LUBBOCK – No. 24 Texas Tech connected on four home runs, including two from Sandy James, to tie its series with Oklahoma State Sunday afternoon with an 8-4 victory at Rocky Johnson Field.
While the win itself helped Tech (39-15; 12-10) recover from being shut out the day before, it also guaranteed the Red Raiders their first .500 Big 12 record since 2001 entering Monday's regular-season finale with the Cowgirls (25-22; 8-12).
"We obviously swung the bats better today and then we didn't make many errors in the field," Tech head coach Shanon Hays said. "After yesterday, we just had to remind our team that this is a good ball club and that days like that happen. I was proud of how we rebounded and got the win today after that."
James crushed a three-run shot in the first to give the Red Raiders an early lead and then sent a solo blast just over the fence in left two innings later for her 11th home run of the season. She finished 3-for-3 at the plate with four RBI thanks to a leadoff single in the fifth.
The performance marked James' third multiple home run game of the season and the fourth of her career. It was the sixth time a Tech player had gone deep twice in a game this season as well.
James received some help in the long ball category when Ashley Hamada and Emily Bledsoe hit back-to-back home runs to right field that put Tech up 8-2 in the fourth.
The two seniors were also part of three-straight singles in the second that put the Red Raiders up 5-0 early. Holley Gentsch started the one-out run with a single to left that was immediately followed by consecutive liners through the right side from Hamada and Bledsoe.
Bledsoe's single scored pinch runner Kermitria Ward on the play that also brought home Hamada following an error at the plate. Bledsoe and Hamada both finished 2-for-3 in the game.
The Cowgirls tried to cut into the Tech lead in the third with a two-out, two-run single from Chelsea Garcia, who was thrown out on the play trying to reach second on the throw to the plate.
It was one of two times where the Red Raiders successfully hit their cutoff and got the final out of an inning on the batter trying to reach second. Tech also caught Shelby Davis in the sixth after she hit a RBI single to left.
Brittany Talley (11-4) picked up the win for the Red Raiders after going six full innings, giving up seven hits and three runs, two of which were earned. She also struck out five in the win, marking her most during Big 12 play this season.
Ashley Brokeshoulder provided an inning of relief after coming in with one out in the fifth and getting Tech out of a potential jam. The right-hander gave up three hits before Talley returned an inning later.
Simone Freeman (7-10) earned the loss after surrendering all eight runs off nine hits in the complete-game effort. She also walked four and struck out one
Monday's rubber match is scheduled for a 4 p.m. first pitch at Rocky Johnson Field as Tech will be looking for its second-straight 40-win season.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Oklahoma St. 0 0 2 0 1 1 0 4 10 1
#24 Texas Tech 3 2 1 2 0 0 X 8 9 1
WP – Talley (11-4) LP - Freeman (7-10) SV – None
Copyright 2012 KCBD. All rights reserved.