Dominique Alcocer is going home — sort of.
The Texas Tech softball teams begins play in the Puerto Vallarta College Challenge at Nancy Almaraz Stadium on Thursday with with games against Cal State Fullerton (4 p.m.) and Florida Gulf Coast (7 p.m.).
The Texas Tech senior pitcher is from Mexico City and this will be one of the rare times her family gets to see her play — even if it still more than 500 miles away form her hometown.
“I am happy that my mom and my dad are going to watch me play because they have been my inspiration all my life, and it is hard for them to come to Lubbock and watch me play because the flights are expensive,” Alcocer wrote on a blog on the Texas Tech website. “For me, personally, it’s going to be an experience that I will never forget. Going to my country and playing there while representing Texas Tech is an honor.”
She also wants to see how well her teammates can adapt and speak Spanish.
“I want to share everything about my culture with my teammates. For example, try real tacos,” Alcocer wrote. “I want to show them how beautiful Puerto Vallarta is too. I think it’s going to be an experience that is going to help us a lot as a team because we are going to play against really good teams and it’s going to be an experience that will bind us.”
Three Texas Tech freshmen made an impact on opening weekend — pitchers Kassidy Scott and Hannah Broseman and outfielder Raina O’Neal. Scott picked up two starts and threw in relief in a third game for the Red Raiders. And so far, she might be what Tech lacked last season — an ace. Through 14 2/3 innings, Scott has 0.95 ERA, only giving up two earned runs in a season-opening loss to Texas State, which hosted the tournament. In her second start, she threw a complete-game shutout against Abilene Christian.
Hannah Broseman wasn’t as strong as Scott in the early going, but did pick up a win, throwing a complete game shut out against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. She struggled, though, in 2 2/3 innings of relief, giving up five runs, including four against Iowa and has a 3.69 ERA.
“We were great in the circle. I thought our young kids threw really well and I thought Matty (Maisel) threw well,” Texas Tech softball coach Adrian Gregory said. “That is really good for us.”
At the plate, Tech was led by O’Neal, who hit three home runs and drove in six runs in the opening weekend tournament in San Marcos. All three homers were two-run shots. She is hitting .333 through five games and already has 14 total bases.
“She has felt the most comfortable in the preseason; she looks so comfortable in the box, so I put her in the three-hole and she got some pitches she could get the barrel on,” Gregory said.
Texas Tech at Puerto Vallarta College Challenge
Texas Tech vs. Cal State Fullerton, 4 p.m.
Texas Tech vs. Florida Gulf Coast, 7 p.m.
Texas Tech vs. Mississippi State, 7 p.m.
Texas Tech vs. Cal State Fullerton, 9 a.m.
Texas Tech vs. Fresno State, 9 a.m.