Texas Tech survives 9th inning scare, wins on Conley walk-off

Red Raider Nation

Photo credit: Texas Tech athletics.

LUBBOCK, Texas — For the second time in three games, No. 8 Texas Tech baseball won on a Cal Conley walk-off.

The Red Raiders beat Stephen F. Austin 4-3 on Conley’s heroics, improving to 23-7 on the season. The clutch hit rescued a win that the Red Raiders had nearly blown.

With SFA down to its last out and Texas Tech leading 3-0, TTU reliever Andrew Devine walked two batters and hit another. Derek Bridges came in for him, but SFA’s Kade Clemens smoked one down the left field for a game-tying, bases-clearing double.

With the game tied in the bottom half of the inning, Braxton Fulford hit a one-out single in the ninth inning, and advanced to second base on an error by the left fielder. After an intentional walk to Jace Jung, he advanced to third on a wild pitch. SFA then put Cole Stilwell on with an intentional walk, setting up Conley for a line-drive, walk-off single to left field.

Tim Tadlock leaned on freshman pitchers to get through the game.

Brendan Girton got the start for the first time in his career and pitched well. He pitched to contact — striking out just two hitters — but induced a plenty of ground balls. He threw four scoreless innings, and eight of his 12 outs came on the ground.

Girton gave way to Sanders, who tossed two scoreless innings. Hampton was perfect in the seventh and eighth innings, but Devine and Bridges got into trouble in the ninth.

While the TTU pitching was sturdy for most of the night, the Red Raider lineup faced equally stiff competition from SFA starting pitcher Joseph Sgambelluri.

The first three Tech hitters of the game reached base, and Easton Murrell scored on a Cole Stilwell sac fly. But that was all they would get off Sgambelluri.

Part of his success was keeping Jace Jung from doing damage. Coming off a three-home run game, Texas Tech’s second baseman did not get many pitches to hit, and walked in all three of his plate appearances against Sgambelluri. The Red Raiders drew seven walks against the SFA starter, but managed just three hits.

Sgambelluri gave way to Cull Mangus in the seventh inning, and he made the mistake of giving Jung a pitch to hit. After two runners reached base on hit-by-pitches, Jung lined a first-pitch fastball into right-center for an RBI single. Stilwell came up next and laced an RBI double, providing the third run of the game.

The Texas Tech lineup wasn’t the beast it was in Sunday’s 17-7 win over TCU, but Conley came up clutch once again to deliver the win.

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