By Andrew Glover
STILLWATER, Okla. —
Texas Tech and Oklahoma State entered the Big 12 softball opener with potent offenses. Thursday at Cowgirl Stadium, Tech’s offense was the only one rolling as it hit three home runs in a 10-0 victory.
“You have bad games,” coach Rich Wieligman said. “Nothing went right tonight. You got to move on.”
The Lady Raiders (27-15, 1-0), who have outscored opponents 47-11 in the first inning, continued their success as three of their first four batters reached base. Sandy James singled to center to plate leadoff hitter Mikey Kenney. Texas Tech sent seven batters to the plate.
In the top of the third, the Lady Raiders’ top of the order plagued the Cowgirls again. Kenney hammered the second pitch of the inning over the fence in right-center field. Katelyn Williams struck out for what would have been the second out except she reached first as the ball went past Oklahoma State catcher Taylor Woodall. James followed with a single. With a full count, designated hitter Adriana Perez belted a three-run home run over the fence in left field, increasing the Lady Raiders’ lead to 5-0. Kenney hit another home run in the fourth inning.
Espinosa gave up season highs in hits (nine) and runs (10, with six earned). The senior tied a season high with three walks. Wieligman said Espinosa struggled hitting her spots.
“It seemed like when she did they got a hold of it,” Wieligman said. “It wasn’t her best game.”
The Cowgirls (22-14, 0-1), who scored more than 10 runs in their last two games, were held in check. Senior Amy Graham got the only hits for the Cowgirls with two singles. Oklahoma State only had four baserunners. Wieligman said they didn’t get good at-bats.
“We didn’t string any hits together,” Wieligman said. “We were trying to fight back and we just got of out sorts. We didn’t have as good at-bats as we’ve been having. We fought uphill all night.”
Graham said Texas Tech pitcher Cara Custer’s drop pitch at times threw them off.
“They were hitting at it low and weren’t waiting for her to bring something up,” Graham said. “It was just a bad day for everyone and we will do good tomorrow.”
Wieligman said the loss was frustrating, especially with the prior success his team had offensively.
“Nobody likes to lose,” Wieligman said. “I told our team, one to nothing, nine to nothing, it’s a loss and let’s move forward.”
The Lady Raiders clinched the game in the sixth inning. An error by Gessenia DeLaCruz allowed Samantha Camello to score. Perez added to her RBI total with a single to center, scoring Shelby Johnson and Katelyn Williams.
The Cowgirls play Game 2 of the series at 5:30 p.m. Friday.
Cowgirl Notes: Junior Ari Morrison saw her first action since a Feb. 15 game against Iowa as she pinch hit in the bottom of the fifth. Morrison walked and is recovering from a knee injury.
There are ties between Wieligman and Texas Tech coach Shanon Hays as both were graduates of Lubbock Christian University. Wieligman played baseball and was a member of the 1983 NAIA championship team coached by Hays’ dad, Larry. Wieligman was an assistant coach for Texas Tech softball in 2001 and 2002. During that period, Hays was an assistant men’s basketball coach at Texas Tech.