|LUBBOCK, Texas – The Texas Tech softball team (17-12) wrapped up non-conference play with wins over Northern Colorado (9-18) and Incarnate Word (7-19) to go undefeated at the Red Raider Classic Sunday afternoon at Rocky Johnson Field.
The bats of Arriana Villa and Payton Jackson paced the Red Raider offense as they combined for four of Tech’s seven RBI on the day. Villa went 4-for-7 at the plate with a pair of triples and a home run and recorded the walk off single to defeat UIW. Jackson went 3-for-6 with a home run and a double.
Texas Tech 5, Northern Colorado 1
The Bears had a scoring opportunity in the top of the third as they placed runners on the corners with one out, but Erna Carlin and the Red Raider defense worked out of the jam to keep the game scoreless.
Tech capitalized in the bottom of the third as Villa roped a leadoff triple off the left field wall and was brought home on a double from Carson Armijo for the 1-0 advantage.
The Red Raiders added some insurance in the bottom of the fifth, plating four runs to go up 5-0. A bunt single from Peyton Blythe started the inning and back-to-back home runs from Villa and Jackson made it 4-0 Red Raiders. Villa went deep to center field for a two-run blast and Jackson followed suit with a solo homer to left. Riley Ehlen brought in the fourth run of the inning on an RBI double to left center to score Demi Elder, running for Armijo.
Northern Colorado would put up one run in the top of the seventh but that was all the Bears would manage against the Red Raider defense.
Carlin (4-1) pitched five solid innings giving up just one hit and walking four while striking out six and allowing no runs. Olivia Rains entered in relief in the sixth, pitching the final two frames, allowing three hits and one run while striking out two.
Texas Tech 2, Incarnate Word 1
The Cardinals looked to make the first blow, loading the bases with one out in the top of the third, but two pitches later Tech would escape without allowing a run as Kendall Fritz forced a line out to Ehlen at third and a pop out to Riley Love at short.
Tech took advantage of the Lubbock wind in the bottom of the third to get on the board. Villa started things off with a triple off the right center wall, her second triple of the day. With the winds blowing upwards of 40 mph, Bailey hit a ball high into the air that the diving center fielder could not handle, dropping for an RBI double to score Villa and make it 1-0.
UIW answered back in the top of the fifth, leading off the inning with a double and bringing in the run with an RBI single to right on a close play at the plate to tie it at one.
The Red Raiders were inches from regaining the lead in the bottom of the sixth as Love hit a ball deep to left field that was caught at the red stripe on the wall to rob her of a two-run shot.
The game remained tied heading into the bottom of the seventh, giving the Red Raiders the opportunity to walk it off. Elder reached base to lead off the inning after an errant throw from the pitcher pulled the first baseman off the bag. She then stole second and moved to third after the throw down got past the second putting the winning run 60 feet away. Villa worked a full count, fouling off a couple of pitches before singling over the head of the shortstop for the walk off winner.
Fritz (11-4) collected a season-best nine strikeouts in the contest allowing just one run despite giving up a season-high 10 hits.
The Red Raiders open Big 12 play on the road at Oklahoma State March 25-27. The Red Raiders were swept by the Cowgirls last season at home and look for their first win in Stillwater since 2015.