Red Raiders Hold Off Late Rally to Edge McNeese State|
March 1, 2013
LUBBOCK, Texas - After exploding for 18 runs earlier in the day, Texas Tech endured a pitchers duel in the nightcap before scoring two runs in the fifth and one in the sixth to edge McNeese State, 3-2, Friday evening at Rocky Johnson Field.
The victory completed a perfect first day of the Texas Tech Invitational for the Red Raiders (12-5), who defeated Jackson State, 18-0, in the opening game of the weekend.
"We got good pitching once again and that was key tonight," Tech head coach Shanon Hays said. "McNeese State has a really good ballclub that has played with some top teams this year and we knew this would be a tough ballgame. I was proud to see the way we competed and we'll look to do the same tomorrow."
With runs hard to come by early, Tech relied on the right arm of Cara Custer, who worked her way out of several jams to keep the Cowgirls (13-7) off the board until the seventh when McNeese scored two before leaving the bases loaded.
Custer (5-1) ended the frame with her eighth and most important strikeout of the game to pick up her fourth-straight win in as many starts. McNeese stranded 12 total runners, including the bases loaded in both the fifth and seventh innings.
Both of McNeese's runs in the seventh came unearned to Custer and reliever Brittany Talley after a two-out fielding error prolonged the inning. With the performance, Custer has now not surrendered an earned run in her last 35.2 straight innings dating back to the season-opening Sportco Kick-Off Classic in Las Vegas.
After four scoreless innings from McNeese starter Jamie Allred, Shelby Johnson put Tech on the board in the fifth with a one-out double to the wall in left center that scored Samantha Camello and then Mikey Kenney all the way from first.
Camello opened the inning with a double to the gap in right on her way to a 3-for-3 day at the plate. It matched her season high in hits from a week ago when she went 3-for-4 against Texas State.
Tech added what amounted to be a key insurance run in the sixth as a pair of McNeese fielding errors allowed Katelyn Williams to reach base and then come around to score.
Allred (5-2) took the loss in a complete-game effort where she gave up three runs, two of which were earned, off six hits and one walk. She also struck out five as well.
The Red Raiders will face McNeese State once again Saturday afternoon as Tech will open the second day of the Texas Tech Invitational against Jackson State at 1 p.m. before battling the Cowgirls in a 3:30 scheduled first pitch.