Transfer Kendall Fritz Emerges As Texas Tech's Leader, Ace
Throwing perfect games isn’t anything new for Kendall Fritz. As a senior at Wakeland High School in Texas, she struck out every batter she faced in a five-inning, run-rule victory.
Now a junior at Texas Tech, she is still making history. Facing Texas A&M-Corpus Christi earlier this month, Fritz retired all 15 batters she faced in five innings of work, becoming the fourth pitcher in Texas Tech history to toss a perfect game.
“It was a lot of fun,” said Fritz, who transferred to Texas Tech from Nevada in the offseason. “Our defense is amazing and I would put them behind me against anyone.”
Experiencing the ups and downs of trying to achieve a perfect game once before, Fritz knew a huge collegiate accomplishment was on the line as the innings went on. But she didn’t let that stress get in the way of her performance.
“I knew in the fourth inning, and I was like, ‘oh my gosh, I don’t think anyone has gotten on base,’” Fritz said. “I just tried to stick to the plan. I don’t ever think about (perfect games) as a pitcher.”
After recording the final out of the game, it hardly registered in Fritz’s mind what she had just accomplished. The rest of the Red Raiders were there to celebrate with her and Fritz was in awe of the support she received from teammates and fans.
“I was still kind of in shock when I struck that girl out and I walked back to get my rosin bag and they all just ran up to me and were going crazy,” Fritz said. “It was really cool and I have never experienced that (kind of celebration) while pitching.”
Fritz, who is Texas Tech's ace this season with a record of 11-6 and a 2.51 ERA in 89.1 innings of work, attributes her accomplishments and history-making abilities to the fearlessness she had from the time she was a little girl.
While growing up, pitching was the only position Kendall Fritz had any interest in on the softball field.
“I love being in control of the game, being in control of the tempo, looking out for my teammates and making sure everyone is ready,” Fritz said. “I really like that role and it is a really important position.”
It’s been one memorable ride throughout her pitching career thus far, and she’s not done proving herself just yet.
Fritz ended the 2021 season at Nevada with a record of 11-6 with 115 strikeouts in 132.1 innings. But, after playing her last three years with Nevada, Fritz felt like it was time to come back home to Texas and finish off her career in a way that could benefit her and her family for the better.
“I feel like I had more to give to the game,” Fritz said. “My family only got to see me pitch in person twice a year. I really wanted to come back home and play in front of them. I wanted to play for a school that fit me better at this point in my career.”
As soon as Fritz made her way through the transfer portal and to the Big 12 at Texas Tech, the opportunities to grow her game and impact her teammates multiplied. With a young pitching staff currently at Texas Tech, Fritz has emerged as a leader for the Red Raiders this season.
“I just preach our roles and to believe in yourself,” Fritz said. “Our staff is pretty young and they have not had a lot of experience. I just tell them to do their thing, go out there, don’t worry about anything else. They may not have had many experiences at the college level yet, but they are most definitely prepared for them.”
And with that type of leadership from Fritz on display at Texas Tech to go along with her undeniable talent in the circle, expect big things from the Red Raiders for the remainder of this season and in her final year of NCAA eligibility in 2023.