ARLINGTON, Texas – Gretchen Aucoin carried Texas Tech to its first extra-inning victory of the season Saturday morning as the Red Raiders edged Illinois, 4-3, in nine innings at Allan Saxe Field.
Aucoin struck out a season-high eight hitters while allowing just one hit in four innings of relief as the Red Raiders prevailed off a Cassie McClure sacrifice fly in the top half of the ninth.
The extra-inning contest was the first for Tech (10-4) this season and its first since falling, 2-1, in 10 innings on March 29 last year at Oklahoma State. Tech is now 9-5 all-time in extra-inning games under fifth-year head coach Shanon Hays.
McClure’s fly ball to center field in the ninth was deep enough to score pinch runner Sarah Weber from third, giving Aucoin just enough room to seal the win as the right-hander retired Illinois (8-3) in order in the bottom half of the frame.
Aucoin (3-0) picked up the win in relief of Brittany Talley, who allowed just two runs off five hits over five innings. It was the second no-decision for Talley already this season as she has not allowed more than two runs in any of her six starts.
In addition to her work in the circle, Aucoin also have paved the way for Tech offensively, drilling a RBI double off the wall in left center that scored the game’s first run in the fifth inning. She plated Lea Hopson, who started off the frame with a single to right center.
Pinch runner Brooke Scott gave Tech a 2-0 lead moments later as she scored off a Samantha Camello sacrifice fly to left field. The Red Raiders had not previously recorded two sacrifice flies in a game since facing Northern Colorado on March 3 last year.
Illinois tied the game in the bottom half of the inning thanks to a RBI single from Allie Bauch and then a run-scoring groundout by Alex Booker. Bauch finished 2-for-4 atop the Illinois lineup.
Shelese Arnold (3-2) suffered the loss for Illinois in relief of Brandi Needham. Arnold entered at the start of the eighth and failed to allow a hit while striking out two in two innings of work.
Tech extended its winning streak to a season-high four games with the victory. The Red Raiders close the UTA Hilton Invitational with second game of a doubleheader against Creighton.