LUBBOCK, Texas - The No. 9 Texas Tech baseball team erased a pair of deficits to earn a gritty 6-4 comeback victory over Duke in-front of a record 4,818 fans on Saturday at RIP Griffin Park to begin the NCAA Lubbock Super Regional.
The Red Raiders (43-17) wiped away 3-0 and 4-3 holes to snatch a 1-0 series advantage over the Blue Devils (44-17) and pull within one victory of the program’s third trip to the College World Series.
The three-run comeback for Texas Tech equaled its largest of the season. The Red Raiders overcame an early 3-0 first-inning deficit to knock off Oklahoma State, 14-6, on May 18. Duke had its 32-game winning streak come to a close when leading after five innings this season.
All square at 4-4, Texas Tech struck for a pair of runs in the home half of the eighth inning. Cody Farhat connected for a one-out single to left field. Then, Braxton Fulford dropped down a bunt. Both runners were safe after a throwing error by Duke catcher Chris Proctor attempting to get Farhat out at second.
The Red Raiders capitalized and plated the go-ahead run as Gabe Holt laced an RBI single through the right side. Texas Tech added an insurance run when Brian Klein belted a 1-2 offering for an RBI double down the right field line to make it 6-4.
The Red Raiders turned to junior right-hander Ty Harpenau, who closed the door on the Blue Devils for his fourth save of the season. Duke placed the tying runs on-base before Harpenau induced a game-ending double play.
It marked the fourth time in program history that Texas Tech has overcome at least a three-run deficit during a NCAA Tournament game. The previous occasions were against Milwaukee (5-0 to 8-5) on May 29, 1999, versus Arizona State (8-3 to 9-8) on May 26, 2001 and against Mississippi State (3-0 to 14-7) on June 5, 2004.
Senior left-handed pitcher Dylan Dusek got the start for the Red Raiders, going 1.2 innings against the Blue Devils. He allowed one run, unearned, on two hits & a walk, before giving way to junior RHP Ryan Shetter. He tossed 4.2 frames for Tech, allowing two runs on four hits, no walks, and struck out three.
Senior right-hander Jose Quezada improved to 5-2 for the Red Raiders after he fired 1.2 innings of one-hit relief.
Duke struck first after a scoreless opening inning, using a two-out single from Miller to score Loperfido, who singled earlier in the frame for a 1-0 lead. In the fifth inning, Duke added two more runs, taking advantage of a pair of hit-by-pitch sequences to Crabtree & Herron with an RBI double from Kone to make it 3-0.
The Red Raiders cut the deficit to one with two runs of their own in the bottom half of the fifth inning. Tech put two on early in the frame with a single by Holt and a walk to Klein. The duo were cleared off the base path by a two-out double to the gap in left-center field by Little, his team-leading 23rd double of the year, to make it a 3-2 game.
Tech tied it at three in the next inning after Holt hit into a fielder’s choice with the bases loaded. A single (Warren), a hit-by-pitch (Farhat) and a walk (Fulford) brought up Holt, who sent a grounder behind second base, which needed a diving play by the second baseman to get the out in front of him, but allowed Holt to reach & Warren to score to knot the game up at three.
Duke answered in the next frame with a two-out single to go ahead, 4-3. Back-to-back walks with two away in the inning allowed a knock through the right side of the infield from Kone to re-take the lead.
It wouldn’t be a 2018 postseason game with a dinger from Rheams, and he delivered in the seventh inning, sending a two-out solo shot over the right field wall to tie the game at four. It was his 17th homer of the year and fourth of the NCAA Tournament. The two-run eighth inning would be the fourth-straight frame the Red Raiders scored in, taking their first lead of the day to round out the scoring at 6-4.
Tech returns to action on Sunday, June 10, at 5 p.m., on ESPNU, with the magic number at one to earn a trip to the College World Series in Omaha.
Coutesy of Texas Tech Athletics Communications Department
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