Texas Tech Baseball defeats Rice University, 6-1

Sophomore infielder and outfielder Dru Baker looks up at the ball as he runs to first base during the Texas Tech baseball game against Rice University on Mar. 6, 2020, at Dan Law Field at Rip Griffin Park. The Red Raiders defeated the Owls, 6-1.

The No. 6 Red Raiders completed the series sweep over South Florida on March 28 with a 7-4 victory. Tech’s bullpen was lights-out down the stretch, with Chase Hampton earning his first save of the season.

Freshman utility man Drew Woodcox made his third consecutive start at first base in place of freshman Nate Rombach. Woodcox batted ninth on Sunday.

Sophomore LHP Mason Montgomery made his sixth start of the season in the contest, tied for second most on the team. Heading into the start he had a 1-0 record, a 3.18 ERA and a 1.279 WHIP in 22.2 innings pitched.

Montgomery would oppose redshirt senior RHP Collin Sullivan for the Bulls in the game. Sullivan had a 6.30 ERA in 20.0 innings on the season prior to the start.

After an error gave Tech the first run of the game in the first inning, the Bulls and Red Raiders traded solo-shots in the second. The first came from South Florida second baseman Roberto Pena while the second came from Tech catcher Braxton Fulford.

“He’s a hard worker in class off the field, on the field, in the cages. He's a grinder, and since I've been here, he's just recently gotten better hitting,” junior center fielder Dylan Neuse said on Fulford’s recent success.

The Red Raiders led 2-1 after two full innings of play.

Fulford and third baseman Jace Jung would drive in another pair of runs in the third and fourth innings to put the Red Raiders up 4-1 heading into the fifth.

Sullivan was yanked from the game in the fourth inning after only 3.1 innings pitched. He allowed three earned runs on the day.

South Florida’s offense came alive in the fifth inning, loading up the bases with only one out quickly. Freshman RHP Andrew Devine was called upon to get the Red Raiders out of the jam, but he could not end the inning before the Bulls tied it up.

Devine lasted 1.2 innings on Sunday, allowing no earned runs. He would eventually earn the win for his efforts.

Montgomery in the end went 4.1 innings, striking out four batters and giving up four hits. He allowed four earned runs, with three coming in the fifth inning.

The score was 4-4 after four and a half innings.

Tech responded quickly, with freshman shortstop Cal Conley scoring Neuse on an RBI-double to put the Red Raiders back in the lead 5-4.

Neuse would then knock in a run and score another in the bottom of the sixth to put Tech up 7-4.

There would be no more runs scored over the last two and a half innings of the game.

Junior RHP Ryan Sublette and freshman RHP Chase Hampton closed it out for the Red Raiders, tossing two and one scoreless frames respectively. Hampton earned his first save of the season with his performance.

“(I) thought Andrew (Devine) came in and really executed pitches,” head coach Tim Tadlock said in the postgame news conference. “They did a good job of hitting with men in scoring position, I think he came out and I think at the end of that ending it was four-four. And (Ryan) Sublette threw the ball well as did (Chase) Hampton”.

Baker and Neuse each scored a pair of runs in the game, with Baker even adding four hits in the contest. His batting average has skyrocketed to .466 after Sunday.

The Red Raiders’ record improves to 19-4 following the victory.

Tech will be in Manhattan, Kansas, next weekend to take on the K-State Wildcats in a three-game series. That series will be the Red Raiders’ second conference series of the season and will be streamed on ESPN+.

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