Lady Raider Softball Has Hit a Rough Patch
The Lady Raider Softball Team is 16-19 and is currently is on a nine-game losing streak. While the Lady Raiders are going through a rough patch in the regular season and in conference play, the preseason did show some optimism for the team.
Texas A&M Invitational
The Lady Raiders began their season by playing at the Texas A&M Invitational and going 3-2 for the four-day invitational tournament. The team took games against Colorado State twice and Texas A&M once and then lost to Central Arkansas twice. While starting 3-2 in College Station, Texas, the Lady Raiders would look to bounce back and gain momentum for the season ahead.
After returning home to rest for only three days, the Lady Raiders would then head to Fayetteville, Arkansas for the Razorback Invitational. The Red Raiders would go on to have a rough weekend by going 2-4 but did win their first game against North Dakota State by a score of 6-1. After the win, the team would go onto drop three straight losses against No. 21 Arkansas, North Dakota State and Southeast Missouri. While the Arkansas game was a 0-9 loss, the Lady Raiders did lose the other two games with each going to the edge. After three losses, the team did pick up another win to Southeast Missouri with a score of 7-1, which would give them the momentum heading into the final game of the weekend. From there, the Lady Raiders again went on to lose 0-8 to Arkansas to end a rough weekend.
The Lady Raiders then sat at 5-6 for the season through the first two weeks and would look to bounce back in a two-game series against the Texas State Bobcats. In the two-game series, the Lady Raiders would split the series 1-1 by losing the first 5-6 and then going on to win the second 7-2. The Lady Raiders would now go to 6-7 for the season.
Texas Tech Invitational
The Lady Raiders would then go on to host the Texas Tech Invitational in Lubbock, Texas, where the team would come out with a positive record by going 3-1 for the season. The Lady Raiders would go on to beat Abilene Christian twice with scores of 1-0 and 7-2 and then split games with Kansas City with the loss being 2-7 and the other winning 4-3. While winning the three games series it would put the team above .500, giving them a record of 9-8 for the season.
After a successful weekend, the Lady Raiders would then get a few days of rest and much needed practice before taking on New Mexico in a three-game weekend series. The team would go on to sweep the Lobos and by winning all three games and bringing the Lady Raiders to a record of 12-8 on the season. Now with a positive record and momentum moving forward, the Lady Raiders would prepare for their next tournament.
Jeannine McHaney Memorial Classic
In their next tournament, the Lady Raiders would host the Jeannine McHaney Memorial Classic and play a six-game series and go 4-2 on the weekend. The first three games of the tournament, the team went 2-1 against UTEP by winning the first two in shootouts by 8-0 and then losing the second 8-9. Then in the last three games of the series, they again went 2-1 against Tarleton State by dropping the first game 9-11 then absolutely decimating them in the next two with scores of 23-0 and 9-1. After the tournament, it brought the teams record to 16-10 before the Lady Raiders would enter conference play.
Big 12 Conference Play
After a somewhat successful preseason, the Lady Raiders then began their regular-season conference play taking on the Baylor Bears at home at Rocky Johnson Field in Lubbock, Texas. On the last week in March, the Lady Raiders were swept in the series, only scoring 2 runs per game and dropping their overall record to 16-13.
After a very disappointing start to conference play, the team then turned around the next week and play No. 7 ranked Texas in Austin, Texas at McCombs Field. In a three-game series, the Lady Raiders were swept and again lost all three games by scores of 2-5, 0-5 and 1-10. Only a week before the season looked hopeful for the Lady Raiders but since have lost six straight bringing their overall record to 16-16 putting them at .500 for the season. With a rough two weeks, the team will look to bounce back in the next series.
The next series the team played against Oklahoma State, who was ranked No. 12 in the country. The weekend series took place at Rocky Johnson Field in Lubbock, Texas where the Lady Raiders were swept for the third time. In the first game of the series, the Lady Raiders only fell by a score of 0-1, then in the last two games of the series, the Lady Raiders fell 2-12 and 3-10.
Looking ahead, the Lady Raiders take on Kansas this weekend in Lawrence, Kansas at Arrocha Ballpark. The Kansas Jayhawks are currently 20-15 for the season but only 1-5 in the Big 12 conference. While the Jayhawks are having a season that can change at the flip of a coin, the Lady Raiders are too. In a much-needed matchup, the Lady Raiders will look to bounce back against the Jayhawks and get on the right path moving forward in the season.
Top Lady Raiders
While the Lady Raiders may be having a down season, the team does have multiple players who are performing well. The team currently has three players that have above a .300 batting average, and those three are Heaven Burton, Yvonne Whaley, and Karli Hamilton.
Heaven Burton is a redshirt senior from Round Rock, Texas, and has received multiple awards throughout her collegiate career. She began her time playing softball in college at Louisiana-Lafayette where she was redshirted, then she transferred to Texas Tech and has spent her time here since. While Burton is also one of the best batters on the team with a .343 batting average, she also plays outfield and the combination of her speed and intelligence of the game makes her a threat from either side of the plate.
Yvonne Whaley is a junior from Houston, Texas and began her collegiate softball career at Texas Tech and since spent every year at the university. Whaley plays at a utility player for the Red Raiders and has played multiple positions throughout the years at Tech and has proven her athleticism and ability to do so. While Whaley may not be a designated hitter, her versatility has helped the Lady Raiders immensely but in an addition to that she has also been able to maintain a .327 batting average.
Texas Techs’ Karli Hamilton
Karli Hamilton is a senior from Houston, Texas and has been with the Lady Raiders since she began her collegiate career in 2016 and has been impressive ever since. In 2019 she led the team in batting average, runs, hits, triples, and total bases, then led the team second in at-bats, on-base percentage, and then third in slugging percentage, doubles, bases stolen, stolen base attempts. Then finally in fourth RBI, home runs and walks for the season. Being the leader in so many different categories, the team has often looked to Hamilton for her ability to consistatly make plays. Along with her numerous awards throughout the years she plays outfield and is having a good season for the Lady Raiders thus far. This season Hamilton has a .323 batting average and will look to keep up her consistency at-bat for the rest of the season.
Predictions in the Future
With three series left in the regular season, the Lady Raiders will look to turn their season around with two of the three series on the road, the team will win all three series. With Kansas being a 50/50 matchup that could go either way and Oklahoma currently 30-0, it will be a hard series to win, and then the same would go for Iowa State as well. The Lady Raiders have a chance to do something special in the as the season starts to draw to an end.
Then to end the season, the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship will give the Lady Raiders one last chance to perform. The championship will be held in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and will more likely close out the regular season for the Red Raiders.
Story by Trinity Porter, Campus Live Intern