Texas will play Texas State in the championship game at 11:30 this morning at Lovelace Stadium.
UNT 4, Kansas State 3
TULSA, Okla. — North Texas triumphed over No. 52 Kansas State.
“We had great determination,” UNT coach Sujay Lama said. “We had to dig in deep in singles after losing a very close doubles point. I am so proud of our ladies — they keep working hard together and staying focused.”
In doubles play, the Mean Green could not stop the Wildcats, who took the doubles point with 8-5 wins at the Nos. 1 and 2 spots.
In singles play, the match turned back in the Mean Green’s favor. Agustina Valenzuela defeated KSU’s Palma Juhas 6-1, 6-1, evening the score. It was Valenzuela’s third straight singles win.
After falling at the No. 1 spot, the Mean Green again evened the match with Kamilla Galieva’s 6-4, 6-3 victory over Iva Bago.
Down again, UNT stayed in the match with freshman Alexis Thoma’s 7-6 (3), 6-4 win at the No. 5 spot.
Anastasiya Shestakova secured the victory for the Mean Green at No. 2 singles with a 2-6, 7-5, 6-1 win over Maria Panaite.
“I was very hard on myself after losing the first set,” Shestakova said, “but when my teammates came to cheer me up I felt so much extra energy. That helped me to stay positive and win the match. It was an unbelievable feeling to finish that match and bring the win to my team.”
The Mean Green looks to stay undefeated at home when it hosts UTEP next Sunday.