No. 9 Texas Tech (10-3) sweeps Gonzaga (6-7) behind two game-winning doubles in back to back games. The Red Raiders take both games of the mid-week series by a score of 5-4.
In the first outing, Texas Tech trotted out sophomore pitcher Micah Dallas. Dallas pitched an efficient six innings where he struck out four batters and allowed only one run in only 74 pitches. Dallas left the game after the sixth frame with the score knotted at one a piece.
In came a pair of Texas Tech arms that struggled to keep things going for the Red Raider defense. Jamie Hitt and Levi Wells combined to allow three runs on three hits, three walks, one wild pitch, and no strikeouts in 1.3 innings pitched.
Fortunately for the Red Raiders, their offense was able to find their rhythm amid their defensive struggles as they recorded a huge seventh inning that saw them score three runs due to a few seventh inning walks that were capped off by a two-out based loaded double by freshman catcher Nate Rombach. Rombach was able to clear the bases to give the Red Raiders a 5-3 lead heading into the eighth inning.
Texas Tech surrendered a run early in the eighth, but Tadlock sent in freshman Brenden Girton to finish the job. In 1.2 innings, Girton allowed no hits, no walks, and four strikeouts while facing six batters to give his team the 5-4 win.
In the second game against the Bulldogs, the Red Raider offense was able to get going early through several defensive miscues by Gonzaga (all three runs scored in the first three innings were a result of an error).
Gonzaga answered in the sixth inning, scoring two runs behind a Grayson Sterling single that brought in two runs and tied the game at three going into the bottom half of the frame.
Another game, another game-winning double to left center. This time it was Jace Jung, the big 12 leader in home runs (6) and RBIs (23), who sliced a ball past the outstretched glove of Gonzaga center fielder, Guthrie Morrison. The double would score two and put the Red Raiders back on top by a score of 5-3.
Gonzaga once again made the game interesting by putting two men on with two outs in the top of the ninth down 5-4. That’s when senior pitcher, Connor Queen, took the mound for the Red Raiders. In two pitches, Queen popped up Brett Harris and sent the Bulldogs home packing as Texas Tech took the second and final game of the series, 5-4.
Takeaways from the Gonzaga series:
- In the last three games, Texas Tech has shown a knack for getting hits when they need it the most. Against Texas A&M-CC , Jace Jung hit a bases loaded double in the seventh inning to send in three runners in a game Tech ended up winning 4-3. In the first game against Gonzaga, Rombach hits a bases loaded double in the seventh to lead Texas Tech to a 5-4 win. And once again, Jace Jung answers with a two out double to send two runners home in the eighth inning to give Texas Tech yet another one score victory of 5-4.
- The pitching struggles that are present with these pitchers seem to be mainly occurring with younger players. Jamie Hitt, Levi Wells, and Hayde Key are all extremely talented freshman arms, and all three of them struggled this series to handle the lineup of Gonzaga. Over the course of the season, it should be expected that these players will struggle through some growing pains. Tadlock made it a point of emphasis to go after young, talented pitchers in his last recruiting cycle. And while it should prove beneficial for the Red Raiders in postseason play, it must be expected that it will take time for these players to find confidence in their skills and role within the team.
Texas Tech will face off against the UConn in a four game series this weekend at Dan Law field. These games will be streamed on ESPN+ and will be at the following timeslots: March 12th 6:30 p.m. CST, March 13th 2 p.m. CST, March 14th 2 p.m. CST, and March 15th 1 p.m. CST.