EDMOND, Okla. — Nick Rodriguez and Andrew Hudson paced North Texas in the first round of the Conference USA tournament Sunday with top-15 performances, as the team sits in sixth place after an opening-day score of 296.
The Mean Green is going after its third straight conference title but will have to come from behind as it trails clubhouse leader Tulsa by eight strokes after the first round. Tulsa leads No. 16 UAB by two shots, while Charlotte is three shots back. Middle Tennessee and Rice are tied for fourth with a score of 293.
Oak Tree Country Club was unforgiving, as only two players broke par on the day. Rodriguez is tied for 10th place after posting a 2-over 72, while Hudson is one shot back at 73 and tied for 14th. Hudson had a strong finish with consecutive birdies on 17 and 18.
Juan Munoz (75) is tied for 28th, while Cory Churchman shot a 76. Jason Roets struggled for an 83.
Florida International 10, UNT 2
MIAMI — North Texas grabbed an early lead but couldn’t hold off Florida International, which completed a three-game Conference USA series sweep with a 10-2 win.
The Mean Green (28-19, 12-8 Conference USA) came out of the gates hot with a leadoff double by Brooke Foster. She advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Spencer Ferrell before scoring the game’s first run on a double by Dani Hoff.
In the second inning, Jackie Miller led off for North Texas with a walk. She advanced to second on a Jen Beardsley single and eventually scored on a wild pitch.
But the Panthers (30-19, 12-9) dug in on their senior day, scoring a combined seven runs in the third and fourth innings en route to the run-rule victory.
North Texas plays Baylor in Waco at 6 p.m. Tuesday.