LAWRENCE, Kan. – Gretchen Aucoin allowed only three hits while striking out seven Saturday afternoon to lead Texas Tech to a series sweep of Kansas with a 1-0 victory at Arrocha Ballpark.
It was the first seven-inning, complete game shutout of Aucoin’s career as the right-hander was dominant throughout, retiring 12 of the final 13 batters she faced while surrendering just one walk.
The performance was good enough to push Tech (33-15; 6-6) to its first series sweep of a Big 12 opponent on the road since the conference turned to a three-game series in 2012. The Red Raiders had not swept a league foe period since taking all three games from Iowa State at home in 2012.
“Gretchen really had great stuff today,” Tech head coach Shanon Hays said. “She attacked hitters early in the count and then we played really good defense behind her. This was a good weekend for us and one that I hope carries into next week with Iowa State.”
Aucoin (12-7) was able to pitch with a lead after the fourth inning when Cassie McClure drove home the only run of the game. McClure, who benefited from a dropped foul ball earlier in the at-bat, connected on her second home run of the series, powering a 3-2 pitch over the scoreboard in left center field.
The home run marked the seventh of the season for McClure, who also recorded her 40th RBI of the year with the hit. She finished 1-for-1 at the plate after being plunked in the first inning and then intentionally walked in the sixth.
The Red Raiders had a chance to jump on Kansas (29-16; 3-6) early in the first inning on a pair of free passes from Jayhawk starter Alicia Pille. McClure’s home run was the first of three hits in the game for Tech.
Pille (10-5) took the loss for the Jayhawks after a solid outing of her own where she allowed just three hits and three walks while striking out seven. Her complete-game performance followed eight innings out of the right-hander just 24 hours earlier in the second game of the series.
The Jayhawks had a pair of opportunities to get on the board, beginning in the third when Kansas put runners on the corners with just one out in the frame.
Aucoin got out of the jam thanks to her defense, though, as Lily Behrmann grounded out to short on a ball quick enough for Brittany Lee to turn and catch Nikki Bruce trying to score at the plate.
Kansas also put the tying run on second base in the sixth as well before Aucoin responded with another ground ball to short and her final strikeout of the afternoon. She retired the Jayhawks in order in the seventh.
Samantha Camello followed McClure’s home run in the fourth with a single while Sydnie Tapia recorded Tech’s final hit with a leadoff double to start the sixth inning.
The Red Raiders return to Rocky Johnson Field next weekend, hosting Iowa State in a three-game series that begins with a 7 p.m. first pitch Friday evening.