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Love, Villa earn All-Big 12 freshman team honors



IRVING, TX – Following the conclusion of the regular season, Texas Tech softball middle infielders Riley Love and Arriana Villa were named to the All-Big 12 Freshman Team, the league announced on Wednesday.

Love and Villa mark the 10th and 11th Red Raiders to be named to the All-Big 12 Freshman Team in the last five seasons, joining the likes of current teammates Heaven Burton, Erin Edmoundson, Kelcy Leach, Peyton Blythe and Zoe Jones.

“Riley has been steady and dependable holding down the shortstop position for us this season,” said head coach Sami Ward. “I’m excited to see her continued growth. The sky is the limit for her.”

Love was a unanimous selection after starting 39-of-44 games at shortstop for the Red Raiders, making just two errors on the season. The Keller, Texas native was instrumental to Tech’s defense which ranked as high as fourth in the nation at one point. Love has been part of four of the Red Raiders’ 13 double plays turned and has been on the receiving end of many of the Tech catcher’s throw downs and pick offs.

Aside from her defense, Love has tallied 21 hits with five multi-hit games. Love’s first career home run came in the regular season finale when she went deep in the fifth inning against Iowa State to tie the game at two. In the bottom of the seventh, Love singled to move the winning run into scoring position as the Red Raiders would go on to walk-off the Cyclones, helping clinch a spot in the Big 12 Championships.

“Pecan [Arriana] is an old school, tough as nails type of athlete,” said Ward. “I personally, would love to play alongside her. As she continues to get experience and grow, she will continue to set high standards for the program.”

Villa earned Freshman Team honors after tallying the fourth highest batting average on the team and tying for the second most RBI, doubles and home runs. The slugger from San Antonio tallied 22 hits with five doubles, one triple and three home runs. Villa drove in 15 runs and scored 13 while slugging .404 on the season. All of her home runs came during the Jeannine McHaney Memorial Classic when she hit two in one game against UTEP and one against Tarleton State, tallying three home runs in four at bats.

In the field, Villa started 27 games at second base recording 38 putouts and 39 assists. She assisted on five of the Red Raiders 13 double plays and made a number of highlight reel grabs and helped Tech’s catchers throw out 13 batters attempting to steal.

Love and Villa will be an integral part of the Texas Tech squad as they travel to Oklahoma City for the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship May 14-15. The No. 6 seed Red Raiders will start off pool A play Friday at 11:00 a.m. against No. 4 Baylor before facing No. 1 Oklahoma at 7:30 p.m. on OGE Energy Field at USA Softball Hall of Fame Complex. Saturday, depending on how they finish pool play, the Red Raiders will play one more game either at 10:30 a.m. for the third and second place games or 3:00 p.m. for the Championship game. All games will air on Big 12 Now on ESPN+ with the exception of the title game which will be shown on ESPN2.