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January 27, 1997

Softball Begins Second Season With Road Trip

The Red Raider softball team will begin their 1997 season with road games against Stephen F. Austin on Saturday, Feb. 1 and Sam Houston State on Feb. 2.

Saturday, Tech will play a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m. then travel to --- to play another doubleheader beginning at noon.

The Ladyjacks return seven letterwinners from last season's 12-39 squad. At the top of that list is Tina Karnstadt, who batted .342 last season. Karnstadt also had a .903 fielding percentage during the 1996 season. Stephen F. Austin's top pitcher is Karen Lundstedt, who had an ERA of 2.77 last season. SFA holds a 2-0 series record over Tech. Last season they defeated the Red Raiders 0-2 and 3-5.

Sam Houston State returns six letterwinners and five starters from last season's 23-25 squad. The Lady Kats took fifth in the Southland Conference. Angela Aguilar is the Lady Kats top returner. The sophomore infielder hit .347 last season and led the team in stolen bases with 13. also returning is sophomore Leah Johnson. The pitcher had an ERA of 3.26 last season, while hurling 44 strikeouts and finishing the season with a record of 14-12. This will be the first meeting between Texas Tech and Sam Houston State.

A look at fall action

At the Big 12 Preview Tournament in Kansas City, Tech defeated in-state rivals Texas and Texas A&M. The Red Radiers then played Nebraska, who qualified for the NCAA Regional playoffs last season. Tech battled the Cornhuskers to the end, but loss a close one 4-5.

Prior to tournament action, Tech took home championship titles at the Texas Tech Red Raider Classic and the Texas A&M tournament in College Station.

The 1997 Red Raiders

The Red Raiders return seven letterwinners from last season's squad, while adding 11 newcomers. Bringing a year of Big 12 experience to the team are pitchers Jenny Cannon, Emily Hayes and Danielle Brady. Outfielder Lora DeLashmutt, infielders Jessica Wimpy and Kim Tillett also return, while catcher Jessica Karenke will return behind the plate.

New to the Red Raider squad are a host of talented freshman and experienced transfers. Denise Jackson and Kim Martinez join the team from the softball rich Sacramento City College in Sacramento, Calif., while Stephanie Walls comes to Tech from the University of New Mexico. Freshman include Christine Munoz, Beth Hurley, Christina Jenkins, Paula Workman, Crystal Morgan, Stephenie McCoy, Tamara Harrington and Ellen Middleton.

Head Coach Renee Luers-Gillispie

Returning for her second season as head coach is Renee Luers-Gillispie. A 1984 graduate of West Texas State University in Canyon, Texas, Gillispie has a record of 137-125-1 over her six year career.

Prior to coming to Tech, Gillispie was head coach at Bradley University in Peoria, Ill. There she had the highest winning percentage in the school's softball history. She took a team with only 13 wins in 1992 and reconstructed a program that boasted 35 wins in 1995.

Gillispie performed the same program turnaround during her stay at Joliet College in Joliet, Ill. During her two year stint, Gillispie took a team that was 2-29 and improved their record to an impressive 32-12 before leaving for Bradley.

Gillispie began her softball career as a pitcher from Danville, Iowa. She then went on to play at Kirkwood Community College where she pitched in two NJCAA National Championship Tournaments. In 1981, Gillispie was ranked ninth nationally in NJCAA pitching. From there, she then went to West Texas State University. In Divison I play at WTSU, Gillispie recorded nine career pitching records, including most wins, most strikeouts and most saves.

Assisting Gillispie this season are coaches Bobby Reeves and John Harris.

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