The No. 2 Texas Tech baseball team came back from a seven-run deficit to defeat Rice 19-12 on Saturday at Dan Law Field at Rip Griffin Park. The win marked head coach Tim Tadlock’s 300th win at Tech.
With the win, the Red Raiders secure their series win against the Owls, posting a 2-0 record against them. The win also put Tech at 15-1 overall this season and 10-0 when playing in Lubbock.
Rice’s Braden Comeaux opened the game with a double to left-center and was sent home off a double to left field by Trei Cruz to give the Owls an early 1-0 lead. Back-to-back defensive plays were made to end the top of the inning. Freshman third baseman Jace Jung fielded a grounder down the left-field line and his throw to first base beat the runner. Sophomore right fielder Dru Baker fielded a hit to the outfield and made the throw home for the out at the plate.
Junior Dylan Neuse put himself in scoring position in the bottom of the inning after drawing a one-out walk and stealing second base to make him 9-9 in stolen base attempts this season. He was then sent to third base on a ground out, but a lineout to left field closed the inning, leaving Neuse on base.
Tech’s starting pitcher junior RHP Bryce Bonnin struggled in the second inning, giving up four runs, resulting in his removal. The inning opened with a double to right-center by Justin Collins. Collins was then sent home with a single through the left side by Comeaux. After drawing a walk, Aaron Beaulaurier was sent home with a hit through the left side by Bradley Gneiting. Bonnin loaded the bases with a walk, and an infield single and error by Jung scored two runners, giving Rice a 5-0 lead.
After giving up four runs in the inning, Bonnin was pulled from the game as senior RHP Connor Queen took the mound. A single to left field by Cade Edwards scored Cruz to give Rice a 6-0 advantage. With the top of the inning ending, Bonnin gave up seven hits, two walks and six earned runs through 1.2 innings pitched.
A three up, three down inning sent the Red Raider back to the field for the third inning as they trailed by six runs. Rodrigo Duluc drew a one-out walk and was sent home by Comeaux with a triple to right field, growing Rice’s lead 7-0. Sophomore LHP Eli Riechmann was sent to the mound and struck out a batter to prevent any further damage.
The Red Raiders scored their first run of the game in the bottom of the third inning as senior second baseman Brian Klein recorded a sac fly to center field, sending junior catch Braxton Fulford home. The run cut Rice’s lead 7-1 going into the fourth inning.
Rice answered back with a run in the fourth inning. Duluc was the first Owl to get on base, doubling down the right-field line. Austin Bulman then sent Duluc home with an infield single to shortstop. The hit bounced off freshman Cal Conley’s glove, resulting in Duluc advancing two bases to give Rice an 8-1 lead. Junior RHP Ryan Sublette took the mound and closed the top of the inning.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, Jung drew a walk and was sent home as Conley tripled to left-center. The RBI triple cut Rice’s lead 8-2 as Tech entered the fifth inning.
After preventing the Owls from scoring a run for the first inning of the game in the top of the fifth, the Red Raiders scored five runs in the bottom of the inning to make it a five-run game. The offense started with Neuse and Klein getting on first and second with a walk and single, respectively. Sophomore first baseman Cole Stilwell then sent them both home with a double to left-center, bringing the Red Raiders within four runs, 8-4.
Jung was then walked to put runners on first and second base again, and freshman designated hitter Nate Rombach sent them home with a triple to right-center to cut Rice’s lead 8-6. Rombach was sent home on a sac fly to center field by Conley to end the inning 8-7 in the Owls’ advantage.
The Red Raiders’ offense picked up where it left off in the sixth inning for another five-run inning to take the lead. Neuse opened the inning with a single to right field, advanced to second on a groundout and stole third as Stilwell was walked. Jung then doubled through the right side with two outs, sending Neuse home to tie the game 8-8.
Rombach drew a two-out walk to load the bases and Conley singled through the left side, as Rombach dodged the ball to prevent the automatic out. The hit sent both Stilwell and Jung home to give Tech its first lead of the game, 10-8. Tech loaded the bases again on a fielding error by Rice’s third baseman and sophomore Max Marusak sent one up the middle to score Rombach and Conley. Tech led 12-8 going into the seventh inning.
After two runless innings, Rice added two runs to the scoreboard to make it a two-run game after the top of the seventh inning. Sublette gave up a single to Dominic Fox, ending his time at the mound as senior RHP John McMillon entered the game. A double down the right-field line scored Fox to cut Tech’s lead 12-9. Gneiting then singled to left field to score Comeaux, but Fulford threw him out at second to end the inning 12-10 in Tech’s favor.
Tech responded with four runs in the bottom of the seventh inning. Neuse opened the inning with a leadoff home run over the left-field wall to grow the Red Raiders’ lead 13-10. This was Neuse’s first homer of the season. Klein and Stilwell were then walked to put two runners on base. Rombach followed with a single to left field to score Klein, giving Tech a 14-10 lead. The Red Raiders then loaded the bases and a Fulford double to left-center sent Stilwell and junior Cody Masters home, giving Tech a 16-10 advantage.
Maintaining Tech’s six-run lead, McMillon recorded three consecutive strikeouts to end the top of the eighth inning with runners on first and second base. In the bottom of the inning, Klein and junior Parker Kelly both recorded singles. Both were sent home as Masters doubled to left-center, growing Tech’s lead 18-10. Masters was then sent home by Conley, courtesy of a double to right-center to give the Red Raiders a 19-10 lead going into the final inning of play.
Looking to close the game, freshman RHP Brandon Hendrix took the mound to start the ninth inning. Hendrix gave up two runs, but Tech secured its win with a flyout to left field, defeating Rice 19-12.
The Red Raiders will look to sweep the Owls and extend their winning streak to 12 games as they are set to conclude the three-game series at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday.