Tech softball hosts No. 2 Oklahoma in Big 12 opener Friday

Tech softball hosts No. 2 Oklahoma in Big 12 opener Friday

LUBBOCK, Texas – Off to its best start since 2011, the No. 14/12 Texas Tech softball team (27-2) is set to host a Top-15 showdown against No. 2 Oklahoma in the Red Raiders first Big 12 Conference series on March 22-24 at Rocky Johnson Field.
 
Game one against the Sooners is slated for 6 p.m. on Friday and first pitch on Saturday is set to go off at approximately 4 p.m. The Red Raiders will wrap up the series with a 1 p.m. contest on Sunday. Live stats, as well as live streams, will be available for the series.

RED RAIDER QUICK HITS

Texas Tech leads the league for the sixth straight week and enters Big 12 play with an impressive 27-2 record – its best mark since the 2011 season. The Red Raiders rank third in the nation with a .931 winning percentage and are one of two teams – Oklahoma being the other – to have suffered just two losses.

Senior All-American Jessica Hartwell wrote her name atop the Texas Tech record books after she recorded the 150th RBI of her career. She eclipsed alumna Mikey Kenney, who set the program record with 149 RBI from 2010-13. Hartwell collected four RBI at the Tiger Classic – three of which came from Sunday's game against Maine.

Showing vast improvement from just last season, Tech enters Big 12 Conference play with seven more wins and eight fewer losses than in 2018. Last season the Red Raiders rode into league play with a 20-10 overall record.

The Red Raiders have run-ruled 11 opponents this season and have shortened seven of their last 10 games. Tech dominated Omaha 13-2 (5) to start the seasoned and the team picked up its second run-rule victory against then-ranked No. 13/15 Arizona State 8-0 (5) at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic on Feb. 21. The Red Raiders run-ruled UTA 9-1 (5) in their first home game of the season and soundly swept UTEP with two five-inning contests (10-0, 16-8). The Red Raiders opened up the Jeannie McHaney Memorial Classic with a pair of 8-0 run-rules over Northern Colorado (5) and Gardner-Webb (5) before taking down Jacksonville 11-3 in six innings. The Red Raiders took down Gardner-Webb 10-2 (6) and most recently defeated Murray State and Maine in five innings (8-0, 10-0).

Missy Zoch was the Red Raiders' top performer in the circle last weekend as she finished the Tiger Classic with 17 strikeouts and a spotless 2-0 record. The junior transfer finished the week with 10.2 strikeouts per game in just 11.2 innings pitched. She started the weekend with a 5-2 win over North Alabama where she tallied a weekend-high eight strikeouts. She fanned two hitters in relief against Memphis and held Maine scoreless and hitless through four innings in her 11th win of the season.

The Red Raiders lead the Big 12 Conference with 231 runs and a whopping 56 stolen bases. Tech ranks fourth in the nation with a .358 batting average, fifth in fielding percentage (.980) and on-base percentage (.442), as well as eighth in the NCAA in slugging percentage. In addition, the Red Raiders rank ninth among all Division I schools with 7.34 runs per game.

Posting the highest batting average in the league last week, Heaven Burton led the Tech lineup with an 8-for-14 effort at the plate in just four games. Finishing the weekend with three multi-hit games, she went a perfect 2-for-2 with one run and two RBI against Murray State. She tallied one hit against North Alabama and led the lineup with a 2-for-3 outing against Memphis, where she stole one base in the narrow loss to the Tigers. Pacing the Tech lineup once more, she collected three hits against Maine while picking up two steals and one RBI.

Powering their way to higher offensive numbers in 2019, the Red Raiders have nearly doubled their home run production from this point of the season last year. Sitting at 19-10 in their first 29 games of 2018, only five Red Raiders were hitting over .300 and the team carried 23 home runs. In 2019, Tech has compiled 41 home runs, eight hitters carry a .300 batting average and three Red Raiders are hitting over .400.

Making a statement in her first season with the Red Raiders, sophomore transfer Trenity Edwards leads the Big 12 conference with a .903 slugging percentage and .39 home runs per game and ties for the league lead with nine homers this season.

Off to a phenomenal start, sophomore hurler Erin Edmoundson leads the Tech pitching staff with a 13-1 record and 89 strikeouts while holding opponents to a .169 batting average. The Deer Park, Texas, native leads the league and ties for fourth in the NCAA with five shutouts on the season. Additionally, Edmoundson ties for sixth nationally with 13 wins.

Tied for the No. 1 spot in the school record book, Jessica Hartwell is one home run shy of become Tech's all-time career home run leader. In her career at Tech, Hartwell has collected 45 home runs. Her next home run this season will place her ahead of alumna Mikey Kenney, who set the record with 45 home runs from 2010-13.

Coming off a 3-1 weekend at the Tiger Classic in Memphis, Tenn., the Red Raiders remain in the Top-15 and came in at No. 12 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Poll and No. 14 in the USA Today/NFCA Coaches Poll. Tech was named the No. 13 team in the nation by Softball America, which is in its first year of existence.

 
SERIES HISTORY
Favored to win the Big 12, the second-ranked Sooners come to Lubbock with a 25-2 overall record. The Red Raiders have won just seven games in the 22-year history while Oklahoma has come away with 52 wins. Posting its only win in Lubbock in 2011, Tech will look for its second-ever home win against Oklahoma this weekend. The last Red Raider win dates back to April 4, 2012 when Tech edged out the Sooners, 5-4 in Norman, Okla. Oklahoma has won the last 20 games of the series.
 
FINAL DETAILS
First pitch on Friday (March 22) is scheduled for 6 p.m. Game two against the Sooners is set for 4 p.m. on Saturday (March 23) and Tech will close out the series on Sunday (March 24) at 1 p.m. Live stats, as well as live streams, will be available for the series. For all the latest information on the Texas Tech softball team, visit TexasTech.com or follow @TexasTechSB on Twitter and Instagram.

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