CONROE, Texas – After earning a pair of opening day wins, the Texas Tech softball team remained perfect as it ground out a pair of Big Ten victories, Saturday on day two of the Lone Star Collegiate Classic.
The Red Raiders held off Nebraska, 4-1, in a heated rematch before posting an 8-3 win over Wisconsin – a 2018 NCAA Tournament team.
Tech outscored its opponents 12-4 and combined for a total of 19 hits on the second day of competition. Morgan Hornback, Karli Hamilton and Jessica Hartwell each recorded three hits on the day while Breanna Russell, Zoe Jones and Heaven Burton collected two hits apiece.
The Red Raider pitching staff, led by sophomore Erin Edmoundson, tallied a total of 21 strikeouts and limited opponents to a .226 average at the plate.
Game 1 – Texas Tech 4, Nebraska 1
Timely hitting and a combined effort in the circle led to Tech’s 4-1 victory over Nebraska.
Junior transfer Missy Zoch earned her first victory in a Red Raider uniform after racking up eight strikeouts in 4.2 innings of work. Entering the game in relief, Edmoundson fanned five Huskers and was awarded the save as Tech improved to 3-0 on the season.
The Red Raiders out-hit Nebraska 6-5 and Hornback highlighted the Tech offense with the first home run of her career in her first at-bat.
Mirroring last night’s contest, Tech picked up an early advantage after Burton kicked off the game with a smoked single to the hot corner. A wild pitch and ground out moved her over to third and Hartwell gave Tech a 1-0 lead thanks to an RBI single down the left-field line.
Nebraska answered with one run in the bottom of the frame, notching three hits off of Zoch.
A leadoff walk to start the second placed Russell on first and a textbook sacrifice bunt from Taylor Satchell moved the sophomore over into scoring position. On two outs, Kelcy Leach roped an RBI single up the middle and scored Russell to put the Red Raiders up, 2-1.
The Huskers tried to even up the score in their next trip to the plate, managing to put runners on second and third with two outs. However, Zoch sat down Nebraska’s Rylie Unzicker on three straight strikes to get the Red Raiders out of the jam.
Zoch kept the Huskers off the board for the next two innings but Nebraska tried to turn the tide in the fifth. With two outs and bases loaded in the bottom of the frame, Tech sent in Edmoundson to relieve Zoch in the circle.
Showing nothing but poise, Edmoundson battled Nebraska senior Bri Cassidy and sat her down looking to stifle the Husker momentum.
Hartwell drew a one-out walk get the Red Raiders going in the top of the sixth. Lifting Tech to a 3-1 lead, Russell traded places with the senior at second after she notched an RBI double down the left-field line.
Adding more separation, Hornback stepped in to pinch hit in the final inning and blasted her first career home run over the left-field wall. Edmoundson closed out the game with two strikeouts and a fly ball to left field to secure the 4-1 victory for the Red Raiders.
Game 2 – Texas Tech 8, Wisconsin 3
Four Red Raiders tallied a pair of hits as the squad was able to overcome an early deficit and grab an 8-3 win over Wisconsin. Hornback made her freshman debut in the circle and fanned three Badgers in 3.2 innings while Edmoundson picked up her third victory of the season in relief.
The Tech defense prevented a leadoff triple, but Wisconsin took an early 1-0 lead after Kayla Konwent and Melanie Cross recorded back-to-back doubles off Hornback. However, the freshman starter answered with two consecutive strikeouts – the first two of her career – to end the top of the first.
After a silent opening frame, Tech came roaring back in the bottom of the second after Trenity Edwards started the inning with a single up the middle. Russell laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Edwards into scoring position and Jones tied up the game, 1-1, with an RBI single that found its way to the outfield.
Hornback and Yvonne Whaley put up two more runs for the Red Raiders after they roped back-to-back RBI doubles – giving Tech a 3-1 advantage.
Two consecutive singles from Hamilton and Hartwell gave Tech a pair of runners with no outs to start the bottom of the third. After Edwards reached on a fielder’s choice, she caused even more trouble and drew a threw from the Wisconsin catcher that allowed Hamilton to score from third.
Wisconsin drew a pair of two-out walks in the top of the fourth and Tech brought Edmoundson back to the circle to relieve Hornback of her duties. She retired the next batter on a fly out to left field to hold the Badgers scoreless for a third straight inning.
Wisconsin cut Tech’s lead down to one in the top of the fifth after Taylor Johnson lifted a two-run homer over the wall in right field.
However, Tech one-upped the Badgers in the bottom of the frame, beginning with another pair of singles from Hamilton and Hartwell. In her first at-bat of the season, Edmoundson earned her two runs back on a double into right-center that scored a pair of Red Raiders.
With the bases loaded, Whaley forced a Badger error at short and Edmoundson came rushing home to make it a 7-3 ball game.
Tech blanked Wisconsin in the top of the sixth and Hamilton led off the top bottom of the frame with a free trip to first. Two batters later, Russell drilled a single up the middle and Hamilton motored around to put Tech up 8-3.
Though the Badgers placed two runners on in the final inning, Edmoundson closed the game with her fifth strikeout and the Red Raiders improved to a perfect 4-0 on the season with the five-run victory.
Coming Up Next
The Red Raiders close out the Lone Star Collegiate Classic tomorrow at 1 p.m. against the Lamar Cardinals. Live stats, as well as a live stream, will be available for the game. For all the latest information on the Texas Tech softball program, visit TexasTech.com or follow @TexasTechSB on Twitter and Instagram.