Newcomer Profile: Perez Brings Success to Tech Lineup
Adriana Perez totaled 31 home runs and 117 RBIs during her two seasons at Antelope Valley College.
Oct. 27, 2011
by Matt Dowdy
Even for a prized junior college recruit such as Adriana Perez, finding a spot in an already-powerful Texas Tech lineup can be a difficult situation to walk into.
The Red Raiders, who have advanced to two-straight NCAA Regionals under head coach Shanon Hays, boasted one of the top lineups in the country a year ago thanks to a .340 batting average which ranked fourth nationally.
Tech returns eight position players along with several key platoon players from that squad, something Perez noticed not long into fall camp.
"After practicing with the team this fall, we have some girls who can really hit," said Perez, who was a two-time Diamond Sports Catcher of the Year selection for California junior colleges. "I've got to earn my spot, though, and compete no matter what because we have a really talented team."
Perez arrives at Tech after a record-setting two seasons at Antelope Valley College in California where she hit over .500 both years en route to setting the school records for batting average, slugging percentage, and RBIs in a single season.
Through most of fall ball, Perez has moved around the Tech infield, spending time at both corner infield spots while also working several innings behind the plate.
Like Allen did a year ago, Perez will have to make the adjustment from JUCO to Division-I pitching, something she has already noticed through fall practices.
"The pitching at this level is a lot different," she said. "Speed wise, it's faster. They pitch smarter, and it's not like they're just serving it up there. Just because I did well in junior college doesn't mean I'll automatically do that here."
That adjustment is one Hays believes Perez will make early in the season, if not sooner.
When recruiting her to Lubbock, Hays told Perez she'd be part of what he considered the top class Tech had ever signed, noting that the Red Raiders had also added more depth in the circle along with a few extra bats.
"The No. 1 reason I recruited Adriana was because she is an outstanding hitter," Hays said. "She's an accomplished hitter from her junior college days. She hits for power and doesn't strike out much, so I really expect her to make an immediate impact in our lineup."
The junior totaled 31 home runs and 117 RBIs during her two seasons in California, adding more power to a Tech offense that set the school record for most homers in a season midway through the 2011 campaign.
In the process, Perez was selected as an NFCA All-American both seasons while also being honored as the California Player of the Year twice.
"Adriana is such a talented player, and one that we are really grateful to have because she adds another element to our ballclub," Hays said. "She'll play a big part in the middle of our lineup."
Now, with her first fall season in the rearview mirror, Perez hopes to continue the steep tradition Hays has brought to Tech in only two seasons.
But even with all the past success, she said her focus now is solely on the future.
"When Coach Hays recruited me, he told me I'd be a key player for us that would bring something special," Perez said. "With all the seniors we return, he said that adding me to the mix we would be even better, so that's been motivating me even more this fall."
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