Red Raiders Conclude Road Trip at UT Arlington

Sydnie Tapia will return to her hometown of Arlington this weekend for the UTA Hilton Invitational.

Feb. 19, 2014

Texas Tech Notes  |  UTA Notes  |  Gameday Central

LUBBOCK, Texas - Texas Tech will conclude its 15-game road trip to start the season this weekend as the Red Raiders take part in the UTA Hilton Invitational which begins Thursday at Allan Saxe Field. Tech opens the three-day tournament with a 7 p.m. first pitch Thursday evening against host UT Arlington before facing Creighton, UMKC and Illinois over the following two days.

• Texas Tech enters this weekend coming off a 3-2 weekend at the Troy Cox Classic hosted by New Mexico State. It was the second-straight 3-2 weekend for the Red Raiders, who at 6-4 on the season are one win shy of their total from the first 10 games of the 2013 season.
• The Red Raiders could easily be 9-1 on the season but losses in the latter innings to Akron, Weber State and New Mexico State have hurt Texas Tech through the first 10 games.
• Despite using a lineup normally consisting of four or five freshmen, Texas Tech is once again one of the top hitting clubs in the Big 12 Conference as the Red Raiders enter this weekend ranked second in the league with a .338 batting average.
• The Red Raiders have scored 56 runs through the first 10 games which ranks tied for second in the Big 12 with Iowa State. Both teams trails Texas in runs as the Longhorns have scored 67 in 12 games already this season.
• Texas Tech has also seen success in the circle so far this season as the Red Raider pitching staff has compiled a 2.98 earned-run average. It is the lowest ERA for a Tech pitching staff since 2011 when the Red Raiders totaled a 2.15 ERA through the first 10 games.
• Led by eight stolen bases already from Sydni Emanuel, Texas Tech has been a factor on the bases more so this year than others under Shanon Hays. The Red Raiders have totaled 15 stolen bases already this season, the most through 10 games in Hays' tenure.
• The Red Raiders head into the UTA Hilton Invitational ranked second in the Big 12 with 15 stolen bases, trailing only Texas which has swiped 21 bags through 12 games this season.
• The Red Raiders boast two of the top pitchers in the Big 12 heading into this weekend as Gretchen Aucoin ranks second in the league with an 0.51 ERA while Brittany Talley is fourth with an 0.63 average.
Sydni Emanuel has led the Red Raiders from the top of the lineup with a .485 batting average that ranks third in the Big 12 entering this weekend. It is the highest a Texas Tech freshman has hit over the first 10 games in Shanon Hays' tenure.
• Emanuel has been helped offensively by fellow freshman Cassie McClure, who is hitting .450 on the year after a successful weekend at the Troy Cox Classic. Texas Tech had not previously had two freshmen hit over .400 in the first 10 games of a season during Hays' tenure.
Lea Hopson enters this weekend shared with the Big 12 lead for home runs as the junior-college transfer has belted four through 10 games this year. Hopson connected on two home runs last weekend during the Troy Cox Classic, including a three-run towering shot against New Mexico State.

• Texas Tech and UT Arlington will be meeting for the 13th time in both schools respective histories Thursday evening. The Red Raiders are 8-4 all-time against the Mavericks after winning the last six games in the series, including a 2-0 victory on Feb. 23 last season. This will be the fourth time Tech has traveled to face UTA on its home field as the Red Raiders are 2-1 in such games historically.
• For the third time this season, Texas Tech will face an opponent for the first time in school history Friday afternoon against Creighton. The Red Raiders and Bluejays will meet twice during the weekend in what is the first scheduled contest between the two schools.
• The Red Raiders and UMKC will be meeting for the second time this season and the 12th time all-time in the second game of a doubleheader on Friday. Texas Tech previously defeated the Kangaroos, 12-4, in five innings on Feb. 8, in what was the 10th-straight victory for the Red Raiders in the series. Tech is now 10-1 all-time against UMKC and 4-1 in neutral site contests.
• Texas Tech will face Illinois on Friday afternoon for the fourth time in school history and the first time since 2009. The Red Raiders swept a pair of games against the Fighting Illini on Feb. 23-25, 2007, but fell, 8-2, in the most recent meeting between the two schools on Feb. 27, 2009.

Texas Tech will see a familiar face in the opposite dugout Thursday evening in UT Arlington head coach Kristi Fox, who spent three seasons as an assistant coach with the Red Raiders from 2010-12. Fox helped lead the Red Raiders to three NCAA Regional appearances during her tenure before being named UTA's head coach following the 2012 season. Tech head coach Shanon Hays has faced his former assistant once as the Red Raiders handed UTA a 2-0 loss on Feb. 23 last season in San Marcos, Texas.

The trip to Arlington will be a coming home for several Red Raiders who hail from the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Texas Tech boasts four players from the DFW metroplex in Ashley Fultz (Flower Mound), Brittany Lee (Keller), Sydnie Tapia (Arlington) and Susan Welborn (North Richland Hills). This is Tech's first trip back to the DFW area since playing three games at UT Arlington on Feb. 27-28, 2010, where the Red Raiders closed the trip 3-0 with wins over Texas Southern, Wichita State and the host Mavericks.

When Texas Tech head coach signed Sydni Emanuel, he knew he likely had a top of the lineup type hitter who would bring a different dynamic to the lineup. How quick she could make that impact was a factor he likely couldn't determine. Through 10 games, though, Emanuel has likely exceeded expectations as she is third in the Big 12 Conference with a .485 batting average and among the league leaders in hits, total bases, walks and stolen bases. The Missouri City, Texas native has been a factor on the bases, swiping eight bags while laying down four bunt singles and nine infield hits, all team highs.

What Brittany Talley has done through her first four starts of the 2014 season has been quite impressive. The left-hander improved to 3-0 last weekend with a victory over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi where she allowed just one run off five hits while striking out four. The senior's 3-0 record to this point is remarkable knowing the Red Raiders have scored only two runs in each of her four starts this season. Talley has given up just two runs in 22.1 innings, giving her an 0.61 earned-run average that currently ranks fourth in the Big 12 entering this weekend.

Brittany Talley hasn't been the only Red Raider with an impressive opening two weekends of the season. Gretchen Aucoin started off the year by not allowing a single earned run in her first five appearances before giving up one this past Sunday against New Mexico State. She enters this weekend with a team-leading 0.51 ERA that ranks second in the Big 12. Aucoin has been particularly effective late in games, recording two saves already this season which is tied for the most in the conference with Baylor's Liz Paul. The Ocean Springs, Miss. native now ranks tied for fifth all-time at Texas Tech with four career saves. She is one of two Red Raiders to appear in at least six games in the circle this season as well.

Texas Tech's ability to steal bases was on full display during the opening two weekends as the Red Raiders swiped 15 alone over 10 games. Sydni Emanuel led all players with eight stolen bases while Lea Hopson has added four to go along with one each from Brittany Lee, Camaury Washington and Brooke Scott. Tech enters this weekend ranked second in the Big 12 for stolen bases, trailing only Texas which has stolen 21 over 12 games this season. It is the most stolen bases through 10 games in a season in Shanon Hays' tenure with the Red Raiders.



Follow us!