LUBBOCK, Texas – Junior Jessica Hartwell hit her fourth and fifth home runs of the week, and the Texas Tech softball team picked up a 6-5 win over Bowling Green and blanked UTSA 5-0 at Rocky Johnson Field Saturday afternoon on day two of the Jeannine McHaney Memorial Classic.
With the wins, Tech improved to 3-1 on the weekend and 7-2 at home this season. The Red Raiders (11-7) will conclude the event with a rematch against New Mexico (3-15) Sunday at 1 p.m.
"Our kids were very resilient today," head coach Adrian Gregory said. "I think there were times when they didn't feel great, and they just continued to pursue the game and trust their ability. We have some kids that are under the weather, so you have to tip your hat to those guys and thank them for their resiliency and courage to keep going."
Entering Saturday as the Big 12's home run leader, Hartwell provided five of the team's six RBI in the win over Bowling Green (10-4), including her third career grand slam and a go-ahead RBI triple in the sixth. Hartwell upped her long ball tally to eight on the year with a two-run rope in the sixth against UTSA (10-7).
"Jess didn't feel really great, and she just continues to give everything she has no matter what." Gregory said. "Any kid that is going to play that hard, their teammates see it. She's a captain, and she earned that on her chest. It's hard to play harder than her. Of course, I love her numbers, I love what she can do production wise, but I pick that kid day in and day out because of how hard she plays the game."
The Red Raiders compiled 10 hits in both contests and have now tallied 45 hits in four games this weekend. Redshirt freshmen Heaven Burton and Michaela Cochran continue to tear it up at the top of the lineup as the outfielders extended both of their hitting streaks to 10 games. Burton went 3-for-3 in Saturday's opener with two runs and a walk and tallied one more hit in the second game. Cochran turned in a 4-for-7 afternoon between the two games with two runs scored.
"Those guys get our engine running,' Gregory said of Cochran and Burton. "Michaela is a machine. She is on all the time, and I learned today that if I make her angry she is going to hit even harder, so that was a fun lesson to learn. They just set the tone, and put pressure, and then we can run and do a lot of good things with that. They're doing a good job at being triple threats and being able to pick defenses apart, so its been fun with them."
Redshirt freshman Erin Edmoundson received both wins on the day, including the first complete game shutout of her career. She surrendered just three hits while striking out seven against the Roadrunners to collect her eighth win in as many decisions. She also received credit for the victory against Bowling Green, complimenting a strong start from sophomore Kassidy Scott, who matched her career high of seven strikeouts in 5.2 innings of work while giving up four runs.
"Erin is tired and has thrown a lot of innings," Gregory said of the reigning Big 12 Pitcher of the Week. "Now we're asking her to hit because she can do all of it. Her hand is kind of beat up from taking a bullet yesterday, and she's just like 'alright lets go.' She finishes the first game and gets the start for the second game, and throws a complete game. That kid will do anything she can do to make a difference, and she makes a large difference. We're so happy she's a Red Raider."
The Hartwell grand slam opened the scoring in game one of the day, and the Red Raiders carried a 4-2 lead into the bottom of the fifth before Scott helped her cause with an RBI single to make it 5-2.
The Falcons would tie the game in the sixth thanks to a pair of sacrifice flies. With two outs and a runner on first, a fly ball down the line in right fell just out of reach of a diving Karli Hamilton, allowing the Falcons to even the score at 5-5.
The Red Raiders regained the lead in the bottom half of the frame as Hartwell skied a tricky fly ball to right that avoided the second basemen and brought home Burton from third base for Hartwell's fifth RBI of the contest.
Texas Tech struck first in the second game of the day as well, this time on a squeeze play in the fifth. Freshman Breanna Russell dropped a bunt toward the first base line and Edmoundson slid in safely at home to put Tech on top 1-0.
The bats came alive in the sixth to break the game open. After a lead-off single from Cochran, Hartwell went yard with a sharp line drive over the left field barricade to make it 3-0. Freshman Kelcy Leach later blasted a double over the center fielder's head to score a run, and then Russell notched an RBI single to left field and up Tech's lead to 5-0.
Edmoundson's three-hit shutout gives Tech its first shutout victory of the season. It marked the fifth time this season the Red Raider pitching staff has held an opponent to three hits or less in a game.
Texas Tech improves to 7-2 at home on the year
Heaven Burton and Michaela Cochran both have 10-game hitting streaks.
Jessica Hartwell now has a 1.163 slugging percentage on the year.
Hartwell is up to 25-career home runs and is two off from breaking into the school's top five of all-time.