Thursday night in Manhattan, Kansas, the Texas Tech baseball team rocked the Kansas State Wildcats in a 17-1 win to open the year’s second Big 12 series.
Many people believe that Kansas State starting pitcher Jordan Wicks will be a first-round pick in the Major League Baseball draft this summer. But when facing the powerful Texas Tech lineup on Thursday night, the Wildcats’ ace was hit hard and hit often as Tech opened the 3-game series in Manhattan with a decisive 17-1 victory.
Wicks gave up five runs in five innings of work. He allowed nine hits and also threw two wild pitches in what was by far his worst outing of the year as his ERA jumped from 2.65 to 3.40.
It was the only time in seven starts this year that Wicks has failed to complete at least six innings of work. It was also a season-high in hits allowed for the lefty who many believe could even be a top-10 pick in the upcoming draft.
Tech got on board with two runs in the top of the 3rd thanks to back-to-back solo homers from Dru Baker and Jace Jung. An inning later, three more Red Raider runs would cross the plate as Braxton Fulford had an RBI double, Dylan Neuse had a sacrifice fly, and Cal Conley had an RBI single.
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Things would remain fairly quiet until the 7th inning when Tech, which entered the frame leading 5-1, would open up a huge lead with eight runs. Most notably in that inning, Jung would homer twice, the first of which was part of three-straight big flys from the Red Raiders as he led off with a bomb only to be followed by Kurt Wilson and Easton Murrell who also hit round-trippers.
In all, Tech would collect five hits in the inning with each scoring at least one run. It was a reminder of just how powerful the Red Raider lineup can be.
But not to be overshadowed is the work of the Red Raider pitching staff. Starter Brandon Birdsell allowed only two hits (one being a solo homer) while giving up just a single run in his five innings of work.
The righty with an electric arm fanned four and walked only one over the course of 71 pitches to pick up the win. It was his fourth-straight start allowing no more than one run as his ERA has now dropped to 3.03 after being over 13.00 to start the season.
Following him, Micah Dallas and Chase Webster each tossed two innings with neither giving up so much as a hit. For the night, the Tech pitching staff gave up just two hits and two walks while striking out seven Wildcats.
The series resumes Friday at 6 pm with Patrick Monteverde on the mound for the Red Raiders. The game can be seen on ESPN+.