The No. 4 Texas Tech baseball team dropped its series opener with TCU 7-4 at Lupton Stadium in Fort Worth. The Red Raiders tied the game in the top of the seventh inning, but the Horned Frogs scored the next three runs over two innings to take game one.
Tech opened the series with a pair of familiar faces in the outfield. Sophomore center fielder Dillon Carter returned to the lineup for the first time since March 27 against Texas and senior left fielder Easton Murrell started for the first time since injuring his knee against Grand Canyon on April 6, according to Tech Athletics.
Carter struck out in both of his at bats before being pinch hit by senior Cody Masters in the seventh inning. The strikeouts tied Carter with Kelly for most on the team with 42, according to Tech Athletics.
Junior right-handed pitcher Andrew Morris started for Tech and navigated through three no-hit innings to start his outing. He entered the fifth with the Red Raiders holding a 2-0 lead after sophomore second baseman Jace Jung scored on an error and senior third baseman Parker Kelly added a second run with a two-out RBI single.
TCU cut the lead to one with an RBI double off the bat of second baseman Hunter Teplanszky in the fifth inning before taking the lead with a three-run sixth. Shortstop Tommy Sacco led off the frame with a solo home run to right field, his sixth of the year according to TCU Athletics. Catcher Kurtis Byrne added an RBI groundout and right fielder Luke Boyers completed the scoring for the inning with an RBI double.
Morris was relieved by senior left-handed pitcher Colin Clark to start the seventh inning. Morris finished with a line of four earned runs on seven hits while striking out four in six innings of work. The start was Morris’ fourth straight with at least six innings pitched, according to Tech Athletics.
Murrell tied the game in the seventh with a two-out, two-run home run that just sailed over the right field fence. The home run was Murrell’s seventh of the year, which ranks third on the team despite having 70 fewer plate appearances than Ty Coleman, who ranks second, according to Tech Athletics.
Clark only lasted a third of an inning before Tech head coach Tim Tadlock handed the ball to sophomore right-handed pitcher Shay Hartis after surrendering the go-ahead RBI to third baseman Brayden Taylor.
Hartis surrendered a solo home run to Horned Frogs left fielder Gray Rodgers in the eighth inning for TCU’s fifth extra-base hit of the night.
Murrell’s long ball ended up being Tech’s final hit of the night, as TCU relievers Augie Mihlbauer and Luke Savage combined to pitch 2.1 perfect innings to make it a 7-4 final.
Tech suffered its first Big 12 series opening loss of the season and dropped to 7-3 in conference play. Game two is set for 6 p.m. tomorrow and junior right-handed pitcher Brandon Birdsell is the projected starter for Tech.