The No. 22 Texas Tech baseball team secured a conference series win after defeating the Baylor Bears 13-3 in the series finale on Saturday at Dan Law Field at Rip Griffin Park.
4,432 fans were in attendance, with back-to-back sellout crowds for the fifth sellout crowd of the season.
“Big 12 weekends are tough and we don’t take it for granted that we won a Big 12 weekend here against Baylor,” head coach Tim Tadlock said. “I got a lot respect for coach Rodriguez and his staff.”
Starting pitcher junior Caleb Kilian retired the first three Bears to open the game. Sophomore Gabe Holt started the offense with a double to left field in the top of the first inning. Sophomore Dylan Neuse then landed on first with an infield hit and a throwing error by Baylor’s pitcher.
“Caleb kind set the tone for the team by doing that and going out,” Tadlock said regarding Kilian and the momentum from the previous win. “Obviously guys feel good playing behind him. If the game was that easy, I guess, you wouldn’t have to have a starting pitcher for the next day. Without him it’s hard to carry it over.”
Junior Brian Klein continued the hitting streak with a hit to center field, sending Holt home to give the Red Raiders an early 1-0 lead. A three-run home run was then hit over the left-field wall by senior Cameron Warren to extend Tech’s lead to 4-0 in the bottom of the first inning.
The Red Raiders loaded the bases in the bottom of the second inning with three-straight hits from sophomores Parker Kelly, Braxton Fulford and Holt. Neuse then fired one out of the park for his second grand slam of the season, growing Tech’s lead to 8-0.
Klein earned a single, and Warren was hit by a pitch following the grand slam. Sophomore Cody Masters then landed a hit left center to send Klein home for a 9-0 lead.
“Baseball is an interesting game,” Tadlock said. “You need to have good at-bats for the guy behind you and the guys did a really good job of that today.”
Baylor cut the lead to 9-2 after Nick Loftin earned a single, and Davis Wendzel hit a two-run homer over the left-field wall in the top of the third inning.
Jung was walked to start the bottom of the fourth inning, and he advanced to second off a wild pitch. Jung was then sent home to give the Red Raiders a 10-2 lead with a hit down the left-field line by Warren for a double.
Junior Dane Haveman took the mound for Kilian in the seventh inning. Kilian finished with five strikeouts and no walks while only giving up eight hits and two earned runs in his 6.0 innings pitched.
“Fastball command, secondary pitch, competitiveness, mound presence, strike one, executing pitches, guys playing good defense behind him,” Tadlock said when asked about what was working for Kilian at the mound. “All that goes kind of hand-in-hand.”
In the top of the seventh inning, Davion Downey was hit by a pitch, made, moved to third off a wild pitch and a sac hit. He then scored off a sac fly to cut the Tech lead to 13-3.
“Any time you get something out of your nine-hole guy you like it,” Tadlock said. “Looking at it (Fulford) was three-for-three, he scored two runs. He was a big part of that lineup, wherever you hit, you are a big part of it. When he can get on and turn it over the gate, it’s pretty cool.”
Holt singled with a hit to right field to put a runner on first. Neuse then ended the game after launching one over the left-field wall for a two-run homer. With the two runs, Tech won with a 10-run rule to win the series.
Tech’s next matchup will be against New Mexico with the first game starting at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 23, at Dan Law Field. The Red Raiders and Lobos will continue at 2 p.m. on Wednesday for their last matchup of the season.