LUBBOCK, Texas – Texas Tech scored a season-high eight runs in the first inning Friday evening en route to a 15-0 run-rule over Iowa State in the series opener at Rocky Johnson Field.
The 15-run rout marked the largest margin of victory over a Big 12 opponent in school history for the Red Raiders (34-15; 7-6), who opened the series with a win for the third-straight weekend.
“It’s always nice when you can jump out to an early lead like that,” said Tech head coach Shanon Hays, who picked up career win No. 299 with the victory. “We talked all week about getting after their pitching staff early and I thought that was really key tonight. It’s still a long series, so we will have to come out with that same focus tomorrow.”
The Red Raiders used the long ball early and often to record its fifth-straight victory in Big 12 play which is Tech’s longest winning streak against conference foes since late in the 2008 season.
Kierra Miles scorched a three-run homer in the first inning for the first of four dingers in the game. Miles’ home run, her fifth of the season, followed a Cassie McClure RBI single that scored leadoff hitter Sydni Emanuel.
Tech added its final four runs in the frame all off one swing as Emanuel came back to the plate to record what should have been a two-run single. Her liner up the middle bounced off center fielder Brittany Gomez’ glove, however, and kept rolling to the wall, allowing Brittany Lee to score from first and Emanuel to scamper all the way around and just beat the tag at the plate.
The eight-run first inning marked the most runs for Tech in the opening frame since scoring 10 on March 1 this year against Rhode Island. The Red Raiders are 19-5 when scoring in the first inning this year.
McClure and Aucoin padded Tech’s lead with back-to-back home runs to start the second inning. It was the first time that a pair of Red Raiders had followed each other with home runs since Adriana Perez and Sandy James did so on March 1 last year against Jackson State.
Lea Hopson connected on Tech’s final home run of the night with a three-run shot to left field an inning later. The long ball was Hopson’s seventh of the year and capped a five-run inning for the Red Raiders, who set new season highs for runs (15) and hits (14) in the rout.
Miles added a RBI single earlier in the third inning for her third hit of the game. Miles, who finished 3-for-3 at the plate, was one of five Red Raiders with multiple-hit games, joining Emanuel (2-for-3), McClure (2-for-3), Aucoin (2-for-3) and Hopson (2-for-2). Of those five players, all but Aucoin had two RBI as well.
The early lead was more than enough for Aucoin (13-7) in the circle as she picked up the win in a two-hit shutout that featured six strikeouts and a pair of walks. Aucoin, the reigning Big 12 Pitcher of the Week, has now earned the win in each of Tech’s five victories during its winning streak.
With the shutout, the right-hander has not allowed a run to score in each of her last 12.1 innings dating back to the final out in Tech’s series-clinching victory at Kansas last Friday. She has surrendered just five hits over her last two outings which includes a three-hit shutout over the Jayhawks in the series finale last weekend.
Iowa State starter Paris Imholz (3-8) took the loss after being chased with two outs in the opening inning. She allowed five runs off five hits before giving way to Stacy Roggentien, the first of three Cyclones relievers.
The Red Raiders will look to clinch the series Saturday afternoon in a 4 p.m. first pitch. The game will serve as Senior Day as Tech will honor its three seniors – Marisa Malazzo, Taylor Powell and Brittany Talley – immediately following the game.
--TEXAS TECH PRESS RELEASE--