TECH POSTS THIRD-STRAIGHT 30-WIN SEASON
With three 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 38-14 overall and 11-9 in Big 12 play entering the Oklahoma State series. After opening the year 1-4 at the Arizona State Kajikawa Classic, Tech has won 37 of 47 games since that point, with wins in nine of 17 contests against ranked opponents. The Red Raiders will be looking to reach the 40-win mark for the second-straight year as well.
INSIDE THE OKLAHOMA STATE SERIES
Oklahoma State enters this weekend controlling a 26-12 all-time advantage over Texas Tech following last year's two-game sweep in Stillwater. The two teams are 6-6 against each other since 2007 with the Red Raiders going 3-1 at home during that span. Tech is just 6-11 all-time when playing the Cowgirls in Lubbock. The series marks the first time the two teams have faced each other with Tech ranked in the top 25 and Oklahoma State out of the poll. Both teams were among the top 25 during last year's series where the Cowgirls took a 2-1 eight-inning contest in the opener and then a 7-1 rout in the finale. Head coach Shanon Hays is 2-2 all-time against Oklahoma State.
The Red Raiders will learn their postseason fate on May 13 when the NCAA Selection Show airs at 9 p.m. CT on ESPNU. Tech will be looking to make its third-straight regional appearance in what would also be the fifth postseason appearance in school history.
Tech split a pair of games with Kansas last weekend with the Red Raiders taking the rain-delayed series opener, 4-1, before giving up four runs over the final two innings to fall 5-4 in the second game. Sunday's series finale was cancelled due to inclement weather in the area. The Friday game was also suspended early in the fifth inning due to thunderstorms before being completed Saturday afternoon.
Saturday's series opener will be Senior Day at Rocky Johnson Field as all eight Tech seniors will be recognized following the game. Tech's eight-member senior class marks its largest in school history. The group has helped lead the Red Raiders to two-straight NCAA Regional appearances, a first in school history. Prior to their arrival, no Tech team had advanced to the postseason since 2001.
RED RAIDERS A WIN AWAY FROM FIRST .500 BIG 12 RECORD SINCE 2001
The Red Raiders need one win this weekend to guarantee the school's first .500 Big 12 record since going 10-8 in 2001. Tech will have to sweep the Cowgirls in order to post the highest conference winning percentage in school history after the Red Raiders went 10-7 during the 1998 season. The Red Raiders currently sit in fifth in the league standings as Tech is going for just its third top-five finish in school history and their first since wrapping the 2001 campaign in a program-best third place overall.
Texas Tech head coach Shanon Hays will be facing a longtime friend in OSU skipper Rich Wieligman this weekend as both are graduates of Lubbock Christian University. Wieligman, like Hays, played baseball for the Chaps and was a member of the 1983 NAIA National Championship club that was coached by longtime LCU and Texas Tech head coach Larry Hays. Wieligman, whose daughter, Ashby, is currently a Texas Tech student, was an assistant coach at Tech from 2001-02, around the same time that Shanon Hays was an assistant men's basketball coach with the Red Raiders.
RED RAIDERS AIM FOR SECOND-STRAIGHT 40-WIN SEASON
The Red Raiders will be looking for their second-straight 40-win season as Tech enters this weekend's series 38-14 overall and 11-9 during Big 12 play. Tech has previously reached the 40-win mark twice in school history as the Red Raiders finished 42-16 a year ago and then a program-best 45-19 in 1998. The Red Raiders advanced to an NCAA Regional with last year's record but failed to make the postseason in 1998. Tech is looking to advance to a NCAA Regional for the fifth time in school history and the third-straight year under Shanon Hays.
TECH SNAPS SINGLE-SEASON HOME RUN RECORD
Tech's three home runs during the Baylor series pushed the Red Raiders to 60 on the year, snapping last year's single-season school record of 58 with six regular-season games remaining. The Red Raiders, who have 62 now on the year, currently rank 11th in the country in home runs per game and second in the Big 12, trailing only the 71 bombs that Oklahoma has recorded this season. With three games still remaining, Tech needs five more home runs to enter the top 10 in Big 12 single-season history. The Red Raiders have totaled 159 home runs over Shanon Hays' three seasons, more than twice the amount from the previous three seasons prior to his arrival in 2010.
PEREZ JUST ONE LONG BALL SHY OF JAMES' RECORD
Adriana Perez enters the Oklahoma State series needing just one more home run to match Sandy James' single-season school record from a year ago after the junior connected on her 15th of the year against Baylor. Perez, who is currently tied for second all-time with Mikey Kenney (2010) and Kim Martinez (1997), sent a two-out grand slam over the fence in center during the Saturday game against the Bears. She now has 54 RBI on the year, another feat that ranks in the top five of the school record book.
CUSTER BECOMES MOST SUCCESSFUL TECH FRESHMAN PITCHER IN SCHOOL HISTORY
With her win last weekend at Kansas, Cara Custer became the winningest Tech freshman pitcher in school history, surpassing Amanda Renfro, who had 23 wins during her 1998 freshman campaign. Custer, who is 24-9 on the year, joins Renfro as the only Tech pitchers in school history to reach the 20-win mark in a single season. 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 enters this weekend in sole possession of second in the Tech single-season record book, 10 wins shy of Renfro's 2001 school record. She is also tied for second in the Big 12 for wins alongside Texas A&M's Mel Dumezich as the pair trail Oklahoma's Keilani Ricketts by one victory.
TEXAS TECH REMAINS AT NO. 21 IN RPI RANKINGS
Tech remained near the top 20 of the RPI rankings this week as the Red Raiders stayed at No. 21 in the poll for the second-straight week. Tech ranks fifth among Big 12 schools in the new poll, trailing Texas (No. 4), Oklahoma (No. 5), Texas A&M (No. 9), and Missouri (No. 17). 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.
PENCIL BLEDSOE IN THE LINEUP
During Cal Ripken, Jr.'s historic stretch with the Baltimore Orioles, he earned the iconic nickname "Iron Man" after breaking the major league record for 2,632 consecutive games played. While not nearing Ripken's mark, Emily Bledsoe has impressed many not just for her glove or bat but for her toughness as well. The Fulshear, Texas native has started in all 223 games since her freshman season in 2009. With her start against Midwestern State, Bledsoe passed Heather Parker (2004-07) for seventh on the career games played chart. If Bledsoe were to start in each of Tech's final three games, she would wrap her career ranked fifth in the record book.
HALL REMAINS BIG 12 DOUBLES LEADER
Logan Hall remains the Big 12 doubles leader this week as the connected on her 16th of the year and 43rd of her career last weekend at Kansas. The senior has four doubles over Tech's past five games as she leads Kansas' Maggie Hull by two for the conference lead. Hall currently ranks second all-time in school history for doubles behind teammate Emily Bledsoe who has 57 over her career. Following a relatively slow start to the season, Hall posted seven doubles during the month of March alone before opening April with a first-inning double against Iowa State. She is now hitting .294 on the year with 22 runs scored and 16 RBI.