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Red Raiders Host No. 17 Texas A&M in Midweek Series

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The Red Raiders host Texas A&M for the final time this week.

April 16, 2012

Tech Notes |  A&M Notes |  Gameday Central |  video camera Series Preview

LUBBOCK, Texas - Texas Tech hosts in-state rival Texas A&M for the final time as Big 12 Conference foes this week as the 17th-ranked Aggies travel to Lubbock for a three-game midweek series that begins Tuesday evening at Rocky Johnson Field.

TECH POSTS THIRD-STRAIGHT 30-WIN SEASON
With 12 regular season games remaining, Tech has already reached the 30-win mark for the third-straight year, marking the first time since 1997-99 that the program has done so. The Red Raiders currently stand 34-10 overall and 7-5 in Big 12 play entering the Missouri series this weekend. After opening the year 1-4 at the Arizona State Kajikawa Classic, Tech has won 33 of 38 games since that point, with wins in six of nine contests against ranked opponents.

INSIDE THE TEXAS A&M SERIES
The Red Raiders will be looking to end an eight-game losing streak to the Aggies as Tech's last win in the series came in a 4-3 victory on May 12, 2007 during the Big 12 Tournament. The Aggies control the all-time series with a 25-11 advantage, including a 12-4 mark in games played in Lubbock. Texas A&M has swept Tech in three of the last four series played in Lubbock with the lone exception being in 2003 when the Red Raiders claimed a 4-1 victory in the first game of a March 19 doubleheader. The win marked Tech's lone victory in the last eight contests between the two schools. This week's series marks the final time any Texas A&M team will travel to Lubbock for the immediate future.

ON DECK
Tech faces yet another quick turnaround as the Red Raiders open a three-game weekend series with Baylor Friday evening at Rocky Johnson Field. The series opens with a 5 p.m. first pitch Friday and concludes with 12 p.m. starts on Saturday and Sunday.

LOOKING BACK
The Red Raiders completed their seven-game stretch against top-10 opponents last weekend with a series win at No. 9 Missouri. Tech took the series opener, 2-0, behind a one-hit shutout from Brittany Talley before coming back the following day with a 5-4 victory. Missouri salvaged the series late Saturday afternoon with a 4-1 walk-off victory. Dating back to 2001, Tech had not won two or more games in a true road contest against a ranked opponent prior to the Missouri series.

RED RAIDERS COMPLETE SEVEN-GAME STRETCH AGAINST THE TOP 10
The Missouri series marked the end of a seven-game stretch where all Tech faced was top-10 opponents. The Red Raiders went 4-3 during that time with three of the four wins coming on the road. Tech took one-of-three games at then-No. 5 Oklahoma before coming back with a midweek win over current No. 5 Texas and then a series win against the 9th-ranked Tigers last weekend in Columbia, Mo.

TEXAS TECH MOVES UP TO NO. 23 IN RPI RANKINGS
After taking three of four games last week all against top-10 opponents, Tech jumped five spots in the RPI rankings (ratings percentage index) this week, moving to No. 23 in the poll that is widely used to determine postseason selections and seeding. The Red Raiders began the year at No. 29 before moving up a spot just a week ago. Tech ranks fifth among Big 12 schools in the new poll, trailing Texas (No. 5), Oklahoma (No. 7), Texas A&M (No. 13), and Missouri (No. 16). The Red Raiders wrapped the 2011 season ranked 30th in the poll, earning a NCAA Regional selection for the second-straight year in the process.

PROTECT THE ROCK
Through 13 games this year, Tech has successfully protected its home field as the Red Raiders are a perfect 13-0 at Rocky Johnson Field heading into the Texas A&M series. That 13-game winning streak marks the third-longest active home winning streak in the country, trailing only Louisiana-Lafayette's streak of 36-straight and Boise State's run of 26-straight. The Red Raiders entered last weekend's series at Missouri with the fourth-longest streak as the Tigers had previously won 22-consecutive games at University Field prior to Friday night's series-opening loss.

TALLEY TOSSES ONE-HIT SHUTOUT AGAINST TIGERS
Brittany Talley possibly tossed the greatest performance of her young career last Friday night as the sophomore limited Missouri to one hit in the complete-game shutout. To make it more impressive, Talley kept the Tigers off the bases while only recording one strikeout in the outing. Missouri had only two hitters reach base thanks to a first-inning triple and a seventh-inning fielding error. Talley wrapped the weekend with five shutout innings in the series finale before a leadoff home run in the sixth ended her day. She surrendered just six total hits and the one run in 12.0 total innings.

RED RAIDERS AGAINST RANKED OPPONENTS THIS SEASON
Following the series win at No. 9 Missouri last weekend, the Red Raiders are now 6-7 on the year against ranked opponents, including a 4-6 mark against top-10 teams. Tech is 6-3 in its last nine contests against ranked opponents which began with a March 12 doubleheader sweep of No. 23 New Mexico. The Red Raiders went 4-3 over the past two weeks against the likes of then-No. 5 Oklahoma, current No. 5 Texas and the 9th-ranked Tigers. Tech is also 9-7 on the year against teams currently ranked or receiving votes in either poll.

TECH OFF TO BEST START TO BIG 12 PLAY IN SCHOOL HISTORY
The Red Raiders' 7-5 record in Big 12 play marks the program's best start through 12 games in school history. The previous best start through that span was a 6-6 run in 2001 that led to a 10-8 record and an NCAA Regional selection. No Tech team has won more than 10 league games in school history as the feat has been accomplished just twice with the 1998 team finishing with a 10-7 record.

CUSTER RECORDS MOST WINS FOR A TECH PITCHER SINCE RENFRO
Despite being in only her first collegiate season, Cara Custer has already achieved as much success as any other Tech pitcher in the last decade. The freshman, who is 20-7 on the year, is only the second Tech pitcher in school history to reach the 20-win mark in a single season, joining the great Amanda Renfro who accomplished the feat three times from 1998-2001. Renfro is the only Tech player to have a number retired after she totaled 93 wins from 1998-2001, leading Tech to two postseason appearances during that span as well. Custer needs just need one win to tie Renfro's total of 21 victories from her 1998 sophomore season that ranks third in the single-season record book. Her 20 wins also already rank eighth in the career record book as well. Custer enters this week tied for second in the Big 12 for wins alongside Oklahoma's Keilani Ricketts as the pair trail Texas A&M's Mel Dumezich by one victory.

TECH APPROACHING HOME RUN RECORD FROM A YEAR AGO
With 12 games still remaining in the regular season, the Red Raiders have a chance to snap last year's single-season home run record after a successful March left Tech just six shy of its total from 2011. Tech, which hit 33 home runs during the month of March alone, has hit 54 now on the year, one more than its total through 44 games a year ago. The 53 home runs already mark the second-most in program history as Tech had not hit more than 40 balls out of the park prior to the 2011 season. During Tech's 13-game winning streak that ended at Oklahoma, the Red Raiders totaled 27 home runs during a stretch that begun with the New Mexico doubleheader on March 12.

RED RAIDER DEFENSE RANKS 12TH NATIONALLY
With home runs leaving the ballpark in record numbers again this year, it can be easy to forget one key improvement for the Red Raiders this year - the defense. Despite three errors last weekend at Missouri, the Red Raiders remained in the top 15 of the NCAA rankings for fielding percentage as Tech is now 12th in the country with a .975 average. Tech currently ranks first among Big 12 schools in fielding percentage and assists and just three shy of Texas A&M for the conference high in putouts.

INDIVIDUAL NOTES
Mikey Kenney remains among the Big 12 leaders in stolen bases this week as the junior is 12-for-13 in attempts this year and 31-for-32 over her career. She is three stolen bases shy of her total from a year ago where she went 15-for-15 in attempts.
• Kenney and Emily Bledsoe both snapped the school's career record for runs scored against the Cyclones, passing Paula Workman who came across 135 times from 1997-2000. Kenney ended the weekend with 139 runs scored with Bledsoe trailing just one run behind.
• After her sixth inning double in the series finale at Missouri, Bledsoe needs just three more to enter the top 10 in Big 12 history. Already the school's all-time leader in the category, Bledsoe has totaled eight doubles on the year and 46 doubles over her career.
• Bledsoe moved to third all-time in career hits last weekend at OU as passed current volunteer assistant coach Leah Legler. Bledsoe now has 189 hits over four seasons, 11 shy of Ashley Parker who totaled 200 hits during the 2004-07 seasons.
Cydney Allen made her first start of the year as the designated player in the middle game of the Missouri series, replacing Adriana Perez in the lineup. Allen is hitting .364 (4-for-11) over Tech's last seven games with a home run and three RBI.
Emily Cooper connected on her first career extra-base hit and first RBI all in one swing against Missouri as she opened Tech's scoring in its 5-4 victory over the Tigers with a double to left field. Cooper has started each of the past seven games in left field.
• After opening Big 12 play with a hot bat at the plate, Adriana Perez has slumped as of late as she is 1-for-15 in the past seven games with only two RBI during that stretch.
• Perez' 13 home runs on the year are tied for fourth on the school's single-season chart with Cydney Allen's total from last year while her 44 RBI currently rank in a tie for fifth with Montana Patin (2008).


 

 

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