LAWRENCE, Kansas – Texas Tech softball sealed its spot in the 2018 Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship using a hot start to propel it to an 11-7 win at Kansas on Saturday at Arrocha Ballpark.
The Red Raiders (24-24, 4-13), who have now won three in a row, have clinched the series win in Lawrence and will look for the series sweep against the Jayhawks (25-23, 0-14) on Sunday at 12 p.m. Tech will jockey with Iowa State for fifth place in the league standings.
"It's refreshing for our kids to feel like things are going our way," head coach Adrian Gregory said. "They're loosening up a little bit, playing really good defense and playing the type of softball that we've known we can play all year."
The bats were alive early on Saturday as Tech scored in each of the first four innings on its way to a 9-2 lead heading to the Jayhawk fourth. A three-run double from freshman pitcher Erin Edmoundson got the scoring started in the first, and Tech crossed home three more times in the second, twice in the third and once more in the fourth.
Tech outhit the Jayhawks 13-4 while playing error-free for the second straight game. Tech ended up scoring in all but one inning on Friday as its 11 runs marked the most against a Big 12 foe since plating 18 in its conference opener last season.
Edmoundson (14-10) not only got the win in the circle, but finished 2-for-3 at the plate with a double, four RBI and a walk. Redshirt sophomore Karli Hamilton tallied a 3-for-3 day with her seventh dinger of the year and three runs scored and freshman Kelcy Leach collected her first multi-home run game on her way to three RBI.
Hamilton has been especially impressive over the last 10 games, hitting .457 with three home runs, four doubles, two triples and 13 runs driven in. She went for three hits Saturday for the third time in her career and now carries a nine-game hit streak into the series finale.
Fellow outfielders Heaven Burton and Michaela Cochran also had multi-hit games as Burton finished 3-for-5 at the top of the order with a double and a run scored and Cochran recorded a pair of hits. Junior Jessica Hartwellscored twice, reaching base on a walk and a hit-by-pitch.
Burton and Cochran started the game with back-to-back singles and Hamilton drew a walk to load the bases for Edmoundson, who delivered a two-out double to left center field that cleared the bases. In the second, Cochran and Hartwell got on base to set up Hamilton's three-run blast that put Tech up 6-0.
KU went yard in the second to cut it to 6-2, but Leach answered with a two-run homer of her own to reestablish the six run lead. A bases-loaded sacrifice fly from freshman Breanna Russell in the fourth stretched it to a 9-2 ballgame.
Kansas fired back with two runs in the fourth and then roughed up the Tech bullpen for three runs in the fifth before Edmoundson would return to the game to close it out. The Clear Lake, Texas, native tossed 6.1 innings in all, giving up two hits and four runs with six strikeouts and two walks.
POST GAME NOTES
The Big 12 series win is Tech's first of the year and first on the road since sweeping Iowa State in Ames to open Big 12 play in 2017.
Tech has now matched last season's Big 12 wins total with one game remaining.
Tech scored 10-plus runs for the fifth time this season.
Tech has tallied double-digit hits in three of the last five games.
This was the fourth time this season Tech has hit three or more home runs in a game.
The Red Raiders are back at .500 after two weeks under.
Tech moves to 20-6 overall when scoring four runs or more.
Tech eyes the series sweep on Sunday with first pitch at noon. Tech can finish as high as fifth in the league standings with a win on Sunday and three Iowa State losses in the Cyclone's final four league games.
Keep up with all things Texas Tech softball by following the Red Raiders at @TexasTechSB on Twitter and Instagram and online at www.TexasTech.com.