LUBBOCK, Texas – No. 24 Texas Tech improved to 5-0 this season with its 11-3 victory versus Western Illinois on Friday afternoon at Rip Griffin Park. After falling behind 2-0 in the top of the first, the Red Raiders steadily made its climb, scoring at least once every inning but the fourth and eighth throughout a chilly day at the yard.
Brendan Girton earned his second win this season in a five-inning start. After three singles surrendered to the first four batters faced in the first inning, he allowed three hits to the next 18 batters faced. The first two Western Illinois hitters crossed home plate to give WIU an early 2-0 lead and scratched across one more in the fifth.
The bullpen battery of Andrew Devine (2.0 IP), Josh Sanders (1.0 IP) and Jacob Rogers (1.0 IP) shut down the final four innings allowing just one hit between the quartet. Devine worked a 1-2-3 sixth inning in relief on 12 pitches, and nine strikes. Sanders needed just 11 pitches, with seven strikes, to get past the eighth inning in order.
“Those two guys you can always count on,” said Girton. “They did a really good job of doing what I didn’t, landing some soft stuff. Sanders is gonna get a lot of ground balls, throws a lot of sinkers, and Rodgers did a good job too for his first time coming in there.”
Of the six respective innings the Red Raiders plated runs, four times it was a free pass to the leadoff batter manufactured into runs. In the first, second and fifth, Texas Tech worked a walk while in the seventh a hit-by-pitch was turned into a run.
Four of the Red Raiders’ seven hits, and seven of its 11 RBIs came from its 2-3-4 hitters on Friday which was Gage Harrelson, Kevin Bazzell and Austin Green. Harrelson (2-for-4) led Texas Tech with two hits while Bazzell (1-for-4) and Green (1-for-2) chipped in three RBIs each. Green connected for his team-leading second home run in the third to give Tech a 4-2 lead.
“To me, like a lineup, it all goes hand in hand,” said head coach Tim Tadlock. “A lot of times there’s guys that get hits and they’re the ones that get the results, and a lot of times there’s other guys that are fighting pitches off, extending at-bats that help set it up. Those guys happened to be the ones today that got some hits and drove some runs in. There was a lot of good at-bats up and down there and that’s something we obviously want to continue to do.”
Western Illinois kept the game within reach for much of the game. Tech led 5-3 after six innings but stretched the lead with two runs in the seventh and four in the eighth to put the game out of reach.
“I thought they’re a really tough group,” said Tadlock. “I thought [Mitchell] Sampson really competed through the game, and I thought their lineup did a really good job against Girton and competed with him. You know, tip your hat to them, they played a good game. It’s college baseball, it’s college athletics, a lot of people think it’s easy, it’s not, you gotta go earn the right to win, no matter who you’re playing.”
The series continues at Noon on Saturday between the Red Raiders and Leathernecks. It will be a doubleheader, with the second game planned to start 30-45 after the conclusion of game one.
Release provided by MATT BURKHOLDER Texas Tech Athletics