EL PASO, Texas – Junior Jessica Hartwell broke the school record for home runs in a season, launching three on the day as Texas Tech softball defeated UTEP 8-5 and 10-3 in El Paso in its regular-season finale on Thursday.
The win is Tech's seventh in a row and guarantees the Red Raiders (28-24, 5-13) a winning season through the 2018 Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship next weekend, before looking towards its postseason opportunities. The seven-game streak is Tech's longest since 2014.
Hartwell, who entered the day with 16 homers on the year, matched the record with a game-tying home run in the seventh inning of game one that evened the score at 5-5. Tech would pull ahead on an RBI sac bunt from junior Kiana Workman, and then freshman Breanna Russell went deep for a two-run blast that secured the 8-5 win.
Hartwell eclipsed the record in the fifth inning of game two with a three-run shot that put Tech ahead 4-1. She added a two-run dinger in the seventh for good measure. The Galt, Calif., native now sits at 19 home runs for the year and 37 for her career, needing just eight to catch Mikey Kenney (2010-13) as the school's all-time home runs leader.
The Red Raiders, who compiled 21 hits on the day, also broke the 21-year school record for triples in a season. Redshirt freshman Heaven Burton tripled to left field in the seventh inning of game two for the team's 19thtriple of the year, moving them past the 1997 Red Raiders for most triples in a season.
For Burton, it marked her fifth three-bagger of the year to put her in a tie with fellow outfielder Karli Hamiltonatop the school's single-season triples list. Burton finished with three hits on the day while Hamilton, the reigning Big 12 Player of the Week, extended her hitting streak to 13 games.
Overall, Hartwell finished the day 4-for-6 with three homers, five RBI, five runs and a stolen base. Redshirt freshman Michaela Cochran enjoyed a 4-for-7 afternoon, and freshman Erin Edmoundson added three hits. Junior Taylor Satchell hit her first home run as a Red Raider, while senior Allison Knopp also went yard.
Senior Cheyene Powell (3-5) gained the win in game one, pitching the final two innings and recording two strikeouts without allowing a base runner. The Blanchard, Okla., native got the nod to start game two and delivered a quality outing with 4.2 innings pitched and one run allowed. Sophomore Kassidy Scott (11-9) picked up her fifth-straight win, covering the final 2.1 innings.
The Red Raiders committed an error in the fifth inning of game one to end its errorless streak at 35 innings, the longest since going 43 straight in 2011. Tech's four-game streak marked its longest since 2012.
In game one, the Red Raiders opened the scoring with a run in the top of the first and led 2-1 after three. UTEP seized a brief lead with a three-run home run in the fourth, before Tech answered with a pair of runs in the top of the fifth to knot the game at 5-5.
UTEP carried a one-run lead into the seventh when Hartwell led off the frame with her record-tying home run to wake up the bats and fuel a four-run seventh, capped by the two-run shot from Russell.
In game two, Tech did most of its damage in the fifth and sixth innings, turning a 1-1 ballgame into an 8-1 landslide. Hartwell's three-run blast put Tech up 4-1, then Knopp homered in the sixth and Tech added three more off an Edmoundson single and a pair of bases-loaded walks. The Red Raiders added two more in the seventh with Burton's triple and another dinger from Hartwell.
Cortney Smith hit a three-run home run for the Miners (18-33) in game one and went 3-for-4 in game two. Tech now leads the all-time series against UTEP, 10-4, and improves to 3-4 all-time in the Sun City.
Hartwell on the record
"It feels good to be able to come through for my team that many times. That's what I'm most excited about is coming through in situations when they need me."
The Red Raiders will carry its seven game win streak into the 2018 Phillips 66 Big 12 Championships May 11-12 in Oklahoma City. The Red Raiders will enter the tournament as the five or six seed following the results of this weekend's Kansas-Iowa State series.
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