OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — The No. 7 Texas Tech baseball team opened up a 5-1 lead through three innings and diffused a late push by Kansas State for a 7-4 win to open the 2019 Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship Wednesday afternoon at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.
The Red Raiders (37-15) piled up 14 hits with three apiece from senior Cameron Warren and junior Josh Jung and multi-hit games from sophomores Gabe Holt and Kurt Wilson. It’s the second time Tech has won its opener at the event since 2005.
Tech’s quick start chased Big 12 Freshman of the Year Jordan Wicks (6-3) after three innings. The Wildcats (25-32) drew within one with two runs in the fifth and one in the seventh, but an RBI single from Cody Masters and a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch of Easton Murrell added two insurance runs.
On the flip side, Tech starter Micah Dallas (5-0) retired 13 of 14 batters at one point in the fifth. His lone blemish during that stretch was a solo home run in the second. The Wildcats put together a two-out rally in the fifth to score a pair and bring John McMillon out for the sixth.
Holt set the tone offensively with singles in the first two innings. In the first, a two-out triple from junior Brian Klein and a base hit from Jung got the Red Raiders on the board.
The two-out hitting continued in the second with sophomore Braxton Fulford engineering a rally with a double down the right field line. Holt’s second single knocked him in to make it 2-0 after two.
The Red Raiders added three runs in the third as the first two men reached on walks. Warren tagged a single that scored a run, and Parker Kelly added another with a single through the left side that made it a 5-1 advantage.
After K-State battled back to make it 5-4, Tech got two insurance runs in the seventh. Jung walked and then three straight hits netted a run before a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch from pinch-hitter Easton Murrell grew the lead back to three.
Junior John McMillon gave Tech three solid innings in relief to carry Tech to the ninth. Junior Taylor Floyd would come out of the pen with the bases loaded and one out in the ninth. He produced a slow comebacker to get the second out of the inning at home and then struck out the final batter of the game.
The top-seeded Red Raiders move on to play the fourth-seeded West Virginia at 4 p.m. Thursday on the winner’s side of the Division One bracket. Tech will start junior right-hander Caleb Kilian (8-2) against Big 12 Pitcher of the Year Alek Manoah (8-3).
(Courtesy: Texas Tech Sports Communications Department)