The No. 17 Texas Tech softball will compete in Clearwater, Florida for the St. Pete/Clearwater Invitational on Feb. 13-16.
The first competition is against No. 20 South Carolina at 11:30 a.m. Thursday. Tech is entering the invitational with a 5-0 record and two shutout wins. Junior Erin Edmoundson and senior Missy Zoch were a pitching duo that shut down the Big Easy Classic.
Head coach Adrian Gregory said this invitational will challenge her team before conference play due to great pitching and batting. She said the performance last weekend was great with a few kinks, so she wants to reload and continue strong.
South Carolina defeated four teams with one run-rule win over Southern Illinois 11-1, according to South Carolina Athletics. Junior Kelsey Oh received SEC Pitcher of the Week for going 3-0 with 15 innings pitched and 22 strikeouts. Junior Jana Johns walked off for South Carolina to ensure a perfect record.
James Madison is to play Tech at 2 p.m. on Friday. James Madison will begin its season this weekend. Last season, the team went 51-10 with two hitters, Kate Gordon and Sara Jubas, batting over .400, according to James Madison Athletics. The duo will return for the 2020 season.
To begin a doubleheader on Saturday, No. 18 Georgia will play the Red Raiders at 9 a.m. Georgia has a 6-0 record going into the Clearwater Invitational, according to Georgia Athletics. The Bulldogs have new and returning players to juice up their lineup. Three home runs helped the team defeat Georgia State on Wednesday.
South Florida is set to play at 4:30 p.m. to conclude the doubleheader. The team has a 0-4 record with one canceled game this season.
To close the invitational on Feb. 16, the Red Raiders will look to upset No. 2 Washington, which went 52-9 in 2019 and 5-0 this season. Redshirt senior Morganne Flores has returned after recording 23 home runs last season, according to Washington Athletics. She became the first Husky to have two home runs in multiple postseason games. Gabbie Plain, a junior pitcher, returned to the circle following a 1.24 ERA and going 24-2 last season.
Washington is the team to watch and will be Tech's biggest competition, Gregory said. She scheduled the games and is happy with the outcome. She said she wants to ease her team into conference games by playing good teams early to get to know how her team works.
The Red Raiders will look to improve its record and gain higher rankings. The St. Pete/Clearwater Invitational commences on Thursday.