Needing some wins to get out of the cellar of the Big 12 Conference, the Red Raiders did just that this weekend.
After dropping the first game to Missouri, Texas Tech bounced back to take the next two to win the weekend series — its first Big 12 series win of the season.
It was nice to finally pick up the series win and gain some momentum heading into the final few weeks of play, Tech third baseman Reid Redman said.
“Well it took us long enough, but it’s good. I think we needed some momentum going into the next couple of weeks and it was really big for us, and hopefully this momentum will carry into next week at A&M.”
The series didn’t look promising for Tech after game one of the series, as Missouri beat the Red Raiders 9-0 Friday at Rip Griffin Park.
The shutout snapped Tech’s 91-straight games of scoring at least one run, which was the longest current streak in the Big 12.
The team didn’t do a good job once it got runners in scoring position, Tech head coach Dan Spencer said after the game.
“We didn’t do a good job at all with men in scoring position or men on base,” he said. “It’s very disappointing. We’ve done different things and it’s just disappointing. You have to be able to score some runs, you have to be able to score when you have opportunities.”
Tech starter John Neely got out to a good start, throwing three innings of scoreless ball, but things went downhill fast in the fourth.
On a total of six hits, including three doubles and a two-run home run, the Tigers scored seven runs in the inning to jump out to a commanding 7-0 lead.
This would be more than enough insurance for Missouri starter Rob Zastryzny, as he tossed a complete game. Zastryzny didn’t allow a run on seven hits while striking out five and stranding nine Tech runners on base.
Game two got off to a much better start for the Red Raiders, as they put up four runs in the first two innings which helped them to a 4-3 victory Saturday.
It was Barrett Barnes who drove in Jamodrick McGruder to get the Red Raiders on the board in the top of the first to ensure they wouldn’t be shutout for a second straight day.
Then Tech’s bats kept rolling in the second, as three Red Raiders knocked in three runs to push Tech’s lead to 4-0.
However, Missouri clawed its way back into the game, as a two-run homer in fourth and an error with the bases loaded in the sixth cut the Red Raiders’ lead down to one.
But the Tech relievers closed the door on any chance of Tiger victory. After Duke von Schamann left the game with an injury, the four Tech pitchers who came out of the bullpen combined to give up just two hits and didn’t allow another run to cross the plate for Missouri.
After the game, Spencer said von Schamann’s injury was tightness in the bicep. This injury has happened to him before, von Schamann said, and he hopes it won’t sideline him too long.
“I had the same problem in high school one time and I was back the next week,” he said, “so hopefully it’s the same thing and I’ll make my start next Saturday against A&M.”
After being shutout two nights before, the Red Raiders did the same to Missouri in the two teams final matchup as members of the Big 12, as Tech won 7-0.
A sacrifice by Bryant Burleson in the second inning would put the Red Raiders on the board first, and would be all the Tech pitching staff would need.
It was Rusty Shellhorn who got the start for Tech on four days rest, and he didn’t seem to be fatigued at all. Shellhorn didn’t give up a run on two hits in seven innings pitched.
Pitching on short rest wasn’t a factor, Shellhorn said he felt like he had even more than seven innings in him.
“I felt like I could go more actually,” he said. “I told Spenc I got eight and nine in me if you let me. I felt pretty good.”
Trey Masek came in to relieve Shellhorn, and pitched just about as well as Shellhorn did.
After giving up back-to-back hits after coming out of the bullpen, Masek sat down the next six hitters to give Tech the 7-0 win and series victory.
Next up for Tech will be New Mexico State on Tuesday in Las Cruces, N.M. The Aggies took a 7-6 victory against the Red Raiders earlier this season in Lubbock.