Mason Molina gets ready to pitch the ball

Mason Molina gets into position to pitch the ball during the baseball game against the University of Texas at Dan Law Field at Rip Griffin Park on March 27, 2022.

The Texas Tech baseball team lost its series finale against Kansas 8-5 at Hoglund Park in Lawrence, Kansas. The Red Raiders were limited to five runs on seven hits in their second Big 12 loss of the season after posting 28 runs on 27 hits in game two.

After not scoring until the sixth inning in game two, the Jayhawks tagged freshman left-handed pitcher Mason Molina for three first-inning runs. Shortstop Maui Ahuna got the scoring started with an RBI double before right fielder Nolan Metcalf drilled a two-run home run a batter later to give Kansas a 3-1 lead.

Though Molina pitched a 1-2-3 second inning, he would surrender runs in the next three innings as Tech faced its biggest deficit of the series. Metcalf struck again in the third with an RBI double, scoring Ahuna from first after he singled a batter earlier. The duo of Ahuna and Metcalf finished the series finale 6-8 with four extra-base hits.

Molina struggled to complete innings throughout his start, as three of his six earned runs came via two-out RBIs. He exited the game with a line of seven hits, six earned runs, one ball and three strikeouts in four innings of work. Molina’s ERA ballooned to 4.71 after entering the day with the third lowest on the team with 3.28, according to Tech Athletics.

On the other side of the ball, the Tech offense was limited to three hits by Jayhawk starter Ryan Vanderhei, who no-hit the Red Raiders until freshman catcher Hudson White’s solo home run in the top of the fourth inning. According to Tech Athletics, the long ball was White’s third of the year and temporarily cut the Kansas lead to two.

The Red Raiders were shut out for the remainder of Vanderhei’s outing until the sophomore was pulled after six innings. Left-handed pitcher Stone Hewlett entered in relief to start the seventh with a 7-2 lead, only to surrender three runs in his first inning of work. 

Senior designated hitter Ty Coleman scored Tech’s first run since the fourth inning with an RBI double to the right-field corner before senior shortstop Kurt WIlson followed him a batter later with a two-run single that cut it to a 7-5 Jayhawk lead.

The Red Raiders had their chances in the last two innings, but failed to plate any more runs as they finished 3-22 with runners on base. Sophomore right-handed pitcher Shay Hartis surrendered a run in the eighth, and Hewlett retired seven of the last eight batters he faced to make it an 8-5 final.

After expending six pitchers in game two, Kansas needed only Vanderhei and Hewlett to avoid the series sweep.

The loss dropped Tech to 4-2 in Big 12 play as the Red Raiders remained in second place in the conference. The team stays on the road for a midweek series in Phoenix, Arizona, against Grand Canyon University before returning home to host a Big 12 weekend series against Kansas State.

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