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UNT falls 7-2 to tourney host UNCW

WILMINGTON, North Carolina — One bad inning doomed the North Texas softball team Sunday as the Mean Green fell 7-2 to North Carolina-Wilmington on the final day of the Hampton Inn and Suites University Area Seahawk Softball Classic at Boseman Field.

UNT (7-7) finished the weekend 3-2, with both of its losses dealt by the Seahawks.

“Right now, it’s our inconsistencies, whether it be offensively, on the mound or on defense, that are causing us to lose these games,” head coach Tracey Kee said. “We just don’t have the day-in and day-out consistent energy, and when you don’t have that, it’s tough to win games.”

UNCW (7-2) overcame a 2-1 deficit in the fourth inning, plating six runs on six hits, leading to a five-run cushion. Anna Hessenthaler led off the inning with a double to center and Hannah Runge plated the pinch runner, Tracey Haynes, to tie the game at 2. Five more runs crossed the plate in the inning, giving UNCW its first lead of the game and a 7-2 advantage.

Sophomore Lauren Craine (2-1) took the loss, facing 17 batters across three innings, allowing five runs — three earned — with three strikeouts. Senior Stacey Underwood finished the game in the circle.

The Seahawks’ Sarah Davis moved to 3-0 behind a complete-game performance, allowing two runs — one earned — on eight hits, while tallying seven strikeouts.

UNT broke through first, using three infield singles to push two runs across, taking a 2-0 lead in the opening frame. Senior Kelli Schkade and sophomore Bailey Thompson led off with back-to-back singles, and later scored on sophomore Rhylie Makawe’s RBI single to third.

UNCW responded in its first at-bat, cutting the Mean Green lead to one on Merritt Wilkinson’s RBI double to right center.

The Mean Green loaded the bases with one out in the second, but UNCW’s Sarah Davis got Thompson to ground into a fielder’s choice and Lacy Gregory to fly out to center to end the threat, stranding three runners.

In the third, Craine worked around a two-out hit batter and a walk, getting Ashley Best swinging to end the inning and maintain the Mean Green lead.

UNT put runners in scoring position in the fifth and sixth innings, but came up empty in both.

Up next: The Mean Green will return to Lovelace Stadium for a Wednesday doubleheader against Saint Francis (Pennsylvania). First pitch is slated for 3 p.m.