The No. 10 Texas Tech baseball team defeated Kansas State 7-4 in the first round of the Big 12 Tournament on Wednesday in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Opening the game at the mound, freshman RHP Micah Dallas had a shaky start as he gave up an infield single and a walk in the first inning. Dallas then took control as he picked a runner off at second, fielded a grounder and made an out at first and ended the top of the inning with a strikeout to keep the Wildcats scoreless.
The Red Raiders started the game with junior Brian Klein earning a triple down the right-field line with two outs in the bottom of the first inning. Junior Josh Jung then sent Klein home with a hit to right field to give Tech its first lead of the game, 1-0.
Kansas State answered back with a two-out dinger hit by Zack Kokoska to tie the game, 1-1, in the top of the second inning.
With a tie game, sophomore Braxton Fulford earned the first hit for the Red Raiders in the bottom of the second inning with a double down the right-field line. Sophomore Gabe Holt earned his second hit of the game as he singled up the middle to send Fulford home for the 2-1 lead.
Dallas retired three-straight batters in the top of the third inning with two fly outs and one strikeout. Klein and Jung were walked in the bottom of the inning and the Red Raiders took a 3-1 lead as senior Cameron Warren singled up the middle to send Klein home. Warren then moved to second and Jung scored off a balk, growing Tech’s lead, 4-1. The Red Raiders scored a final run for a 5-1 lead as sophomore Kurt Wilson moved Warren to third with a hit to the outfield and sophomore Parker Kelly sent Warren home with an infield hit.
After a scoreless fourth inning, Kansas State loaded the bases as Jordan Maxson singled through the right side, Caleb Littlejim was walked and Will Brennan singled with a hit to left field. Cameron Thompson then sent a grounder past Kelly at third base, sending Maxson and Littlejim to cut the Red Raiders’ lead, 5-3.
Junior RHP John McMillon started the sixth inning at the mound, relieving Dallas. In his 5.0 innings pitcher, Dallas struck three batters out and gave up five hits, three runs and two walks.
In the top of the seventh inning, Kansas State started the inning with Littlejim and Brennan on base off of a hit through the left side and a walk. The runners moved to second and third base after on a passed ball and Littlejim scored after a fielder’s choice hit to third base by Thompson, cutting Tech’s lead, 5-4.
As the Red Raiders had a one-run lead, Jung was walked and advanced to third with a hit to left center by Warren. Sophomore Cody Masters then stepped up to the plate and sent Jung home for a 6-4 lead as he singled up the middle. Wilson followed with a hit through the left side to load the bases. Sophomore Easton Murrell was then hit by a pitch, giving the Red Raiders a 7-4 lead as Warren crossed home.
Freshman RHP Clayton Beeter was sent in to close the game in the top of the ninth inning as the Red Raiders had a three-run lead. McMillon exited the game with five strikeouts in his 3.0 innings pitched. McMillon gave up three hits, two walks and an unearned run.
The Wildcats put runners on first and second after Littlejim was walked and Brennan singled. The runners then moved to second and third off a Beeter balk. Junior LHP Dane Haveman then replaced Beeter at the mound with no outs in the top of the ninth inning. After walking a batter to load the bases, Haveman was relieved by junior RHP Taylor Floyd with one out in the inning.
Floyd closed the game after he fielded a grounder and prevented a run at home and struck a batter out swinging to secure the 7-4 win against the Wildcats.
With the win, the Red Raiders will play West Virginia at 4 p.m. on Thursday for the second round of the Big 12 Tournament in Oklahoma City.