The Red Raiders continued their win streak to eight games with two run-rule shutouts.
LUBBOCK, Texas – Now riding an eight-game win streak, the No. 14/15 Texas Tech softball team improved to 21-1 on the season thanks to a pair of 8-0 run-rules over Northern Colorado and Gardner-Webb, Friday at Rocky Johnson Field.
Powering her way to the top of the Tech record book, senior All-American Jessica Hartwell’s sixth home run of the season against Northern Colorado marked the 45th homer of her career – tying alumna Mikey Kenney for the No. 1 spot in career home runs.
The Red Raiders opened up the 2019 Jeannine McHaney Memorial Classic with a five-inning, 8-0 shutout over Northern Colorado, where freshman hurler Morgan Hornback picked up her third victory of the season.
Later in the evening, a one-hit pitching performance from Missy Zoch (7-0) and a powerful display of hitting led to the Red Raiders to their second run-rule shutout of the day.
GAME 1 – Texas Tech 8, Northern Colorado 0 (5 innings)
Hornback, who racked up three strikeouts through five complete innings, improved to 3-0 on the season. The freshman from Oregon limited the Bears to four hits. Hartwell highlighted the Red Raider lineup with the 45th home run of her career – which ties for the No. 1 spot in the Red Raider record book – and a perfect 3-for-3 effort at the plate.
After Hornback held off the Bears in the top of the first with a strikeout, ground out and pop up, Heaven Burton collected her first hit of the day with a single through the left side. Freshman Yvonne Whaley moved her over to second on a sacrifice bunt and she later advanced to third on a throwing error by the Bears’ second baseman. Two pitches later, Hartwell drove in Tech’s first run of the day on a smoked single to second.
A silent top of the first made way for another Red Raider run as Zoe Jones drove an RBI single through the right side to score Taylor Satchell from second – giving Tech a 2-0 lead.
Hornback gathered her second strikeout of the day in the top of the third and, on a 3-2 count, Hartwell kicked off the bottom of the inning with the 45th home run of her career – a solo shot over the left-center field wall to put Tech up, 3-0. Breanna Russell followed up with a single and an error and a walk to Satchell and Jones loaded the bases with no outs.
Stepping up to the plate with bases juiced, sophomore Kelcy Leach jumped on a 1-1 pinch and crushed a grand slam to lift the Red Raiders to a 7-0 lead.
Hartwell picked up her third hit of the game on a one-out double to right center in the bottom of the fourth. With two outs, Satchell brought around Tech’s eighth run of the game on a single up the middle to put the Red Raiders in prime, run-rule position.
Northern Colorado threatened to score and loaded the bases in the top of the fifth, but the Tech defense buckled down and Hornback produced an easy grounder to short to clinch the 8-0 run-rule.
The Red Raiders combined for 12 hits against the Bears and forced two Northern Colorado errors.
GAME 2 – Texas Tech 8, Gardner-Webb 0 (5 innings)
Zoch was masterful through five innings as she surrendered just one hit and one walk through five full innings. Burton, Hartwell and Russell led the Tech lineup with two hits apiece as the Red Raiders out-hit the Runnin’ Bulldogs 10-1.
Gardner-Webb recorded its only hit of the game on a single to left field in the top of the first, but the Tech defense remained solid throughout the remainder of the contest. Breaking open the offensive onslaught, junior Karli Hamilton powered a two-run homer over the left-field wall to give the Red Raiders an early two-run lead.
Zoch and the Red Raider defense posted a quick 1-2-3 frame to start the second and Leach carried over her hot bat from game one with a scorched single that ricocheted off the pitcher’s glove. Hornback drew a walk after the single and Burton drove in the pair on a double that went to the left-field wall.
Burton advanced to third on a grounder to first base and Hartwell made it a 5-0 ball game on an RBI single to the Gardner-Webb shortstop. Hartwell made it around to third on a steal and Runnin’ Bulldog throwing error and Russell put the Red Raiders up 6-0 on an RBI single to left field.
The Tech retired the Runnin’ Bulldogs in order to start the third and Hornback kicked off the bottom half of the inning with a walk. Fellow freshman Peyton Blythe came in to run at first and she quickly advanced to second on a wild pitch.
A textbook bunt and heads-up base running from Burton placed two runners in scoring position and a sacrifice bunt from Whaley allowed Blythe to come from third. Immediately after, Hamilton knocked an RBI ground out to the Gardner-Webb shortstop and Burton crossed home to put Tech up, 8-0.
Neither team was either to scratch across a run in the fourth inning and Zoch kept off the Runnin’ Bulldogs of the board for the fifth straight inning to capture the team’s fourth consecutive run-rule this week.