LUBBOCK, Texas — Following a Round Rock Classic that featured three tough games against strong competition, No. 2 Texas Tech baseball flexed its muscles in a 13-2 win against Southern Tuesday afternoon.
The Red Raiders hit the ball hard, got a good outing from starter Mason Montgomery and made several sparkling plays in the field en route to the blowout win.
Nate Rombach, who’s been Texas Tech’s most potent slugger so far this season, got the scoring started early, launching a three-run homer to dead center field in the first inning.
It was Rombach’s sixth jack of the year, moving him into a tie for second place in the NCAA.
The offense kept coming in the second inning. Two singles and a walk loaded the bases for Brian Klein, who served one down the left field line for a double, scoring all three runners.
Klein went hitless in Round Rock before his walkoff single Sunday night, but Tim Tadlock kept him at the top of the lineup and he delivered with two doubles.
Tadlock said that he thinks walk-off single served as a slump-buster for Klein.
“Anytime one falls in when you’re having a rough stretch, that can get you going,” Tadlock said.
Most Texas Tech ground balls seemed to find holes for singles, and even when they didn’t, Southern’s shoddy fielding put Red Raiders on base.
With the bases loaded in the third inning, Cal Conley bounced one to third baseman Frankie Montesino. Playing the line, Montesino had a prime opportunity to field the ball, step on third and throw to first for a 5-3 double play. But he took his eye off the ball and it trickled into left field, scoring all three baserunners.
The Red Raiders tacked on three more runs in the third, opening up a 12-0 lead early.
On the mound, sophomore lefty Mason Montgomery made his second start of the season and was sharp.
He punched out seven batters in five shutout innings, and made several look silly chasing breaking balls in the dirt.
He got into some trouble in the fourth inning, but was bailed out by his defense. Left fielder Tanner O’Tremba threw out a runner trying to score from second base on a single. Later in the inning, Braxton Fulford fielded a wild pitch off the backstop and gunned a runner attempting to take second base.
That inning was the highlight of an overall stout defensive performance from Texas Tech. Fulford later threw out another Southern runner trying to advance, and Red Raiders infielders made smooth plays on ground balls.
With a 12-0 lead in the fifth inning, Tadlock pulled some of his starters to get at-bats for his back-ups. Klein, Conley, Dylan Neuse and Dru Baker all left the game early.
Connor Queen also replaced Montgomery in the sixth inning. He went two shutout innings before giving way to Brandon Hendrix. After pitching a scoreless eighth inning, Hendrix allowed a two-run homer to Zavier Moore for Southern’s only runs of the game.
Southern will not be one of Texas Tech’s toughest opponents, but the Jaguars played a close game with No. 11 LSU earlier this season. Texas Tech played well overall, with very few blemishes. Tim Tadlock couldn’t ask for much more.