After being picked to finish sixth in the Big 12 preseason poll, the Texas Tech softball team sits at fourth in the Big 12 standings with six games remaining.
The Red Raiders head to Stillwater, Okla., this weekend to face Oklahoma State in a three-game series Friday through Saturday at Cowgirl Stadium.
Friday’s game is set for a 6:30 p.m. first pitch, while Saturday is slated for 3 p.m., followed by Sunday’s series finale at noon. All three games will be broadcast on the the FOX Sports Go app with Friday’s contest also available on FOX Sports Plus, while Saturday and Sunday’s tilts will air on FOX Sports Oklahoma.
The Red Raiders (17-23, 4-8) wrapped up a seven-game home stand last weekend with three losses to Texas after winning one of three against Kansas the previous weekend.
“Our kids know that our conference schedule is no joke,” Texas Tech coach Adrian Gregory said. “You can’t not come here any day and not perform on all cylinders. I think our kids are playing hard, we just have to get some hits to fall and some luck to go our way.”
Texas Tech is behind Oklahoma (39-7, 9-0), Baylor (35-7 8-1) and Oklahoma State (29-17, 8-1) in the standings. That trio has pulled away in the Big 12. An early season sweep of Iowa State, though, has given the Red Raiders the inside track on fourth place in the conference, with Texas and Kansas a win behind them (3-6 and 3-9) and Iowa State in last at 1-11.
Following the three-game series in Stillwater, Texas Tech returns home to host No. 8 Oklahoma on senior weekend, April 28-30.
Scouting Oklahoma State
The Red Raiders are currently on a seven-game win streak against the Cowgirls and have won each of the last three series between the two teams. Tech’s seven-game winning streak over Oklahoma State is its longest win over any current or former conference foe since the Big 12 Conference began.
The Red Raiders swept the Cowgirls in Stillwater in 2015 and haven’t lost a game in the series since 2014. The current crop of Red Raider seniors enter the weekend 8-1 against the Cowgirls.
However Oklahoma State started Big 12 play 8-0 with sweeps of Texas and Kansas and two wins over the Iowa State, but the Cyclones ended the streak with a 10-9 win Sunday, marking their first Big 12 win of the season.
The Cowgirls are led by junior Vanessa Shippy at the plate, who is second in the Big 12 batting .419. She is also second on the team in home runs (5) and first in RBIs (40). Rylee Bayless is hitting .356 and leads the Cowgirls with six homers.
Seniors Shea Coats and Brandi Needham lead the pitching staff. Coats has a 1.52 ERA in Big 12 play while Needham is right behind at 1.53. Coats, though, as a 4.34 ERA overall, while Needham has been the staff ace at 16-5 overall with a 2.54 ERA.
“They are pitching pretty well and we are looking for them to be really gritty,” Gregory said. “(I am sure) they want to pay us back for some bad loses last year and I am sure they will have come guns a blazing.”
The Red Raiders are back on the road following a seven-game home stand, the longest of the season for Tech. … Tech leads the Big 12 with 40 home runs in 40 games, including a Big 12-best 14 home runs in 12 conference games. … The Tech offense is also second in the conference in runs scored, second in walks drawn, third in hits and RBI and fourth in hitting. … Freshman outfielder Raina O’Neal is tied for the Big 12 lead in home runs with 10 this season. She is also tied for sixth nationally among freshmen in home runs.
— Nicholas Talbot, A-J Media