LUBBOCK, Texas – Looking to follow a milestone season in 2019, Texas Tech head softball coach Adrian Gregory unveiled the Red Raiders' challenging 2020 campaign which features 16 home contests at Rocky Johnson Field and 23 games against 2019 NCAA Tournament teams.
The Red Raiders will go head-to-head against 16 opponents who reached the 2019 NCAA Tournament, including half of the field at the Women's College World Series. Highlighting the 2020 schedule is the St. Pete/Clearwater Elite Invitational and Judi Garman Classic, where Texas Tech be tested against a number of the nation's premier softball programs.
"This year's schedule has a great mix of things," Gregory explained. "It contains top-20 talent, exciting road trips, early-season TV games, as well as great contests and opponents day in and day out. I believe it's exactly what we need to prepare us for conference and postseason play.
"The thing I am looking forward to the most in our schedule is watching our young talent perform and mature. We will have many opportunities to grow ourselves up and that will be the most rewarding part! "
Texas Tech is set to open up its 2020 slate against Houston Baptist and Jackson State at the Big Easy Classic on Feb. 7. While in New Orleans, games against Central Arkansas and 2019 NCAA Regional opponent Louisiana Tech* will take place the following day. The Red Raiders will finish up opening-weekend action with a Feb. 9 contest against Montana.
From there, the Red Raiders will remain on the road and will fly to Clearwater, Fla., for the prestigious St. Pete/Clearwater Elite Invitational on Feb. 13-16. The top-tier tournament will begin with a Thursday showdown against South Carolina* before facing James Madison* the following day. Back-to-back games against Georgia* and South Florida* await the Red Raiders on Saturday (Feb. 15) and Texas Tech will close out the tournament against Washington^, a 2019 WCWS participant, on Sunday (Feb. 16).
Following its time in the Sunshine State, Texas Tech is set to return to Lubbock for its home opener against Kent State on Tuesday, Feb. 18, at Rocky Johnson Field.
The Red Raiders' time at home will be short-lived as the team will make a trip down south for the 2020 Houston Challenge. Texas Tech will open the tournament with a pair of games against Princeton and Syracuse on Feb. 21 before battling Louisiana Tech* and Houston* the following day. The Red Raiders will finish the tournament on Sunday, Feb. 22, with a second contest against Syracuse.
Another tough tournament will begin on Thursday, Mar. 27, as the Red Raiders are set to kick off the Judi Garman Classic against 2019 Regional foe LSU* in Fullerton, Calif. Texas Tech will face host Cal-State Fullerton* two hours later and will return to the field on Friday, Feb. 28, to face BYU*. The Red Raiders will open the final day of the tournament (Feb. 29) against Michigan* and a contest against Grand Canyon later that evening will conclude the Red Raiders' three-day stint in California.
Texas Tech will open up March action with its annual Jeannine McHaney Memorial Classic, where the Red Raiders will play host to Delaware State, Farleigh Dickinson and Marist on Mar. 6-8. Following the conclusion of the tournament, Gregory's squad will have a quick turnaround as the Red Raiders will trek to Honolulu, Hawaii, for the Rainbow Wahine Classic. Playing five games from Mar. 11-14, Texas Tech will go head-to-head against host Hawaii, Drexel and 2019 WCWS participant Minnesota^.
"We chose to go to the St. Pete/Clearwater Elite Invitational and the Judi Garman Classic to face elite competition and prepare ourselves to see the best pitching and hitting in the country," Gregory added. "The competition in Hawaii will add more of the same. We will enter conference battle-tested and that will be the best preparation we can have for Big 12 play."
Texas Tech's always-challenging Big 12 slate begins at home as the Red Raiders are set to host the Iowa State Cyclones on Mar. 20-22 at Rocky Johnson Field. The Red Raiders will play on the road the next two weeks with a pair of three-game series at Kansas (Mar. 27-29) and in-state rival Texas* (Apr. 3-4).
The Red Raiders are set to return to Lubbock the second week of April for a six-game homestand at Rocky Johnson Field. Texas Tech will host Baylor on Easter weekend (Apr. 9-11) before welcoming the Oklahoma State Cowgirls^ to town on Apr. 17-19. The Red Raiders will then conclude Big 12 conference play with a three-game stand at Oklahoma^ on Apr. 24-26.
In their final home game of the season, a matchup against New Mexico on Wednesday, Apr. 29, will serve as senior day for the Red Raiders. Three days later, Texas Tech will embark on one final road trip of the regular season with a quick trip to Eugene, Ore. The Red Raiders will open up its last three games with contests against Grand Canyon and host Oregon on May 2 before ending the regular season against the Ducks the following day.
"The strategy in scheduling this year was to play elite talent day in and day out, which often means traveling," Gregory said. "We will play half of our conference games on the road and at the Big 12 Championship in Oklahoma City. In order for our squad to succeed in those environments, we have to prepare for them. Our road schedule will provide the exact scenario and we are very excited about that!"
The Phillips 66 Big 12 Softball Championship is set to begin on Friday, May 8, and bracket play will continue on May 9.
Texas Tech returns the bulk of its roster, including All-American Karli Hamilton, redshirt junior Heaven Burton and pitchers Erin Edmoundson and Missy Zoch. The Red Raiders will throw transfers GiGi Wall and Maddie Westmoreland, as well as seven talented freshmen, into the mix this season. For all the latest information on the Texas Tech softball team, visit TexasTech.com or follow @TexasTechSB on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.