With two outs and bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning, Cody Masters lifted the No. 22 Texas Tech baseball team over the Baylor Bears, giving the Red Raiders a 3-2 victory on Friday at Dan Law Field at Rip Griffin Park.
The game was played in front of the fourth sellout crowd of the season at the ballpark.
“Our crowd is awesome,” head coach Tim Tadlock said. “I think we enjoy our crowd as much as we enjoy watching our team play, and there’s not a better venue in the country to watch college baseball.”
With the win, the Red Raiders now have a 24-13 overall record, are 7-7 in conference play and 16-4 at home.
After a scoreless first inning, Baylor’s Andy Thomas opened the second with a double to the right-center wall. Shea Langeliers followed with a single to left center to put Thomas on third.
Tech’s starting pitcher, freshman Micah Dallas, then threw a wild pitch which sent Thomas home to give the Bears an early 1-0 lead.
The Red Raiders loaded the bases in the bottom of the second inning with senior Cameron Warren getting walked, sophomore Dylan Neuse getting walked and sophomore Parker Kelly earning a single through the left side. Junior Doug Facendo then hit a sac fly to center field, sending Warren home to tie the game up, 1-1.
“Today I felt like we had some good at-bats in there,” Tadlock said. “Amateur hitters, you’re going to have some breakdowns. We did have some of those but for the most part we did put together some good at-bats.”
Baylor’s Nick Loftin reached second in the top of the third inning after Kelly made a fielding error at third base. Two consecutive sac hits to the infield sent Loftin home to put the Bears back in the lead with a 2-1 score.
Junior Taylor Floyd started the seventh inning at the pitcher’s mound after Dallas stayed in through six. In his time at the mound, Dallas allowed five hits, one earned run and five walks. Dallas also struck five batters out, leading the team with 42 total strikeouts this season.
“I think (Dallas) had the score he wanted if you asked him,” Floyd said. “I mean, I know our offense has been slow lately but two runs, you can’t ask for anything else. I think he’d say the same thing, and he’s been like that all year. I didn’t expect anything different tonight, and I think the whole (bullpen) would agree with that.”
No runs were scored in the seventh inning by the Bears, but Neuse jumped to make a catch in center field that looked like it was headed out the park to end the top of the inning.
“Lubbock’s funny sometimes,” Floyd said. “With our record been like it is, I’m glad (the fans) showed up because it helps, especially in a game like this. With a crowd like last night, the game could’ve been different, just that factor right there. Having them behind us and ‘Raider Power’ when we need it, it’s always a good feeling.”
The Red Raiders had freshman Max Marusak on second after he hit a double and junior Brian Klein on first after being walked with two outs and junior Josh Jung up to bat. Baylor’s pitcher threw three-straight balls but delivered three-straight strikes to retire Jung end the inning.
In the bottom of the eighth, freshman Cole Stilwell was walked and freshman Dru Baker was sent in to pinch run. Masters then singled up the middle and sophomore Braxton Fulford was walked to load the bases. Baylor then walked sophomore Gabe Holt, sending Baker home to tie the game up, 2-2.
“We’re confident, we got 35 guys we’re confident in,” Tadlock said. “Baseball’s a cruel game sometimes, and I was really proud of the way the guys came out today and prepared and got ready to go.”
Jung started the bottom of the ninth inning with a single to center field. Neuse was then walked and Baker loaded the bases with an infield hit. Masters was up to bat, facing a full count and two outs and fired a hit up the middle, sending Jung home for the 3-2 victory.
“I told the guys after the game and I tell them a lot that (they) are a fun group to watch,” Tadlock said. “Two really good baseball games in the last two nights as far as closeness of the games. A lot of good competitiveness. It’s fun watching them. You don’t always get the results that you want, but it’s fun.”
The Red Raiders and Bears’ finale will begin at 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 20, at Dan Law Field as the series is tied, 1-1.