Clear your mind for second. I’m going to ask you a bunch of questions, and you try to think of the first program at Texas Tech that comes to mind. Ready?
This program has had it’s best finish in the past five years during last season’s campaign. They had an All-American player last year and could have another this season. Right away, several programs probably came to mind. Baseball, Men’s Basketball, Men’s Golf, Track & Field and Women’s Tennis.
Now the next round of question. They started off their season with double digit wins before their first loss. That includes baseball last season, but not this season. This also eliminates Men’s Golf and Women’s Tennis.
They started off unranked and underrated but quietly have been rising in the ranks. This eliminates Track & Field, as they were already a Top 10 team. This leaves us with the Men’s Basketball team and another team I haven’t mentioned yet; the Softball Team.
The one thing they don’t have in common with the other five programs? Their postseason success. The Men’s Basketball Team, Men’s Golf Team and Women’s Tennis team made it to the Elite Eight last year. The Baseball team was one of the last five teams standings, and the Track & Field team had a Top 5 finish. Softball, meanwhile, missed the NCAA tournament but had their first postseason berth since 2012.
That being said, it looks like they are one their way to the postseason this year. They’ve started off 10-0 despite not playing any games in Lubbock thus far. And it’s not they’ve been walking over just easy teams either. Sure, Omaha isn’t exactly a good challenge with their 1-9 record overall, but the Red Raiders did what they were supposed to an run-ruled them. Lamar or Furman haven’t done well either at 3-8 and 2-7 respectively.
As far as impressive wins that stick out, the main one is Auburn. The Tigers are a ranked at No. 22 in the country and have made deep runs in postseason play in recent years, which includes a couple WCWS appearances and nearly a national title. Nebraska’s lone loses were to Texas Tech and they’ve defeated two Big 10 schools pretty badly. The same could be said for Wisconsin, whose lone loss is to the Red Raiders. Drake and UAB around at or above .500 with losses to Auburn and Tech.
All those wins have helped Texas Tech earned a No. 23 ranking in the country according to USA Today Poll. They are also ranked No. 19 by Softball America and No. 25 by USA Softball. The reason they aren’t ranked higher is because they face just two tournament teams from a season ago. That’s going to chance this weekend when they play No.5 Washington, No. 13 Arizona State and No. 17 Oregon, who all made the WCWS last year.
This is very similar to Texas Tech playing a difficult slate in Houston in their first CWS season. In fact, they’ve schedule a lot of tough teams this season, some of it because of Big 12 play but still, tough competition.
🚨 The 2019 schedule is here! 🚨
2⃣4⃣ games at the Rock
HALF of the 2018 WCWS field 🔥
The famed @NutterClassic 🙌
— Texas Tech Softball (@TexasTechSB) December 3, 2018
Now, wouldn’t be right to talk about the team without their key players. I mentioned an All-American player above, and that player is Jessica Hartwell.
The junior was named an All-American by some services past year, and lead the team in almost every category. She even broke the program record for most home runs in a season. This year she is batting .345/.457/.552 with a home run and 11 RBIs, which is second on the team. However, she’s not even the best performer so far this season.
Trenity Edwards leads the team with three home runs and 12 RBIs with a .379/.455/.769 slash line. Heaven Burton leads the team in average (.436) and stolen bases (6), and is second in runs (10). Karli Hamilton is first in runs (11) and stolen bases as well (6).
The best players so far may be pitchers. Erin Edmoundson is 6-0 with a 1.96 ERA, .153 BAVG, 47 K’s and three complete games. Oh, and she has a no-hitter, no big deal. Missy Zoch (2.58 ERA, 3 wins) and Morgan Hornback (0.66 ERA, 10.2 IP) aren’t too shabby themselves.
We’ll have a little better picture of who this team is after the weekend, but right now, they look like they could be the next great program at Texas Tech.