ODDS AND END | There will be a separate football post later this morning. Yes, I'm up incredibly early.
TEXAS TECH SOFTBALL | After two long weekends on the road, the softball team is home for the weekend, playing Binghampton and UTA this weekend. Make sure and check out the official site for game details. LAJ's David Just talks to head coach Shanon Hays:
Texas Tech softball coach Shanon Hays expected a few bumps in the road during a challenging non-conference season. An early four-game losing streak in Tempe, Ariz., was, perhaps, just part of the deal.
The Red Raiders dug in after the Kajikawa Classic, though, and rattled off 10 wins in a row, having already faced eight teams that reached NCAA regionals last season. Tech is 5-3 in those games.
"We’ve scheduled tough this year for a reason," Hays said, "to try and help us in Big 12 play, and hopefully it will pay off for us. Only time will tell."
The two-headed starting rotation of underclassmen Brittany Talley and Cara Custer have pitched well so far this season, compiling a combined 10-5 record, 57 strikeouts and a 2.27 ERA.
With 55 innings pitched in 11 appearances, two of which were shutouts, Custer has become the pitcher Hays goes to the most.
Hays spoke high praise of his left-handed freshman, as, he said, she is the hardest thrower he has had in his time as head coach of Tech.
"Her ball moves and she’s hard to line up and the ball goes down a lot," he said, "and that’s what you need in a ballpark like here in Lubbock."
RED RAIDER BASKETBALL | LAJ's Nick Kosmider writes that SG Toddrick Gotcher had successful surgery on his ankle yesterday and Kosmider notes that Gotcher should be eligible for a medical redshirt, so that means Gotcher will be a freshman next year.
I try to catch to Ask Level segment on 104.3's Tech Talk when I get up in the morning and this morning, Level was asked which players will for sure return and his money is on Gotcher, Kader Tapsoba and Dejan Kravic with Jordan Tolbert being a strong possibility to return, but he doesn't think Tolbert's return is an absolute. I don't think Level mentioned Crockett at all. As you are running through your roster ruminations, I think this sounds accurate, although I internally struggle with the idea of Tolbert and Jaye Crockett possibly not returning.