No. 14 Texas Tech found itself on the wrong end of a crucial Big 12 contest Sunday afternoon, falling to Kansas State, 10-8, at Tointon Family Stadium in Manhattan, Kansas. The loss improved the Wildcats to 11-7 in conference play, while the Red Raiders dropped to 9-9 with two Big 12 series remaining.
Both teams traded the lead multiple times across the final four innings. K-State scored a pair of runs with the bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth, as junior pitchers Ryan Free and Josh Sanders issued a walk and hit-by-pitch, respectively, to give the Wildcats a 6-5 lead.
Junior second baseman Austin Green reclaimed the lead for the Red Raiders in the following frame, launching a three-run home run off K-State closer Tyson Neighbors in the top of the seventh inning. The lead was short-lived, however, as the Wildcats took advantage of a spotty Tech bullpen over the final two innings.
Left fielder Cole Johnson cut K-State's deficit to one after scoring on Sanders' wild pitch before the Wildcats scraped across three runs in the eighth inning off junior right-hander Brendan Girton.
Girton put two runners in scoring position with one outs in the frame, and center fielder Brendan Jones played hero with a go-ahead two run triple off the right-center field wall. Jones scored an insurance run the following at-bat on shortstop Nick Goodwin's RBI groundout to make it a 10-8 K-State advantage, which the Wildcats would not surrender.
Tech used eight pitchers in the loss, though only starter Zane Petty (three innings), junior lefty Derek Bridges (two innings) and Sanders (1.1 innings) were able to finish a full inning. Five of the eight surrendered earned runs as the pitching staff issued six walks and eight hit-by-pitches as a unit.
In his fifth career start, Petty struck out a career-high four batters while walking none. He was tagged for two runs in the second, while also being responsible for an inherited run in the fourth, where he was pulled after surrendering a leadoff single.
Offensively, Tech did much of its damage in the third and fourth innings. Redshirt freshman third baseman Kevin Bazzell got the Red Raiders on the board in the third with an RBI single off K-State starter Collin Rothermel, while freshmen Dylan Maxcey and Tracer Lopez delivered extra-base hits off reliever Ty Ruhl.
Maxcey gave the Red Raiders their first lead with a two-run double, and Lopez followed with his second home run in as many days, a two-run shot over the right-field wall that made it a 5-2 contest.
Green's three-run blast, his first home run in nearly a month, capped the scoring for the Red Raiders. In total, even of the nine starters recorded hits, though only Lopez (2-3) would finish with multiple knocks.
The Red Raiders take a break from conference foes for the next week, as they welcome Sam Houston to Dan Law Field at Rip Griffin Park on Friday for a three-game set.
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