The Red Raiders will look to open 2014 with a victory for the fifth-straight season on Thursday evening when Texas Tech and Southeastern Louisiana kick off the Lion Classic. The Red Raiders are 10-8 all-time in season openers after routing Central Florida, 12-4, to open the 2013 season at the Sportco Kick-off Classic hosted by UNLV. Tech is 4-0 in season openers under head coach Shanon Hays with victories over Wisconsin (2010), No. 16 BYU (2011), San Diego State (2012) and UCF (2013). This will be the first time Tech and Southeastern Louisiana have ever opened a season against each other. Tech has not opened a season in the state of Louisiana since 1996 when the Red Raiders took part in the Mardi Gras Classic hosted by Louisiana-Monroe.
TEXAS TECH SEASON OPENERS UNDER SHANON HAYS (4-0)
Date Opponent Result Site
Feb. 11, 2010 vs. Wisconsin W, 5-2 Tempe, Ariz.
Feb. 10, 2011 vs. No. 16 BYU W, 7-6 (9) Tempe, Ariz.
Feb. 9, 2012 vs. San Diego State W, 5-4 Tempe, Ariz.
Feb. 8, 2013 vs. Central Florida W, 12-4 (5) Las Vegas, Nev.
INSIDE THE SERIES
• Southeastern Louisiana - Texas Tech will be facing the Lions for just the second time in program history Thursday evening. Southeastern Louisiana won the previous meeting between the two schools with a 2-0 shutout on March 12, 1998, at the H.I.T. Tournament held in Spring, Texas.
• Akron - Friday’s first game of a doubleheader will be the first meeting all-time between Texas Tech and Akron.
• Nicholls State - The Red Raiders are 1-1 all-time against the Colonels, who took an 8-0 victory over Texas Tech on Feb. 24, 1996, before falling, 3-1, on Feb. 13, 1999. Both games came at neutral sites with the first being at the Mardi Gras Classic hosted by Louisiana-Monroe and the second being at the UT Arlington Tournament.
• Buffalo - Texas Tech and the Bulls will face off for the second-straight year on Friday morning. The Red Raiders, facing Buffalo for the first time in school history last season, run-ruled the Bulls, 8-0, on March 16 during the San Diego State Classic.
• UMKC - The Kangaroos are an opponent Texas Tech is very familiar with after facing UMKC five times during the 2013 season. The Red Raiders run-ruled UMKC in all five games to improve to 9-1 all-time in the series that dates back to 2000. Tech head coach Shanon Hays is a perfect 8-0 all-time against UMKC as the Red Raiders also swept a three-game set in 2010.
• Texas Southern - Despite playing in the same state, Texas Tech and Texas Southern are meeting for just the second time in program history on Sunday. The Red Raiders routed the Lady Tigers, 18-0, in a neutral site contest hosted by UT Arlington in 2010.
TALLEY LOOKING FOR FOURTH-STRAIGHT OPENING DAY START
Brittany Talley may accomplish a rare feet before even stepping into the circle on Thursday night. The senior left-hander has earned the opening day start for the Red Raiders in each of her three seasons and will look to make it four in a row against Southeastern Louisiana. Talley is 1-0 with a 4.27 earned-run average all-time on opening day as she garnered no decision against BYU and San Diego State in 2011 and 2012 before picking up the win in an impressive outing last year against Central Florida.
MOST FRESHMEN IN SCHOOL HISTORY
In order to get back to the postseason, Texas Tech head coach Shanon Hays will have to rely on the largest freshmen class in school history. The 11-member freshmen class breaks the previous school record of eight freshmen from both the 2004 and 2010 seasons. It is also the largest freshman class in the Big 12 this season as Tech has four more freshmen then Texas and five more than Baylor, Kansas and Oklahoma State. The group will be expected to not just fill a few roles but make an impact early as Tech tries to replace all three positions in the outfield along with holes at first base and catcher as well.
BIG 12 PROGRAM FRESHMAN TOTALS
Texas Tech 11
Oklahoma State 6
Iowa State 5
RED RAIDERS TO BE POWERED IN THE CIRCLE
Texas Tech associate head coach Aly Sartini will have possibly the deepest and most experienced pitching staff of her tenure this season as the Red Raiders return a pair of veterans in senior Brittany Talley and junior Cara Custer along with experienced sophomore Gretchen Aucoin. The staff will get an added boost, though, from the emergence of junior Chandler Moore, who, according to Sartini, had the best fall of her collegiate career. The four returners represent 94 percent of Tech’s total innings from 2013 and 29 of the 30 victories from a year ago as well. They will be joined in the circle by freshman Cassie McClure, the reigning Texas 4A-5A Player of the Year, and redshirt freshman Mattison Maisel.