No. 3-seeded Texas Tech held off a late-inning surge by the No. 6-seeded Baylor Bears as the Red Raiders prevailed, 11-4, in the first game of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Championship Wednesday morning.
Mason Montgomery, sophomore pitcher for the Red Raiders, set the tone early by striking out the first two Baylor batters in the game. Over five innings, Montgomery struck out 11-of-18 Baylor batters, one short of his season-high 12 strike outs against West Virginia earlier in the season. Montgomery earned the win improving his season record to 4-3.
The Red Raider offense was led by Dru Baker and Nate Rombach who combined to score or drive in nine of the 11 runs. Individually Baker and Rombach were each a triple short of hitting for the cycle.
The scoring began immediately for Tech when leadoff hitter Baker started the scoring for Tech immediately with a homerun over the left field wall in his first at bat of the game. The Red Raiders carried a commanding 8-0 lead into the sixth inning.
In the top of the sixth, Baylor second-year freshman, Jared McKenzie and sophomore Jack Pineda reached base on singles with Pineda eventually scoring on a Texas Tech throwing error. In the seventh, the Bears scored three more runs sparked by a 2-RBI double from McKenzie.
McKenzie led all Baylor hitters going 2-for-4 at the plate with a double and two RBI.
Pineda was also 2-of-3 at the plate with a double in the third inning, which was one of only two hits allowed by the Red Raiders starting pitcher Mason Montgomery.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Red Raiders continued to build on their lead score with timely walks from freshman Cal Conley and junior Easton Murrell. An RBI single from Rombach and an RBI groundout by freshman Dillon Carter scored Conley and Murrell, respectively.
Texas Tech will advance to take on No. 2-seed TCU at 4 p.m. CT on Thursday, while Baylor will battle K-State at 9 a.m. CT in a single-elimination game.
No. 2-seed TCU completed a comeback victory in walk-off style defeating No. 7-seed K-State, 7-6, in game three of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Championship.
The Wildcats (31-22) pounced early in the second game of the day with four runs in the top of the first. After a leadoff walk and stolen base by Cameron Thompson, Zach Kokoska was hit by a pitch. This was followed with an RBI single by Nick Goodwin to put Kansas State on the scoreboard. Team RBI leader, Dylan Phillips capped off the inning with a three-run homerun.
In the bottom half of the first, TCU’s Zach Humphreys and Brayden Taylor hit back-to-back one-out singles. With two runners on base, Hunter Wolfe connected on a 3-1 count with a double to right center clearing the bases.
With TCU (37-16) down 6-3 in the sixth inning, Humphreys sent a triple down the right field line, driving in two runs and tying the game.
In the eighth inning, both teams had a chance to break the 6-6 tie with runners in scoring position. TCU’s Garrett Wright and KSU’s Tyler Eckberg battled for the last out of their inning leaving the runners stranded.
Humphreys led the Horned Frogs at the plate, going 3-4 with three RBIs, including a triple, and one run scored. Wolfe was also strong going 2-4, with two RBIs and a double.
Wildcats starting lefty Jordan Wicks went through five and two-thirds innings against TCU, throwing nine strikeouts and giving up two walks. Wicks was responsible for six of the seven Horned Frogs runs.
TCU will face Texas Tech on Thursday at 4 p.m. CT, as K-State takes on Baylor in an elimination game at 9 a.m. CT.