Red Raiders open 2014 season Thursday evening with 5 p.m. first pitch against Southeastern Louisiana
Red Raiders open the season Thursday evening at Southeastern Louisiana
Texas Tech staff will hold hitting, pitching and fielding sessions for four straight weeks
Texas Tech opens season Friday with doubleheader against Central Florida and No. 18 Louisville
Texas Tech adds former Jacksonville ace as the program's new volunteer assistant coach
SB: Tech Wins 6-5 at Texas
Texas Tech sophomore pitcher Gretchen Aucoin had quite a week during March. She struck out 16 batters in one series for a win and a save and then launched a game-winning grand slam in the next to capture another win for her team. Not bad for a girl who wasn't even sure she would play college softball.
Take a behind-the-scenes look at Texas Tech Softball with Shanon Hays
Raider Power goes inside with Texas Tech softball to visit with associate head coach Aly Sartini.
Texas Tech vs. Oklahoma State - Sunday game
Texas Tech vs. Sam Houston State (March 1)
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Texas Tech vs. Rhode Island
2014 Texas Tech Softball Headshots
Aly Sartini enters the 2014 season in her fifth season in the Texas Tech dugout and third full year in the role of associate head coach after earning the promotion midway through the 2011 season.
Regarded as one of the top assistant coaches nationally, Sartini serves as Tech's pitching coach while also coordinating the program's recruiting efforts. She also oversees the program's academic and travel functions as well.
In only three seasons, Sartini has helped push the Red Raiders to three NCAA Regional appearances and four 30-win seasons, including a 42-16 mark in 2011 that ranked as the highest winning percentage in school history.
Part of the reason for Tech's transformation into one of the nation's top programs has come from its performance in the circle. The Red Raiders are 151-77 during Sartini's tenure, a .662 winning percentate, as the Tech pitching staff has accounted for 41 total shutouts and three no-hitters.
Sartini inherited a staff in 2010 that had posted a 5.01 earned-run average the year before and immediately cut that total in half. Led by right-hander Ashly Jacobs, Tech finished with a 2.41 ERA in 2010, the school's lowest average since the 2001 season.
The Red Raiders gave up only 310 hits that year, marking the fewest surrendered since the 2000 season and the second-fewest in the Big 12 era. Most importantly, behind its pitching staff, Tech was able to break into the postseason for the first time since 2001 with a selection to the NCAA Palo Alto Regional.
Jacobs, a senior in 2010, finished her best season in a Tech uniform under Sartini's guidance. The right-hander posted a career-low 2.01 ERA which was the lowest for a Tech pitcher since Amanda Renfro in 2001. Two of Tech's other pitchers that season, Ashley Brokeshoulder, and Karli Merlich, also recorded ERAs under 3.00 as well.
Following Jacobs' departure, Sartini turned to a group of newcomers in 2011, notably freshman Brittany Talley and junior-college transfer Kelsey Dennis. The duo combined for an ERA just under 3.00 while posting a 27-13 overall record.
Talley and fellow freshman Kermitria Ward both tossed no-hitters that year, becoming the first two players to do so since 2001. Tech had only recorded multiple no-hitters twice in a season once before which came in 1999.
Sartini went with another young rotation in 2012 as Talley and freshman Cara Custer saw the majority of the action en route to leading Tech to a 2.59 ERA and a 41-17 record. Talley and Custer accounted for 37 of Tech's wins, seven of which that came against ranked opponents, including No. 5 Oklahoma, No. 9 Missouri, and No. 5 Texas.
Custer finished the year 25-11 overall, marking the most wins by a Tech freshman and the highest winning percentage in school history for a pitcher with a minimum of 25 decisions. She was also among the all-time greats in single-season appearances, games started, complete games, shutouts, strikeouts and innings pitched.
The Spanaway Lake, Wash. native ranked fourth in the Big 12 for wins as she was only the second Tech pitcher to reach 20 victories in a season, joining Renfro, who accomplished the feat three times from 1998-2001. Renfro is the only player to have her number retired in program history.
For the first time in her tenure, Tech returned the bulk of its pitching rotation in 2013 and added to it with Mississippi native Gretchen Aucoin. The Red Raiders totaled 284 strikeouts during the season, the most under Sartini and the most since 2004.
Both Custer and Talley entered the Tech career record book in 2013 as the duo is already among the top-five pitchers all-time for wins, saves and ERA. They will both enter the 2014 season in the top 10 for games started, complete games, innings pitched, appearances and strikeouts as well.
Sartini joined head coach Shanon Hays at Tech after a successful five-year stint at her alma mater, Arkansas. The Razorbacks, playing in one of the nation's toughest softball leagues, the Southeastern Conference (SEC), earned consecutive NCAA postseason berths during Sartini's final two seasons in 2008 and 2009.
At Arkansas, Sartini worked with the team's pitchers, hitters and infielders, while also directing the program's camps and various business functions. In her final season, 20 members of the Arkansas softball team earned academic honors, including three who were perfect in the classroom under Sartini's guidance as academic coordinator for the squad.
Sartini began her coaching career at Birmingham-Southern College where she spent three seasons as an assistant coach building the program.
A member of the inaugural Arkansas team in 1997, she played three infield positions - second, third and shortstop - and was available to pitch at a moment's notice, helping lead the Razorbacks to three SEC tournaments the program's first NCAA Regional selection in 2000.
An All-SEC selection in 1999, Sartini still ranks second all-time in double plays turned and third for assists in Arkansas' history and ranks near the top of the record books for walks and sacrifices. She is part of the infield combination that set the NCAA record at the time for double plays in a game with four turned on March 21, 1999.
The Galt, Calif. native graduated from Arkansas with a bachelor's degree in agriculture, food and life science with an emphasis in education, communication and technology in 2000.
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