LUBBOCK, Texas – Following one of the best seasons in program history, the Texas Tech softball team came in at No. 19 in the final USA Today/NFCA Coaches Poll, ESPN.com/USA Softball Poll and NCAA RPI rankings on Tuesday, June 11.
The Red Raiders finished the 2019 season with a 42-16 mark and spent a record 14 straight weeks ranked in the nation’s top 25. Tech’s highest ranking of the season was a No. 10 slot in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Poll and the squad carried a top-15 ranking for six weeks in 2019.
The Red Raiders opened up the season on a 13-game win streak – the second-longest in school history – that included victories over then-ranked No. 21 Auburn, #13 Arizona State, No. 17 Oregon and two wins over Drake.
Despite a narrow loss to No. 5 Washington, the Red Raiders bounced back went 14-1 over their next 15 games before Big 12 Conference play started. Tech dropped its first Big 12 series to No. 2 Oklahoma – the 2019 regular-season champions – but ground out its first conference series win at Iowa State a week later.
The Red Raiders took one game in a tight series against No. 11 Texas and went on to sweep the Baylor Bears for the first time in program history on April 12-14. The Red Raiders continued their series streak and came away with two victories over Kansas before falling in a three-game series at No. 12 Oklahoma State.
After a split at New Mexico State on April 30, Tech rallied with a pair of sixth-inning heroics for a two-game sweep of No. 21 Kentucky – a team that reached the 2019 Seattle Super Regional – before advancing to the 2019 NCAA Baton Rouge Regional.
It was there that the Red Raiders made tidal waves and displayed some of their best softball of the season.
A one-hit performance from Erin Edmoundson and a two-RBI triple off the bat of Jessica Hartwell helped Tech secure a 3-2, game-one victory over Louisiana Tech. The Red Raiders’ time in the winner’s bracket came to an end when they dropped a heartbreaking, 4-5 decision to No. 10 LSU that lasted a total of 13 innings.
The marathon game bumped ESPN’s Baseball Tonight show to ESPNews and brought in 666,000 viewers – resulting in the second-most watched game of the regional weekend.
The Red Raiders barreled their way to Championship Sunday after a 3-1 win over Louisiana Tech later in the day. Hartwell produced the game-winning run once again and junior Missy Zoch did her job in the circle and limited the Lady Techsters to just three hits in seven innings.
Tech returned the next day and stunned the hosting Tigers with a 5-4 victory to force a game seven in Baton Rouge. The Red Raiders went toe-to-toe with the Tigers every inning and answered every LSU run in the bottom of the respective frame.
A sacrifice fly from Hartwell evened the game at 1-1 in the third inning and a two-run homer from freshman Zoe Jones gave the Red Raiders a 3-2 advantage in the bottom of the fourth. A bases-loaded walk brought in Tech’s fourth run of the game and Hartwell collected her third game-winning RBI of the weekend on a single up the middle to give Tech its final lead at 5-4.
The Red Raiders battled valiantly in the final game of the regional, but dropped the winner-take-all game by a score of 5-1. Tech broke numerous NCAA team records at the regional, including hits (34), runs (16), RBI (15), stolen bases (4), sacrifice hits (11), walks (17), innings pitched (39.2), putouts (119) and assists (42).