CORAL GABLES, Fla. (Texas Tech Press Release)– No. 23 Texas Tech defeated Columbia 3-2 in the first round of the NCAA Coral Gables Regional Tournament on Friday afternoon as sophomore first baseman Eric Gutierrez hit a walk-off RBI double in the bottom of the ninth inning at Alex Rodriguez Park – Mark Light Field.
Texas Tech (41-18) is making its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2004 and its walk-off win marked the program’s third in NCAA Tournament action and its first since 2002 (Rice Regional – 5-4 win over Washington).
The Red Raiders will play the winner of No. 3 Miami (Fla.) and Bethune-Cookman on Saturday, May 31 at 7 p.m. ET.
Senior left-handed pitcher Jonny Drozd (7-0) earned the win pitching 3.2 scoreless innings to end the game while allowing just two hits with a strikeout.
Columbia reliever Thomas Crispi (3-2) took the loss allowing a run on 2.1 innings on two hits with three walks allowed.
Trailing 1-0 in the fifth inning, senior designated hitter Adam Kirsch hit a two-run homer off the scoreboard in left field to give the Red Raiders a 2-1 lead.
Kirsch went 1-for-1 with three walks. Sophomore left fielder Tyler Neslony extended his hit streak to 19 games while going 2-for-5 and has now reached base safely in 31 consecutive games.
Columbia evened the score at two in the sixth inning as left fielder Robb Paller led off the inning with a single and later scored on an RBI infield single by designated hitter John Kinne.
Drozd retired seven straight batters to close the seventh and sat the Lions down in order in the eighth and ninth innings.
Stephen Smith led off the ninth with a walk and was then pinch ran for by sophomore Zach Davis.
Junior second baseman Bryant Burleson moved Davis to second base with a sacrifice bunt and then sophomore left fielder Tyler Neslony reached base on a fielding error by second baseman Will Savage.
Gutierrez then hit the game-winning double on the 10th pitch of the at-bat as Davis scored from second base.
Junior starting pitcher Chris Sadberry picked up his 10th no decision of the season while going 5.1 innings allowing two runs – both earned – on five hits with five strikeouts and two walks.
Burleson went 1-for-3 with a run scored, freshman third baseman Ryan Long went 1-for-4 and junior shortstop Tim Proudfoot went 1-for-1 with two walks.
- Texas Tech is now 16-18 all-time in NCAA Tournament play.
- Tech has won at least one game in 9-of-10 appearances in the NCAA Tournament.
- Tech has three walk-off wins in its NCAA Tournament history (2001 Rice Regional – vs. No. 19 Arizona State, 9-8… 2002 Fullerton Regional – vs. Washington, 5-4).
- Eric Gutierrez has eight game-winning RBI this season.
- Jonny Drozd is the first Red Raider to be 7-0 in a season since 2011 (John Neely).
- Tyler Neslony’s 19-game hit streak is the longest by a Red Raider since 2004 (Cameron Blair – 20 games).