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Courtesy: Jeff Huehn/UTSA Athletics

UTSA splits doubleheader at North Texas on Saturday

Courtesy: UTSA Athletics
Release: 03/15/2014
Courtesy UTSA Athletics
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DENTON — UTSA bounced back from a 3-0 setback in game one with a 10-6 victory against fellow Conference USA leader North Texas to earn a split of Saturday’s doubleheader at Lovelace Stadium.

The Roadrunners (12-16, 4-1 C-USA) snapped a four-game losing streak with their win in the second game of the day. Meanwhile, the Mean Green (18-8, 4-1 C-USA) also suffered its first C-USA loss of the season.

UTSA will look to take the series when the teams meet in the rubber match at 1 p.m. on Sunday.

Game 1: North Texas 3, UTSA 0
Ashley Kirk tossed a one-hitter and recorded 11 strikeouts as North Texas took game one of the doubleheader by a score of 3-0 on Saturday morning.

Kirk allowed six walks, but had a no-hitter going until Jolene Graham’s one-out single to left in the seventh inning as she improved to 12-3 on the campaign. Shelbie Smith provided the offense for the Mean Green by going 2-for-3 with a home run and two RBIs.

Meanwhile, Nicole Merrill took the loss for the Roadrunners by allowing three runs on eight hits with five walks and nine strikeouts. The freshman fell to 4-6 on the season, while UTSA dropped its fourth straight and saw its three-game Conference USA winning streak come to an end.

North Texas jumped ahead early thanks to a leadoff walk and stolen base by Danielle Hoff. Following a strikeout and another free pass to Jordan Terry, Taylor Schoblocher plated Hoff with a single to right-center.

The Mean Green added two more in the fourth on Smith’s two-run shot to left to push the lead to 3-0.

UTSA had a chance in the fifth with a pair of runners on base, but Kirk got a two of pop ups to escape the inning. The Roadrunners got the tying run to the plate in the seventh on a walk to Courtney Buchman and Graham’s hit, but Kirk closed out the win with another fly ball out.

Game 2: UTSA 10, North Texas 6
UTSA plated three runs in the third and five runs in the fifth to rally from an early deficit and top North Texas 10-6 on Saturday afternoon to earn a split of the doubleheader.

Siera Sproul went 2-for-4 with a pair of home runs and four RBIs, while Madison Kinley also collected a pair of hits and homered for the Roadrunners, who snapped a four-game losing streak. Kacy Freeze improved to 7-6 on the season after allowing five earned runs on seven hits with two walks and nine strikeouts.

Meanwhile, Kat Strunk also homered twice and recorded four RBIs for the Mean Green, who suffered their first Conference USA loss of the season. In the circle, Poole took the loss and fell to 3-2 after giving up four runs on five hits in just 2.1 innings.

Randee Crawford’s RBI single to left plated Megan Low in the first to give UTSA its first run and lead of the series, but Strunk’s three-run homer in the bottom of the panel pushed North Texas to a 3-1 advantage.

An inning later, the Roadrunners drew closer on a bases-loaded walk to Jori Fox, but could not come up with the equalizer in the frame.

However, UTSA would break through and take the lead for good with three runs in the third, highlighted by round-trippers from Sproul and Kinley. A walk to Graham preceded Sproul’s fifth blast of the season, while Kinley took the first pitch that she saw out of the park for her second blast of the spring.

Strunk tried to keep North Texas in the game with a solo homer in the fourth that cut the UTSA lead to 5-4, but the Roadrunners responded with a five-spot in the fifth to put the game out of reach.

Tess Soefje started the scoring spree with a walk and was lifted for pinch runner Cosette Hernandez, who was able to trot home following Sproul’s second homer of the contest. Courtney Buchman and Kinley kept the offense rolling with back-to-back hits and Low extended the lead to 8-4 with an RBI double to left-center.

A Mean Green miscue on a ball put in play by Crawford allowed two more runs to score for a 10-4 cushion.

That proved to be plenty for Freeze, who allowed a run in the sixth and seventh but closed out the victory.

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