DENTON, Texas - The Texas Shootout lived up to its billing on opening night as host North Texas and Abilene Christian combined for 29 base hits in what ended up being a closer-than-expected 12-8 victory for the Mean Green.
North Texas - serving as tonight's visiting team - jumped out to leads of 7-0 and 12-2 before the Wildcats' clawed their way back into the contest with six runs scored between the sixth and seventh innings.
Down to the final two outs of a 12-5 ball game, ACU loaded the bases vs. NT reliever Kenzie Grimes on a walk and consecutive singles by sophomores Demi McNulty and Cara Hoover. And after Ashley Nolan struck out, freshman Taylor Brown cleared the bases with a hit to left field that rolled under the glove of Jackie Miller.
That brought senior Madison Buckley to the plate. The center fielder homered off Grimes to right center an inning earlier for her first round-tripper of 2014, but this time she slapped one back to the circle for the game's final out as the denizens of Lovelace Stadium let out a collective sigh of relief following two hours and 24 minutes of action.
Freshman Hannah Null started for the Wildcats and gave up nine runs - seven earned - through 5.0 innings of work and 111 pitches.
The Mean Green scored four times in the first on four singles and a walk even though only one pitch left the infield. The home team then added two more in the third and one in the fourth on a solo home run by Jordan Terry that made it a 7-0 game.
ACU rallied a little in its end in the fourth with a two-out, two-run double off the bat of Hoover that scored Courtney Flanary and McNulty.
But in the very next half inning, North Texas scored the eventual game-winning runs. No. 9 hitter Shelbie Smith led off with a walk issued by Null (1-3) and made it to third base one out later on an error by McNulty at second base. Smith then stole home as part of a double steal that pushed the Mean Green lead to 8-2 and Danielle Hoff followed with a RBI double to right that scored an unearned run.
North Texas then ran the score up to 12-2 in the sixth against ACU relievers Peyton Mosley and Emily Seidel.
Starter Lauren Poole (2-1) earned the win for the Mean Green despite allowing two runs and eight baserunners over 4.2 innings. Poole struck out only one batter, while Null punched out four.
McNulty and Brown each finished with three hits to lead the Wildcats. Brown also shared the team lead in RBI with two along with Buckley and Hoover.
NT right fielder Taylor Schoblocher was an impressive 4-for-5 with three RBI and a stolen base.
The Wildcats look to get back in the win column Friday at 3 p.m. vs. Texas State.
Information provided by ACU Athletics.
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