Las Vegas, Nevada – The Texas Tech Red Raiders (1-0) opened the 2016 season with a strong 7-3 victory over UNLV (0-1) at the Sporto Kick Off Classic at Eller Media Stadium in Las Vegas, Nev.
“I think first of all we executed in every facite of the game,” said head coach Adrian Greggory. “Every play that we needed to perfect I thought we did and with that came a win. Our bats heated up there towards the end, but I thought that the mentality when we took the field was just on point.”
Texas Tech got off to a great start as Kiani Ramsey led off the game with a triple followed by Jordan Bettiol walk. Unfortunately nothing would come of the early offensive display as the Rebels showed discipline to see out a double steal attempt and throw Ramsey out at home plate while a Janine Petmecky strikeout would end the inning for the Red Raiders.
Texas Tech would have to wait until the fifth inning to crack the run colum. Ashley Fultz led off the top half of the inning with a single, but then advanced to second on a throwing error by the Rebel third baseman. She was quickly moved up a bag as Jessica Hartwell was able to beat out a bunt single. The Rebels tried to squash the action in the inning by picking up a strikeout for the first out, but the Red Raiders would plate a run off a Brooke Scott single. From there a double steal and a pair of errors by the Rebels would lead to a three run inning for Tech.
“I think we never let up,” added Gregory. “We came out and took this game from the beginning and never let up. We were always looking for that extra base, we were always looking to create some pressure. We had kids taking extra bases when they saw balls in the dirt and that is what they are taught to do and that is what they did. When you start to trust your instincts the game gets really fun because all you are doing is putting pressure on constantly.”
Texas Tech extended its lead in the sixth as Kierra Miles connected on her first home run since April 19, 2015, scoring Bettiol who reached earlier in the inning on an infield single.
UNLV would answer back in the sixth plating three runs of their own off four hits to bring the score to 5-3 heading into the final frame.
Texas Tech would tack on two more runs as freshman Karli Hamilton, who entered the game in a pitch hitting role, connected on her first collegiate career home run to extend the Tech lead to 7-3.
“It was great,” “said Gregory. “To be a freshman and to not start and to come off the bench and have that at bat. You could tell from her first two swings that she was right there and that she wasn’t going to get cheated. It started with how she approached the plate and then you get the production. Her approach was the thing that I was most impressed with and I am so excited for her. I think she is a great ball player and will have a great career.”
The win by the Red Raiders improved their record in season openers to 7-1 in the past eight seasons and 8-7 in the last fifteen road starts. The win also pulled the series record between the Rebels and Red Raiders to 5-5 all-time including a 2-0 mark in the last two meetings.
The Red Raiders will return to action Friday morning as they will play Utah Valley at 11:00 a.m. central time in the second game of the Sportco Kick Off Classic. Fans can follow all of the action from Texas Tech softball by following @TTUSB on twitter.