Hopson Delivers Key Home Run to Complete Sweep of North Texas|
March 19, 2014
LUBBOCK, Texas - Lee Hopson broke up a tie ballgame with a two-out solo home run in the bottom of the sixth inning Wednesday night as Texas Tech swept its doubleheader against North Texas with a 5-4 victory at Rocky Johnson Field.
The victory followed a 5-1 win over the Mean Green (19-10) from earlier in the evening as the Red Raiders (24-9) extended their home winning streak to 10 games, their longest run since the 2011 season.
"I was probably proudest of our team tonight for how they came out and competed after a long road trip," Tech head coach Shanon Hays said. "We had several key hits in both games tonight, including Lea's home run, and we're going to have to win a few games like that. It was nice to see her come up with a big hit for us in a key moment."
Hopson's sixth home run of the season could not have come at a better time for the Red Raiders after North Texas tied the game in the top half of the sixth off a Brooke Foster RBI single.
The Mean Green could not respond in the seventh as Tech turned to Gretchen Aucoin out of the bullpen. Aucoin took little time to strike out the side for her fourth save of the season, matching the Tech single-season and career records for the category in the process.
Aucoin's three strikeouts followed a career outing in the opener where she struck out 13, the most for a Tech pitcher this season and ever in Hays' tenure. Each of the final eight outs Aucoin recorded came via strikeouts as well.
Hopson finished 2-for-3 at the plate as she also ignited the Tech offense in the third with her second triple of the season that eventually led to a four-run inning. The third inning was particularly kind to the Red Raiders all night as Tech scored four runs in the frame during both games.
Kristi Belshe scored Hopson with her first of two hits in the game as she lined a RBI single just inside the left-field line. Kierra Miles followed with a RBI single of her own before Aucoin helped the cause with a two-run triple that landed at the wall in left center.
North Texas responded with a run in the fourth off a RBI ground out from Bryana Wade. The Mean Green led 2-0 early off Foster's bat as she homered to lead off the game and then added a RBI single in the second as part of a 3-for-4 game that included three RBI.
Foster's single in the second ended Tech starter Brittany Talley's day as Hays turned to Cara Custer in relief. Custer (8-4) picked up the win after allowing two runs off six hits and five strikeouts in her 4.1 innings.
Kenzie Grimes (1-1) took the loss for the Mean Green in relief as she tossed the final 3.1 innings, allowing only the home run to Hopson during that span. She replaced Madison Thompson, who surrendered the first four runs off six hits and two walks.
The Red Raiders return to the diamond on Friday evening to start a three-game series with Texas State. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Rocky Johnson Field.