LUBBOCK, TEXAS – No. 30 Texas Tech scored three runs in the fifth inning and held off a late Kansas State rally in the ninth to win its first Big 12 series opener of the season, 4-3, on Friday evening in front of 2,709 fans at Dan Law Field at Rip Griffin Park.
The victory improves Texas Tech to 26-11 overall and to 6-7 in Big 12 play. Tech has matched its total number of wins from a year ago (26) while also equaling its home wins (19) from 2013. K-State (20-14, 2-5 Big 12) dropped to 5-10 on the road this season.
Junior left-handed pitcher Cameron Smith (5-0) earned the win in relief pitching five scoreless innings allowing just one base hit and a walk with five strikeouts. He is the first Red Raider to start a season 5-0 since 2011 (John Neely).
K-State starting pitcher Levi MaVorhis (4-4) took the loss allowing three runs (two earned) on six hits with three strikeouts and a walk in 6.1 innings.
With Tech trailing 2-0, the Red Raiders started the fifth inning with three consecutive base hits, the third a bunt single by shortstop Tim Proudfoot that ended with a run scoring on a throwing error by MaVorhis.
Hunter Redman, who singled to left in the fifth, then scored on right fielder Stephen Smith’s grounder to shortstop Austin Fisher, who bobbled the grounder and then threw wide at first base allowing Smith to reach base and Proudfoot to score from second base on the second error of the play, which gave Tech a 3-2 advantage.
Neither team scored in the sixth or seventh innings, but Tech added to its lead and scored the eventual game-winning run in the eighth when senior designated hitter Adam Kirsch tapped a grounder back to K-State reliever Jake Matthys, who fielded and threw home but the throw was wild and pinch runner Zach Davis scored on the play to give Tech a 4-2 lead.
In the ninth, senior left-handed pitcher Jonny Drozd, who recorded the last two outs of the eighth, got a strikeout before allowing a base hit to left field and a hit-by-pitch. K-State designated hitter Tanner DeVinny then singled through the left side to score Fisher to cutting Tech’s lead to a run, 4-3.
Drozd then go Max Brown to ground to Barrios at third base who stepped on the bag and threw across to Gutierrez to end the game.
Drozd earned his third save of the season allowing one run on three hits with two strikeouts in 1.2 innings of work.
Gutierrez went 2-for-4 with a double and junior catcher Hunter Redman went 2-for-3 with a run scored and a walk to lead the Red Raiders at the plate. Smith (1-for-4, RBI) was the only Red Raider with an RBI in the game.
The Red Raiders will look for their first Big 12 series win at home this season with game two of the series on Saturday, Apr. 12 at 3 p.m. at Dan Law Field at Rip Griffin Park.
--TEXAS TECH PRESS RELEASE--