Baseball vs. Baylor

Junior Brian Klein sprints towards first base during game one against Baylor at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 18, 2019 at Dan Law Field at Rip Griffin Park. The Red Raiders will face the Bears for game two on Friday, April 19, 2019.

The No. 22 Texas Tech baseball team came up short in extra innings against No. 18 Baylor in an 11-10 loss on Thursday at Dan Law Field at Rip Griffin Park. 

With the loss, the Red Raiders are now 23-13 with a 6-7 record in Big 12 play. 

“I’m really proud of how the guys battled back,” head coach Tim Tadlock said. “I thought we showed a lot of grit. I think it’s coming for us. There were a lot of positives in that ballgame.”

The first three Bears of the game were retired in the first inning, but Shea Langeliers singled up the middle, and Andy Thomas was hit by a pitch to put two runners on in the second. Cole Haring then sent a hit past junior Josh Jung to send Langeliers home, giving Baylor an early 1-0 lead.

A sac fly was hit to right field by Josh Bissonette, and Mack Mueller doubled to right center, sending both Thomas and Haring home give the Bears a 3-0 advantage. 

Tech struck back with freshman Cole Stilwell and sophomore Parker Kelly earning singles putting runners on the corners. Sophomore Braxton Fulford then singled to right center to send Stilwell home and cut into Baylor’s lead, 3-1. The Red Raiders cut the Bears’ lead, 3-2, after sophomore Gabe Holt sent Kelly home with an infield hit. 

Starting pitcher, redshirt junior Erikson Lanning gave up two hits and a walk, loading the bases for the Bears in the top of the third inning. With two outs, junior Caleb Freeman took the mound to close the inning. Lanning pitched for 2.2 innings, giving up three earned runs, seven hits and one walk as he struck out a single batter. 

“(Lanning’s) command was not great,” Tadlock said. “You give up seven hits in two and two thirds, you’re definitely not commanding the baseball. I think he hit one or two guys. I don’t think he was as bad as his lineup shows but he wasn’t that good either.”

Baylor’s Mack Mueller hit one over the left-field wall for a grand slam while facing a full count to give the Bears a 7-2 lead after the top of the third inning. 

Jung answered back in the bottom of the inning, launching one over the right-field wall for his fifth home run of the season to cut Baylor’s lead, 7-3. With the homer, Jung is now tied with sophomore Dylan Neuse for the second-most on the team. 

In the top of the fourth inning, Freeman walked Richard Cunningham and gave up a two-run homer to Davis Wendzel, growing Baylor’s lead, 9-3. 

“Freeman just hung a breaking ball, full count to the kid,” Tadlock said. “Tip your hat to him. I mean, he made a swing on it and hit it out of the ballpark.”

As the Red Raiders trailed the Bears by six runs, freshman Hunter Dobbins took the mound to start the fifth inning. Freeman exited the game after pitching in 1.1 innings, giving up three hits, three earned runs and a walk while striking a single batter out. 

Klein was the first Red Raider to land on base in the bottom of the fifth inning with a ground-rule double and Jung followed with a walk. Senior Cameron Warren then sent Klein and Jung home with a double to right-center for his conference-leading 44th RBI.

Sophomore Cody Masters followed with a two-run shot over the right-center wall, cutting Baylor’s lead down, 9-7. 

Opening the bottom of the sixth inning, Fulford doubled to right center and made his way to third off a sac fly hit by Holt. Fulford sprinted home on a passed ball to make it a one-run game with a 9-8 score. 

“When guys start hitting it kind of helps,” Tadlock said. “Obviously the middle of the order kind of got going today and that definitely helped and all the guys showed up in a good way and had good at-bats. That’s as we’ve swung the bat in a while. It was definitely something good to see.”

After two scoreless innings, Haring sent one over the right-field wall to extend Baylor’s lead, 10-8, in the top of the seventh inning. Junior John McMillon then took the mound after Dobbins pitched in 2.1 innings, giving up two hits and one earned run while striking one batter out. 

“(McMillon) gave us a chance to win the game in the ninth and the 10th and really the 11th too,” Tadlock said. “I thought he really did a great job. That’s two weeks in a row he’s thrown the ball as good as he can throw it.

In the bottom of the eighth, Holt landed on base with a double down the left-field line to put himself in scoring position. Neuse then followed with a hit to the right-center wall to send Holt home to make it a one-run game. Jung then sent Neuse home after firing one to the right-center wall to tie the game, 10-10. 

Both the Red Raiders and Bears were unable to score in the ninth, sending the game into extra innings. 

Giving up a hit in the top of the 11th inning, McMillon was replaced at the mound with junior Dane Haveman. McMillon pitched in 4.0 innings, giving up one hit and no runs. McMillon also earned four late-game strikeouts. 

Baylor’s Cunningham landed a hit to center field, sending Nick Loftin home to give the Bears an 11-10 lead in the 11th inning. The top of the inning ended with a double play as Klein fielded a grounder, tossed it to Jung who them made the out at first base. 

“Cunningham has been in the league for five years and it shows,” Tadlock said. “I mean he’s up there and in control of what he’s doing and gets a good pitch to hit and hits it back up the middle. That was a big moment there, obviously, in the 11th inning.”

Warren was the first Red Raider to land on base in the 11th after being walked, and he moved to second off a sac bunt by freshman Dru Baker. Stilwell popped up and Kelly struck out swinging, securing the 11-10 Baylor win in Lubbock. 

“I guess if you had to do it over again you would leave (McMillon) in there,” Tadlock said. “He was awful good, I thought he did his job.”

Tech and Baylor will face off again at 6:30 p.m. Friday, April 19, as the Red Raiders look to even up the series. Friday’s game will be aired on FOX Sports 1 for fans who cannot make it to Dan Law Field.

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