LUBBOCK, Texas – Looking to carry over its success into week two, the Texas Tech softball team (5-0) will hit the road to Auburn, Ala., for a set of five games at the Plainsman Invitational, hosted by No. 21 Auburn, on Feb. 15-17 at Jane B. Moore Field.
The Red Raiders are set to open the Plainsman Invitational with a 10 a.m. contest against Drake on Friday (2/15), followed by a matchup against UAB at 3 p.m. later that day. Tech will return to Jane B. Moore Field on Saturday (2/16) to face the No. 21 Tigers in a 4:30 p.m. contest before taking on Furman at 7 p.m. The Red Raiders will close out the tournament with a rematch against the Bulldogs at 9 a.m. on Sunday. Live stats will be available for all five games of the Plainsman Invitational.
Red Raider Quick Hits
Completing a five-game sweep in its first tournament of the season, Texas Tech is off to its best start since 2011 when the Red Raiders started the season with 24 consecutive wins.
Junior Karli Hamilton earned the league's first Player of the Week nod after her dominant performance at the Lone Star Collegiate Classic. After opening weekend, the Houston native leads the league in hits (9), runs (9), steals (4), a .650 on-base percentage and ties for first with one triple. She also leads the Red Raiders, and ranks third in the Big 12, with a .563 batting average.
Carrying the load for the Texas Tech pitching staff, Erin Edmoundson was masterful on opening weekend as she posted a perfect 4-0 record and one save while fanning 27 hitters in 18.1 innings. Edmoundson leads the conference with four wins, 27 strikeouts, and 18.1 innings pitched.
Five Red Raiders went yard in the first weekend of the 2019 season. Sophomore Breanna Russell launched Tech's first homer of the season against Omaha and senior Taylor Satchell followed up one inning later with a two-run shot. Helping Tech to a walk-off run rule, Jessica Hartwell blasted a grand slam in the bottom of the fifth to secure Tech's 13-2 win in five innings. Satchell got her second home run of the season in Tech's first victory against Nebraska on Friday and freshman Morgan Hornback collected the first home run of her career in the Red Raiders' rematch against Nebraska on Saturday.
As a team, Texas Tech ranks 14th in the nation and second in the league with a .379 batting average. The Red Raiders have out-hit their opponents 53-27 while out-scoring them 43-17.
Karli Hamilton and sophomore Heaven Burton ride into the weekend on five-game hitting streaks. Burton posted two multi-hit games over the weekend (Nebraska 3, Lamar 2) while Hamilton recorded three (Omaha 2, Wisconsin 2, Lamar 3).
In her second appearance as a Red Raider, junior transfer Missy Zoch fanned a season-high eight batters in Tech's rematch against the Huskers. Earning the start in the first game against Nebraska as well, Zoch retired six hitters in the 15-10 victory.
Looking towards another successful season, senior All-American Jessica Hartwell was one of 50 student-athletes named to the 2019 USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year Watch List, announced by USA Softball on Jan. 30, 2019. Hartwell was one of seven student-athletes from the Big 12 and just the second Red Raider in program history to make the preseason watch list. The only other Tech player to be named to the prestigious list was Emily Bledsoe back in 2012.
While Texas Tech returns eight of its nine position starters from 2018, the vast majority of the squad is made up of underclassmen. The Red Raiders boast 15 underclassmen and just 6 upperclassmen. Tech's 2019 crew carries seven freshmen, eight sophomores, three juniors and three seniors.
After a stellar start to the 2019 season, the Red Raiders received one vote in the USA Today/NFCA Coaches Poll. Four Big 12 schools were included in the poll.
A Look at the Competition
A 2018 NCAA Tournament team, the Bulldogs enter the weekend with a 4-1 overall record. Drake will look to senior ace Nicole Newman to lead the Bulldogs in the circle. Newman, who picked up 28 strikeouts in 14.1 innings last weekend, leads the Bulldog pitching staff with a .49 ERA. Sophomore Macy Johnson leads Drake's offensive efforts with eight hits and a .533 average at the plate. Collectively, Drake boasts a .311 batting average heading into the Plainsman Invitational. The Bulldogs are coached by Rich Calvert, who is in his 17th season at the helm of the Drake softball program.
After going 26-32-1 in 2018, the Blazers enter the Plainsman Invitational with a 4-2 overall record after a strong performance at the UAB Tournament last weekend. Led by Dylinn Stancil, UAB combines for an impressive .378 batting average and 65 hits. Stancil leads the Blazers with nine hits, two home runs, eight RBI and a .474 average at the plate. In the circle, Claire Blount leads the staff with a spotless 2-0 record. However, Bailie Barnes paces the UAB pitchers with a 3.60 ERA, 11.2 innings and 11 strikeouts. The Blazers look to new leadership as Jimmy Kolaitis enters his first season as head coach.
No. 21 Auburn
Hosting the Plainsman Invitational, nationally ranked Auburn enters its own tournament with a 3-2 overall record. After opening weekend, Casey McCrackin leads the team with four home runs and an impressive .563 average at the plate. Four other Tigers carry averages that stand over .400. In the circle, standout Makayla Martin sits 1-1 on the season with a 1.17 ERA and leads the staff with 12 strikeouts. Auburn looks to first-year head coach Mickey Dean during the 2019 season.
The Paladins enter the weekend with a 2-3 overall record after splitting with future Tech opponent Gardner-Webb (L 12-2, W 75). Cammy Pereira leads Furman's offensive efforts with two triples, three stolen bases and a .417 batting average while Taylor Vahle follows closely behind hitting .385. Hurler Emily DeMonte has seen the most action in the circle, tossing 21 innings. DeMonte holds a 2-1 record and 5.67 ERA heading into the weekend. Wally King enters his first season with the Paladins after taking over the program in June of 2018.
First pitch against the Bulldogs is slated for 10 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 15. Live stats will be available for all five games. For all the latest information on the Texas Tech softball team, visit TexasTech.com or follow @TexasTechSB on Twitter and Instagram.