EL PASO, Texas – Powered by a pair of clutch home runs from freshman Kailey Wyckoff, Texas Tech extended its win streak to seven games after sweeping day three of the Dr. Diana Natalicio Memorial Tournament Saturday at Helen of Troy Field.
Wyckoff smashed a pair of go-ahead home runs to help lead Texas Tech to an 8-6 win over host UTEP (4-5) in the night cap. The catcher now has a game-tying and two go-ahead home runs this weekend.
“It doesn’t look like a freshman swinging the bat,” head coach Craig Snyder said. “She is driving the ball and executing her plans at a high level. She is doing a phenomenal job for Team 32.”
The Red Raider (8-2) offense shined in game one, tallying 16 hits to down New Mexico (3-5). It marked the first 16-hit game for Tech since smashing 18 against Tarleton in 2021 (3/21/21).
“I mean it’s hard to describe the energy this team creates,” Snider said. “They believe in themselves and each other. We continue to learn and grow each game.”
Game One: Texas Tech 12, New Mexico 7
The Red Raiders jumped on the board first in the top of the opening frame when a New Mexico error and a double from Arianna Villa put runners on the corners. Ellie Bailey then calmy stepped into the box and singled on the first strike she saw to score two runs.
New Mexico got one back after an unfortunate obstruction call on a slow roller to Alanna Barraza plated the leadoff for the Lobos, who reached on a fielding error. However, Tech swung right back after stringing together singles from Makinzy Herzog and Villa as well as a Riley Love double to tack on two more runs.
Starter Sage Hoover worked around a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the second to keep the Lobos at bay. Tech then put together its third straight two-run inning to take a 6-1 lead in the third. Carson Amijo came in clutch with a bases-clearing, pinch-hit double that scored Demi Elder and Barraza.
After a quiet next at bat for both sides, New Mexico pulled back within a run after scoring four runs off four hits in the bottom of the fourth. A trio of singles and a hit by pitch scored the second run of the contest for the Lobos and left the bases loaded as Tech brought in Kendall Fritz (3-0) in relief.
A single and a double steal brought the game to 6-5, but Fritz forced a foul fly ball to end the inning.
After neither team plated anymore runs in the fifth, Tech’s offense broke loose for six runs in the top of the sixth inning to take a 12-5 lead late in the ball game. Villa led off with a solo shot over the left-field wall to set the tone for the inning.
Peyton Blythe then reached with a bunt single to set up Abbie Orrick for a two-run moon shot. However, the offense didn’t stop there. A walk and a Kennedy Crites double put a pair of runners on for Jacee Hamlin. Hamlin the doubled to right center to clear the bases. Herzog capped off the six-run inning with a single up the middle to plate Hamlin.
Despite giving up two runs in the bottom of the sixth, Fritz earned the win in 1.2 innings of relief work. The senior allowed just one hit and no runs. Ranci Willis came in to close out the seventh inning and gave up just one hit and fanned two batters.
Game Two: Texas Tech 8, UTEP 6
The Red Raiders and Miners battled toe-to-toe through all seven innings with the contest becoming tied twice and the lead changing three times.
UTEP struck first in the bottom of the first off a sacrifice fly. After a quiet top of the second for Tech, starter Ranci Willis continued to work in the circle, working around a leadoff single and retiring the next three via strikeout.
UTEP took a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the third after back-to-back hits plated a second run for the Miners. After a Tech pitching change, a wild pitch and double by Peyton Angulo tacked on another run.
After a second Tech pitching change, a catcher’s interference and infield single juiced the bases for UTEP; however, a clutch 8-6-3 triple play ended the inning.
The momentum from the triple play carried to the top of the fourth, where the Red Raiders hung four runs off four hits. Villa and Blythe ignited the offense with back-to-back doubles that plated the first run.
Bailey then followed with a two-run blast to even the contest at three. Directly behind Bailey, Wyckoff smashed her first homer of the game to give Tech a 4-3 lead.
A two-out single in the bottom of the fourth plated Lexi Morales, who reached on a double, and tied the contest again. The Miners then regained the lead in the bottom of the fifth frame thanks to a solo shot by Caitlyn Brockway.
Tech answered again in the top of the sixth with a second long ball off the bat of the freshman Wyckoff. The two-run blast marked the freshman’s third home run of the season.
UTEP again had an answer for the Tech offense, plating the game-tying run in the bottom half of the frame with another hit from Angulo. However, the Red Raiders had the final say in their last at-bat as the squad got their first two batters on base. Herzog then cleared the bases with a double to right center.
With a two-run lead, Hoover (4-0) struck out the side in bottom of the seventh to seal the deal. The righty earned the win after throwing 2.0 innings of relief work with four strikeouts.
The Red Raiders go for the weekend sweep in the final day of the Dr. Diana Natalicio Memorial Tournament tomorrow. Texas Tech will square off against Santa Clara at 10 a.m.
Release provided by Hanna Cooper Texas Tech Athletics