A seven-run first inning, including six hits for the North Texas hitters, kept the Mean Green on a five-game winning streak with the 10-1 mercy-rule win over Texas-Arlington. The Mean Green have outscored their opponents 34-4 in the five-game span, allowing one run or less in each game.
“I like how we came out in the first inning,” head coach Rodney DeLong said. “I’ve been saying that we’re getting close to being a good hitting team and you kind of saw signs of it tonight. We were locked in at the plate and hit a ton of balls really hard.”
Junior pitcher Hope Trautwein got the start for North Texas in Tuesday night’s matchup with her last start coming over the weekend in which she pitched a complete game shutout while striking out 21 Texas A&M Corpus Christi hitters. She also earned a win coming in relief against the Islanders the next day in a 7-1 victory.
The first eight Mean Green hitters in the bottom of the first inning reached on base, where RBI single contributions came from Tayla Evans, Saleen Donohoe, Kourtney Williams, Nicole Ochotnicki and Tarah Hilton. Texas-Arlington’s starting pitcher JoJo Valencia was pulled in the inning without recording an out, allowing five hits and three walks to the eight batters faced.
“We had a good approach going to the plate tonight and had a good mindset of attacking,” Ochotnicki said. “We took really good swings on the ball, and we really wanted to utilize this game to prepare us for the big weekend we have coming up in Norman.”
Offensively the Mavericks mustered two baserunners off Trautwein through the first two innings facing one batter over the minimum.
After a one-out Donohoe walk and Williams single in the bottom of the second, Ochotnicki drove both in on a triple to right field making it a 9-0 game. Senior outfielder Katie Clark singled home Ochotnicki with two outs to give North Texas a 10-0 advantage.
Texas-Arlington was held scoreless through their first three innings, despite having two runners in scoring position in the top of the third inning with one out. Trautwein stranded both Maverick runners on a strikeout and groundout to Donohoe at third base to keep Texas-Arlington off the board.
The Mavericks scored in the top of the fourth inning from an RBI single by Avery Grimes. North Texas sealed the game on a strikeout in the following top of the fifth inning to Maverick’s hitter Reagan Wright to win via the mercy rule, giving Trautwein her seventh win on the year with the complete-game performance.
In her five innings of work, Trautwein allowed six hits and three walks on five strikeouts. Ochotnicki led North Texas offensively on the night going 2/3 with a triple and three RBI’s. Clark, Donohoe, Evans, Hilton and Williams each had a hit and at least one RBI in the win.
“There’s a couple good teams up there,” DeLong said. “We got into this tournament for the fact that we get to play some great competition in a great atmosphere. Win or lose, we want to go up there and play hard and see what happens.”
UP NEXT: North Texas travels to Norman, Oklahoma, on the weekend of Feb. 28 to play in a No. 5 Oklahoma (11-3) hosted tournament facing Northwestern (5-9) and Abilene Christian (7-9) as well.
Featured Image: Infielder sophomore Tayla Evans prepares to throw the ball to first base against Texas-Arlington on Feb. 25, 2020. Image by Zachary Thomas