Texas Tech softball displayed late-game heroics with three big extra-base hits as the Red Raiders swept their series against Texas State at Rocky Johnson Field, winning Saturday’s doubleheader 7-2 and 5-3.
“None of us knew that we were going to have a doubleheader until right before the first game,” sophomore Gretchen Aucoin said. “We were all pretty tired and what-not from this whole week but we keep fighting and we keep battling. It just gets more awesome as we get further into the season so hopefully we continue this throughout conference.”
The first game didn’t start well as Tech committed five errors in the first four innings.
During that time, the Red Raiders recorded only four hits and stranded six base runners.
Down 2-0, Cassie McClure put the Red Raiders on the scoreboard with an RBI double, and Kierra Miles followed with a triple that scored two to give Tech a 3-2 lead.
“When you make errors and get your dobber down, it can affect your at-bats,” head coach Shanon Hays said. “Coach Evans was really disappointed with how we played on the left side of the infield the first game. But then they got their legs under them for the second game and our pitching was so good all day besides just maybe one inning that our pitching carried us through. We had some timely runs. Obviously that’s big in overcoming such a bad defensive game.”
Texas Tech went on to score four more runs in the sixth inning as Miles knocked in two more off a single to left field.
“I had been struggling a lot,” Miles said. “I was just trying to stay focused on what Coach told me to do – swing at my pitch and hit the ball hard.”
Miles went 5 for 7 at the plate with a total of four RBIs on Saturday.
“Kierra had a great day,” Hays said. “The first game she made an adjustment early; they struck her out on a curve ball and she made an adjustment and hit it the other way. That was the strike of the game … We’ve got the type of athletes when they make adjustments and get a couple of runners on in front of them, you hope for that one swing and we made it count today.”
In the second game, after scoring a run in the first inning, Texas State answered with three runs in the top of the fifth inning to take a 3-1 lead.
With the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the inning, Gretchen Aucoin sent the first pitch she saw over the wall for a grand slam, her second homer of the season.
“We’ve seen this pitcher for two straight days now,” Aucoin said. “I kind of had a feeling of what she would want to throw there. The pitcher before her was throwing me all the way so I kind of expected it. I said to myself, ‘If Cassie’s not going to hit it, as long as she’s getting on she’s doing something, but it’s going to be my turn.’ We got the fans in the stands saying ‘HR. Homerun.’ I was like ‘It’s already in my head. Might as well make it happen.’ She just pitched me a fatty on the outside corner, and I took it yard.”
After giving her team the two-run lead, Aucoin went in the circle for Tech for the final two innings and didn’t allow any hits while striking out four batters, earning her fifth save of the season, setting a new single season record, as well as the seventh of her career.
“The grand slam kind of pumped me up and warmed me up for pitching,” Aucoin said. “I had already gotten loose before hand but that just kept the momentum going. I knew beforehand that I would probably have to come in and save if I wasn’t going to pitch today I definitely was going to be refreshed for next weekend. I just thought about what I had been thinking about the rest of the game and went out there and hit my spots and let my defense work.”
It wasn’t just Aucoin who pitched well for Texas Tech.
Senior Brittany Talley pitched just over three innings in the first game and allowed only two hits while two unearned runs scored.
Cara Custer took over from there and didn’t give up any hits or runs in the first game while allowing four hits and three runs in the second game.
“When you see Cara throw so well like she did today and Gretchen and Brittany throwing so well, they’ve allowed us to grow and make some mistakes,” Hays said. “They’re kept us in the game for the most part.”
The Red Raiders are now 27-9 entering conference play as they host Baylor next weekend.
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TEXAS TECH 7, TEXAS STATE 2
Texas State 001 100 0 — 2 2 1
Texas Tech 000 034 x — 7 11 5
House, Garner (6) and Fryar; Talley, Custer and Crow. W — Custer. L — House. 2B: Tech, Hopson. 3B: Miles. Records: Texas State 18-14; Tech 26-9.
TEXAS TECH 5, TEXAS STATE 3
Texas State 000 030 0 — 3 4 0
Texas Tech 100 040 x — 5 10 1
Wright, House and Fryar. Custer, Aucoin and Lee, Crow. W — Custer. L — House. 2B: Texas State, North. 3B: Texas State, Fryar; Tech, Tapia. HR: Tech, Aucoin. Records: Texas State 18-15; Tech 27-9.