MORGANTOWN, West Virginia — Texas Tech baseball blew a late lead to West Virginia Saturday, falling 6-5 on a walk-off fielder’s choice in the ninth inning.
The No. 7 Red Raiders (25-8, 6-5 Big 12) led the Mountaineers (14-15, 5-6 Big 12) 5-4 going into the eighth inning, but allowed the game-tying run in the eighth and the game-winning run in the ninth.
In the ninth inning, the first three Mountaineer hitters reached base off of Ryan Sublette, and the winning run scored on a ground ball to first base with the bases loaded. First baseman Cole Stilwell fielded the ball and threw home, but catcher Braxton Fulford’s foot was off home plate, allowing the runner to come home safely.
Texas Tech had to battle back from an early deficit to take the lead that it brought into the late innings.
The Mountaineers took a 3-0 lead to open the game with help from some sloppy play by the Red Raiders. Texas Tech committed three errors in the first two innings of the game. One run scored on a Jace Jung error in the first inning, and another came in on a wild pitch.
After that, Texas Tech starting pitcher Micah Dallas settled in. He blanked the Mountaineers in the third and fourth innings before allowing his fourth and final run in the fifth.
The Red Raiders tacked on a run each in the fourth and fifth innings, and trailed 4-2 going into the sixth, where they rallied to take the lead.
The go-ahead rally was not painless. Four different Tech players were hit by pitches in the sixth inning, three of which came around to score, giving the Red Raiders their 5-4 lead.
Mountaineer pitchers had shaky command all evening, walking seven Red Raider hitters and plunking six more. Designated hitter Cody Masters came to bat five times and did not have an official at-bat. He walked three times and was hit twice.
The teams will play the series’ rubber match Sunday at noon.