Staying ready for outs

Super senior utility player Kurt Wilson tagging out Stephen F. Austin at Dan Law Field at Rip Griffin Park on March 29, 2022.

The No. 7 Texas Tech baseball team completed the sweep of its midweek series against Stephen F. Austin with a 13-5 victory at Dan Law Field at Rip Griffin Park. Three different players posted multi-RBI games to lead the Red Raiders to their fifteenth home win of the season.

Sophomore right-handed pitcher Austin Becker was on the bump to start the game for Tech, making his first start since March 16 against New Mexico, according to Tech Athletics. Becker was limited to two innings against the Lobos after walking four batters of the ten batters he faced.

A high pitch count ended Becker’s day after four innings of work, though he was able to strike out four while walking three against the Lumberjacks. His lone blemish came in the second inning off an RBI single from SFA shortstop P.J. Villarreal.

Becker acknowledged the low points of his start and identified what he needs to work on.

“First couple innings, I thought my fastball command was off,” Becker said. “I knew that my first two innings weren’t very good, but I’m getting better as far as that goes in the last two weeks.”

The Red Raider offense followed its five-home run performance in game one with three in the series finale. Senior third baseman Parker Kelly extended Tech’s lead to three with a two-run shot in the second inning. The long ball was Kelly’s seventh of the year, most on the team, according to Tech Athletics.

Fellow senior infielder Kurt Wilson joined Kelly an inning later with his second home run in as many days before being replaced by freshman Lauden Brooks in the fifth inning.

Tech head coach Tim Tadlock said he thinks Wilson “will be fine” moving forward in the season.

Perhaps the most noteworthy home run of the day came off the bat of fifth-year senior Cody Masters, who hit a grand slam in his third at bat of the season. Masters, who missed the first 23 games of Tech’s season, said he started dealing with a non-COVID illness in February that resulted in a 15-day stay at University Medical Center in Lubbock.

“It was probably one of the biggest battles I’ve had to face in the entirety of my career, maybe even in my life,” said Masters, who made his first plate appearance of the season in the tenth inning against Texas on March 26. “What kind of helps you out when you’re in those low points is just thinking ‘in four, five or six weeks, we’re going to play Texas.’ I guarantee I’ll be back around there.”

Tadlock said Masters defied expectations with his progression over the last two months.

“Really cool for Cody, the guys are really proud of him,” said Tadlock. “I think if you told all of us that he was going to be coming off the bench pinch hitting six weeks ago, we’d probably say ‘Well, I don’t know about that’.”

The Lumberjacks added on four runs in the final frame off sophomore right-handed pitcher Jase Lopez to make it a 13-5 Tech victory.

The Red Raiders finish their home stand 4-1, as they head to Lawrence, Kansas on Friday for a weekend series against the Kansas Jayhawks.

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