All three North Texas seniors in the batting order recorded at least one hit on Sunday to lead the way for the Mean Green on senior day.
For the second time in two days, a Kat Strunk walk-off RBI hit provided the final difference in a run-rule victory, this time 14-6 against the UTEP Miners in six innings.
It took only one pitch in the bottom of the first for North Texas to take the lead via a leadoff home run from Strunk, and the Mean Green never looked back from there. In a nine-run, six-hit first frame that saw North Texas bat all the way around the order, Strunk launched a homer to nearly the exact same spot in left field in her second at bat, this time for a grand slam. Junior Taylor Schoblocher blasted one of her own, just two pitches later.
After struggling through the top of the second and allowing five runs on five hits in 1 2/3 innings pitched, freshman Monique Garcia gave way to sophomore Kenzie Grimes. In relief for the second straight day, Grimes tossed an effective outing en route to the win, her only blemish being a two-run home run in the second inning.
After the early fireworks, the game then went scoreless for four full innings before the Mean Green finally struck again in the bottom of the sixth. After Schoblocher led off with her second homer of the game, four more hits and two Miner errors allowed North Texas to run away with it. A Jen Beardsley RBI single, followed by a Strunk two RBI single right up the middle, gave the Mean Green its fifth run-rule victory of the season.
North Texas had a milestone day on Sunday, tying a team record for home runs in an inning as well as in a single game. Strunk’s seven RBI performance broke the North Texas individual game RBI record, which Strunk was previously tied with eleven others for with five RBIs.
After securing its postseason fate with a three-game sweep of UTEP this weekend, North Texas has earned the right to turn its eyes towards the Conference USA Championship tournament hosted by FIU in Miami, Florida. Thanks to an upset by FIU against Charlotte in its weekend series combined with the North Texas sweep, the Mean Green will enter the field as the No. 7 seed and will face No. 2 seed FAU on Thursday at 3 p.m.
North Texas outscored UTEP 35-13 in three games during the weekend series. The Mean Green previously had scored 34 total runs across the past eleven games dating back to a midweek matchup with No. 23 Texas A&M on April 8.
The Mean Green is now 8-1 in the all-time series with the Miners. After sweeping in each of the past two season series in El Paso and Denton, North Texas has now won six in a row against UTEP.
Senior Kat Strunk’s leadoff home run on the first pitch of the ball game on Sunday provided the second time this season that North Texas has led off the game with a home run. Kelli Schkade achieved the feat on March 14 against Southern Miss in Denton. Previously, the last time North Texas recorded the accomplishment was on March 30, 2014, when Brooke Foster led off a game against UTEP with a blast.
With her 16th and 17th home runs of the season on Sunday, junior outfielder Taylor Schoblocher moves into sole possession of second on the North Texas single-season home runs list, just one behind the record set in 2006 by Susan Waters. With just one more guaranteed game left this season, plus her full senior season left ahead, Schoblocher has a chance to make a run at the all-time career record with 33 total blasts so far, needing just four more to move into second and 17 more to break the record.