LUBBOCK, Texas – The Texas Tech softball team opened the eighth-annual Jeannine McHaney Memorial Classic Friday afternoon, splitting its first two games with a tough 14-13 loss in extra innings to New Mexico before bouncing back for a 3-2 victory over Bowling Green in the nightcap.
The Red Raiders (9-7) were one out from walking away with a pair of wins Friday as New Mexico (3-14) hit a two-out, two-run double in the top of the seventh to tie the game at 7-7, and then a grand slam in the top of the 10th to help steal the win.
Tech responded in game two of the day, taking a quick 2-0 lead in the first and holding off the Falcons (9-3) with a complete-game performance from freshman Erin Edmoundson (6-1). A well-executed squeeze play from senior Allison Knopp in the fourth provided what would be the game winning run.
"We hit the ball really well in game one and didn't come out with the win, and that will tear you up," head coach Adrian Gregory said. "I was very proud of our kids for coming back and figuring out a way to produce some runs. We go up two early, and then we give up two. Our kids could have easily folded, and they didn't. They're just fighting, fighting, fighting as they did in game one, so we are being resilient. We are fighting through the thick and thin. I still don't think we feel good about the way that we're playing right now, but all this fight should carry into feeling good about the way we play the game."
The bats helped Tech outhit the Lobos 17-13 in game one as the Red Raiders compiled a season-best 13 RBI. Redshirt freshman Michaela Cochran and junior Kiana Workman both had four-hit games while junior Jessica Hartwell added three hits and her sixth home run of the season. The trio combined for 11 RBI in the game.
Tech was unable to protect a 7-3 lead in the seventh as the Lobos plated four runs in the frame to send the game to extra innings. After New Mexico added three more in the top of the eighth, it was Tech's turn to mount a rally. Trailing 11-9, junior Kiana Workman lofted a ball to right center that would end up being trouble for the Lobo outfield and plate a pair of Red Raiders to even the score.
In the tenth, Lobo Chelsea Johnson connected on a two-out grand slam to push New Mexico to a 14-10 lead. Tech refused to quit, however, as Hartwell sent a three-run shot over the fence in center to cut the lead to 14-13. After the tying run got aboard, a line drive to the shortstop would be the final out.
In game two, Texas Tech moved to 3-0 all-time against Bowling Green thanks to a quick start at the plate and another big outing from Edmoundson in the circle. The reigning Big 12 Pitcher of the Week tossed her second complete game, allowing just two runs on eight hits while striking out seven and walking none. She also helped her cause by going 2-for-3 at the plate with a double and run scored.
"Erin Edmoundson was outstanding today," Gregory said. "I think Jessica Hartwell was outstanding, two kids that we're leaning on heavy that continue to produce and that are just leading the charge for that. There is definitely bright light in the future, for sure."
Tech started fast with back-to-back doubles from Cochran and redshirt freshman Heaven Burton that made it 1-0 in the bottom of the first. Cochran, who leads the team in hits with 26 on the year, would come home on a wild pitch a few batters later to make it 2-0.
A two-run home run from Bowling Green's Kaylee Parker would be the only runs scored on the day for the Falcons. Edmoundson finished the day throwing 10.1 innings, giving up just two runs and nine hits with nine total strikeouts. She has now won each of her last six decisions.
With the game tied 2-2 in the fourth, Edmoundson doubled to right center and was moved to third on a sac bunt from freshman Kelcy Leach. Knopp was next up, and Gregory dialed up a squeeze play that was executed perfectly to bring the go-ahead run home.
"We're just trying to figure out a way to scratch a run," Gregory said of the call. "I give Ally a squeeze, and she says, 'yes' and gets it done. That's a very big deal when you can breathe a little bit right there and finish out three more innings to hold them. I don't know if we would have scratched a run another way. We already had seven hits, and she gets a base hit out of that and she legged that out, so that was fun."
Texas Tech resumes play at the event Saturday against Bowling Green and UTSA starting at 1 p.m. For news and updates, follow the team on Twitter @TexasTechSB.