The Texas Tech baseball team will take some nice momentum into this weekend’s tough 3-game series at West Virginia thanks to a four-game winning streak. But the two most recent wins in that stretch didn’t come easy.
Facing a sub .500 Stephen F. Austin team in Lubbock on Tuesday and Wednesday, the Red Raiders figured to have no problem capitalizing on last weekend’s crucial series win over No. 10 TCU. But the Lumberjacks proved to be a feisty bunch as both games in this mid-week set were up for grabs in the final inning.
On Tuesday, Tim Tadlock saw his team jump out to a 3-0 lead after seven innings. But in the top of the 9th, SFA would tie the score with three runs of their own.
Fortunately, that only set the stage for more heroics from a guy who is quickly becoming one of Tech’s most clutch hitters, Cal Conley. With the bases loaded in the bottom of the 9th, the Red Raider shortstop looped a ball into left field to bring home the game’s deciding run.
Conley has become rather adept at providing walk-offs for this team. Remember, it was the former Miami transfer who hit Saturday’s walk-off homer to down TCU in the 10th inning.
The other star of Tuesday’s game for Tech had to be freshman pitcher Brenden Girton, who tossed for scoreless innings in his first career start. Giving up only one hit while walking just two batters, Girton was in control throughout the course of his 67 pitch, outing.
However, in Wednesday’s game, another freshman starter didn’t have the same fortune. Hayde Key allowed four earned runs in just three innings of work, all coming in the top of the 3rd as the Red Raiders gave up a 3-0 lead.
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But after falling behind 5-3 in the 7th, the home bats would come alive. Scoring four runs in the bottom of the 7th, Tech used some small ball to regain the lead.
After scoring a run thanks to an SFA error, Tech would get a sacrifice fly from Cole Stillwell to tie the game at 5-5. Then, a Cody Masters single would bring home Braxton Fulford to give Tech the lead for good. Finally, Parker Kelly would cap the rally with a bases-loaded walk.
But the drama wasn’t over. In the top of the 9th, Tech would see SFA load the bases with just one out in the inning. Fortunately, reliever Connor Queen would induce a 6-4-3 double play to end the game.
The Red Raiders now turn their attention to West Virginia, which sits at 12-14 overall and 4-5 in Big 12 action. But with Tech trying to reel in first-place Texas (10-2 in Big 12 play), every conference series is critical and this weekend’s showdown in Morgantown is no different. Fortunately, Tech will enter with plenty of positive momentum on its side.