The No. 5 Texas Tech baseball team lost its third straight game to Oklahoma with a 9-6 game two defeat at Dan Law Field at Rip Griffin Park. Despite scoring the final four runs of the game, the Red Raiders couldn't overcome starter Brandon Birdsell's season-high six earned runs over four innings of work.
Both teams entered the evening with 14-8 records in conference play and needing a win to keep their Big 12 regular season hopes alive.
After scoring eight of its 13 runs in the final four innings of the series opener, the Oklahoma offense got started right away against junior right-handed pitcher Brandon Birdsell, scoring in each of the first five innings of the game.
First baseman Blake Robertson got the scoring going with a two-run home run over the Tech bullpen. The long ball was the seventh of the series for OU, and the 12th against Tech this season.
The Sooners added a run in the second, third and fourth innings to make it a 6-2 lead by the time Birdsell exited the game. He finished with his fewest innings pitched since his first start of the season against Auburn on February 19, according to Tech Athletics.
Despite Birdsell and fellow junior right-handed pitcher Andrew Morris being tagged for a combined 14 runs over the past two games, Tech head coach Tim Tadlock doubled down in his commitment to his two starters as they head into postseason play.
"I think those guys are going to be fine," Tadlock said. "Those guys have thrown the ball outstanding every time we've sent them to the mound other than the last two day ... you could say it's a bad start or you could say Oklahoma was really good. I think it's probably a combination of both."
Oklahoma's No. 9 hitter Kendall Pettis broke the game open with a two-out, two-run double in the top of the fifth off sophomore left-handed pitcher Derek Bridges that extended the Sooner lead to seven.
After totaling six stolen bases in the opener, the Sooners swiped three more bags in game two, including two from shortstop Peyton Graham. Graham finished 2-3 at the plate with two RBIs and a HBP to lead the offensive effort.
The Red Raiders matched Oklahoma's 11 hits, but struck out 12 times in the process, half of them looking. The Red Raiders have gone down on strikes 20 times over the first two games of the series.
Freshman first baseman Hudson White and junior catcher Cole Stilwell drove in five of Tech's six runs, with junior designated hitter Ty Coleman's RBI single in the third inning accounting for the other run.
Stilwell drilled a three-run home run in the bottom of the sixth inning that brought the Rip Griffin Park crowd to its feet for the first time since the third inning.
The home run was Stilwell's ninth of the season, according to Tech Athletics. He is now tied with seniors Parker Kelly and Easton Murrell for third on the team.
After Oklahoma entered the series needing a sweep to remain in Big 12 title contention, that is very much a possibility as it heads into the finale tomorrow at 2 p.m.
Tadlock gave his props to the Sooners after the game, adding that they have outplayed Tech in every way over the last two days.
"They're playing as good as a lot of teams we've played," Tadlock said. "Right now they're playing every phase of the game better than us right now, and that's the reality of it."