A late start for North Texas (19-5, 2-1 Conference USA) offensively did not stop the Mean Green from later pushing across 11 runs between innings four through seven against Incarnate Word (8-16, 0-3 Southland). The momentum and energy shifted to the Mean Green dugout after falling behind 4-0 in the second inning.
“We had one bad inning and we adjusted in the middle of the game then poured it on late,” head coach Rodney DeLong said. “Can’t be mad about how we responded to playing bad on the first few innings.”
North Texas played their fourth game in San Antonio in four days after winning the three-game series over Texas-San Antonio to begin C-USA play. Their opposition in the final game of the road trip was Incarnate Word, who had come off being swept in three games against Central Arkansas (16-9, 3-0 Southland).
Sophomore pitcher Bailey Tindell took the circle against the Cardinals where her last appearance came in relief throwing 1.1 innings, allowing three earned runs and six hits against Texas-San Antonio in game two of the series.
The Cardinals plated home four runs in their bottom half of the second inning on three hits and cashing in on North Texas’ defensive mistakes. Incarnate Word reached the board on a fielder’s choice, and with two outs three runners scored on an RBI single where the other two came home on a Mean Green error on the play.
Tindell kept Incarnate Word scoreless the entirety of the game after the Cardinals put four runs up in the bottom of the second inning. She allowed three hits and pitched 4.2 shutout innings the rest of the day.
Unable to put up runs in the first three innings, North Texas’ hit back to back home runs in the top of the fourth off sophomore Tayla Evans’ and senior outfielder Hanna Rebar’s bats.
With Hilton reaching on a single in the top of the fifth, junior utility player Kourtney Williams hit her third home run of the season on a two-run shot to tie the game up at 4-4.
Seven of nine recorded outs by the Mean Green defense between innings three and five came on ground balls induced by Tindell keeping the Cardinals off-balance.
North Texas took back the lead in their top half of the sixth inning by senior outfielder Katie Clark scoring on an error by Incarnate Word in a 5-4 contest.
Six runs came across the plate for the Mean Green in their final offensive frame on five hits and two Cardinal errors. Hilton hit a solo home run to give North Texas a 6-4 lead to lead off the top of the seventh inning.
Senior infielder Lacy Gregory brought home a pair on a two-RBI double to left-field. Clark drove in Gregory on an RBI single, senior outfielder Camille Grahmann added with an RBI single to bring home Clark, and Hilton scored on a wild pitch to expand to an 11-4 lead.
Incarnate Word in the bottom of the seventh inning went down on a popup to Evans at first base to close the game.
Tindell in her complete-game performance advanced to 6-3 on the season where she went all seven innings, allowing two earned runs on six hits and one walk while striking out two in the win.
Offensively, North Texas put together their 11 runs on 13 hits, including four home runs by Evans, Rebar, Hilton and Williams.
UP NEXT: North Texas will play its first home C-USA series against Western Kentucky (20-4, 3-0 C-USA) over the weekend of March 13. The Lady Toppers currently leads the C-USA East division.
Featured Image: Senior Lacy Gregory makes a play for the Mean Green against Abilene Christian University on Feb. 15, 2020. Image Zachary Thomas