LAWRENCE, Kan. – Texas Tech battled back from an out away from defeat Friday evening to force extra innings before scoring five runs in the ninth and hanging on just long enough to clinch its series with Kansas after a 9-7 victory at Arrocha Ballpark.
The Red Raiders (32-15; 5-6), who are now 2-0 in extra-inning games this year, clinched their second-straight series victory with the win, marking the first time Tech has claimed consecutive series since the Big 12 turned to three-game sets in 2012.
“This was an unbelievable win for this team,” Tech head coach Shanon Hays. “We battled back from an out away from losing and never gave up. That’s what we’ve been looking for in this team all year and they’ve played well these past couple weeks. Hopefully we can keep it going tomorrow, but I’m proud of this group tonight.”
Brittany Lee opened Tech’s scoring in the ninth, crushing a RBI double to left field that scored Kierra Miles all the way from first as Hays called a slash-and-run on the pitch. It was the second and most important hit of the day for Lee, who finished 2-for-4 at the plate.
The Red Raiders loaded the bases with two outs later in the inning before Kristi Belshe uncorked a three-run double that proved to be instrumental down the stretch as Kansas scored three runs of its own in the bottom half of the frame.
Gretchen Aucoin added a RBI single immediately after to score Belshe in her second run-scoring hit of the game. Aucoin gave Tech the lead in the opening frame, crushing a three-run homer to left center that was her fifth of the season and third already during Big 12 play.
Kansas (29-15; 3-5) had a chance to win the game in the seventh, leading 4-3 with two outs in the inning before Sydni Emanuel tied the game on her own. Emanuel, who singled to start the rally for her second hit in the game, took off for second and was able to make it home just in time after the throw sailed off her back and into left field.
The Jayhawks cut into Tech’s early lead with a run in both the first and second innings and then took the lead with a pair of unearned runs in the fourth following a pair of Red Raider errors.
Chaley Brickey finished 3-for-4 to lead the Jayhawks at the plate, driving a RBI single to left in the fourth before connecting on a two-run homer in the ninth that was her second long ball already in the series.
Kansas loaded the bases with one out in the ninth before Aucoin was able to work out of the jam and secure the win in the circle. Aucoin (11-7) earned the win for Tech, her second in the series, after allowing three runs off four hits and two strikeouts in 2.1 innings.
She relieved Brittany Talley in the seventh after the southpaw kept the Red Raiders in the game with 5.1 solid innings. Talley allowed two unearned runs off just two hits during that span in relief of starter Cara Custer.
Alicia Pille (10-4) took the loss for Kansas in a valiant effort where she surrendered six runs, five of which that were earned, off seven hits and four walks while striking out nine in eight full innings. Kelsey Kessler relieved her following Lee’s RBI double in the ninth.
The Red Raiders will look for their first Big 12 series sweep of the season Sunday afternoon in a 1 p.m. first pitch at Arrocha Ballpark.
--TEXAS TECH PRESS RELEASE--