The Red Raiders opened their second game of the Shriners College Classic as the home team against the Michigan Wolverines. Mason Molina started on the mound for the Red Raiders and opened with three straight strikeouts to set the tone of the game. The Red Raiders put up five unanswered points through the first two innings of the game until the Wolverines were able to put three across in the top of the third inning. Dylan Maxcey secured the final out of the Wolverines’ half of the inning with an impressive play at the plate. Tech answered with a run of their own in the bottom of the third inning making the game 6-3. Mason Molina threw for six innings recording a career-high 11 strikeouts allowing just three hits, three runs, and one walk.
Neither team scored again until the Red Raiders’ half of the sixth inning where they put another run across, going on to do the same in their half of the seventh. Michigan was able to score a run in the top of the eighth but the Red Raiders quickly answered with two of their own in their half of the inning. The top of the ninth inning caused some trouble for the Red Raiders. Trendan Parish who was brought in to relieve Molina in the seventh secured the first two outs before true freshman Zane Petty was brought in. This was the first time in three appearances that Pettys’ youth really showed and three wolverine runs were allowed before Jase Lopez was brought out from the bullpen to pitch the final strikeout of the game and secure the Red Raider win 10-7.
Game two of the classic looked much better on the offensive front than the first game against Rice. Red Raider bats got hot early and they were able to capitalize in all but two innings. Though things got rocky late in the game the Red Raiders were able to maintain their composure and secure the win. The younger guys on this team continue to impress, Gage Harrelson ending the day with two doubles and an RBI, Dylan Maxcey with an impressive out from behind the plate, Will Burns ending the day with an RBI hit and two walks, and Cade McGarrh in just his second at-bat this season secured a hit and two RBI. This team bounced back from the loss Friday and they did it loudly.
Texas A&M Loss
In the final game of the Shriners College Classic the Red Raiders opened as the home team with true freshman Taber Fast getting the start. Defense looked much better for the Red Raiders early on against the A&M Aggies, the game going scoreless until the top of the fourth when a walk allowed by Fast came back to haunt the Red Raiders and reliever Brandon Beckel scoring a run for the Aggies to go up 0-1. Tech answered the Aggies’ score in the bottom of the sixth with a two-run hit from Dillon Carter to give the Red Raiders the lead. Beckel continued to throw impressive innings and Ryan Free continued to refuse the Aggies and runs through to the top of the 9th inning. Unfortunately, that is where things took a turn, after a rocky attempt to close from true freshman Damian Bravo, the game went tied at 2-2, and this became the start of a long night for both teams. The game went on to extras and then some, going well over five hours of playtime and ending in the bottom of the 16th inning when the Red Raiders were unable to answer two runs from the Aggies, losing the game 2-4.
Though this was a loss, it was one of the more impressive performances I have seen. This true rebuild team made up of mostly freshmen and newcomers took the No. 15 ranked team in the country to 16 extra innings at a neutral site. Brandon Beckel and Ryan Free had impressive innings in relief but there is simply not enough praise for the performance of Kyle Robinson in extra innings. After a couple of rocky starts in Lubbock Robinson pitched the equivalent of a six-inning start all in extra innings, he recorded 6 strikeouts, just one hit, and 3 walks in 79 pitches over those innings. A loss is never fun, but this team has shown there is much to look forward to.
This team seems to have found better footing on the defensive front through the course of the classic. While the regulation game against Michigan was not without errors, the errors suffered against A&M came in the 16th inning of the game which in my opinion earns a bit of leeway. Tech saw their toughest competition yet in this series and they fought in each game they played, leaving Houston 1-2 feels much more promising than it may have in seasons prior.