LUBBOCK, Texas – Junior right-handed pitcher Corey Taylor pitched five shutout innings with six strikeouts leading No. 30 Texas Tech to a 5-3 victory over New Mexico State on Thursday evening at Dan Law Field at Rip Griffin Park.
The victory marked the ninth straight home win for the Red Raiders (11-3) while Tech won its 11th game this season – through 14 games – for the first time since 2005. New Mexico State dropped to 7-6 while falling in its first road game of the season.
Taylor’s start marked his first of the season while his six-strikeout performance matched the most by a Red Raider this season (Withrow – 6 vs. Oral Roberts). Taylor (2-0) struck out at least one batter during all five innings pitched while giving up just two base hits without allowing a walk.
NMSU starting pitcher Christopher Bradley (0-2) took the loss allowing two runs – both earned – on three hits with six strikeouts and five walks while throwing 102 pitches.
Texas Tech junior left-handed pitcher Cameron Smith earned his first career save recording the final two outs of the game on a ground-ball double play in the top of the ninth inning.
Sophomore first baseman Eric Gutierrez broke a scoreless tie in the fourth inning with a two-out RBI single through the left side scoring freshman center fielder Stephen Smith who walked to lead off the inning.
Senior right fielder Adam Kirsch drove in Tech’s second run of the game, giving the Red Raiders a 2-0 lead, with an RBI single to left field. Kirsch improved his hit streak to 12 games, the longest by a Tech newcomer since 2010 (Barrett Barnes – 13 games).
Tech senior left-handed pitcher Jonny Drozd pitched 2.2 innings in relief while allowing one run on two hits with a strikeout. NMSU scored its only run in the eighth inning with a leadoff single up the middle and then an RBI ground out to Barrios scored the Aggies first run of the contest.
With Tech leading 2-1 in the bottom of the eighth inning and one out, freshman shortstop Ryan Long hit a bases-clearing double down the right-field line to give Tech a 5-1 lead.
The Aggies plated two runs in the top of the ninth on Kyle Kilgore’s two-run homer before Cameron Smith came in to end the game with the double play.
Stephen Smith recorded a season-high three walks, freshman left fielder Anthony Lyons had three sacrifice bunts and Gutierrez finished 1-for-2 with an RBI. Kirsch went 1-for-3 and Long went 1-for-3 while second baseman Bryant Burleson went 1-for-4 with his first triple of the season.
The Red Raiders and Aggies will continue their four-game series on Saturday, Mar. 7, with a 6:37 p.m. first pitch from Dan Law Field at Rip Griffin Park. The game will be televised regionally on FOX Sports Southwest Plus with Robert Giovannetti (play-by-play) and Mike Gustafson (analyst) calling the action.