ROUND ROCK, Texas – No. 1/6 Texas Tech baseball suffered its first loss of the season Friday night, 6-2, to Tennessee in its opener at the inaugural Round Rock Classic inside a frigid Dell Diamond.
The Red Raiders (4-1) spotted the Vols (5-0) three runs in the bottom of the first and were unable to climb out of the hole as Tennessee starter Chad Dallas (2-0) and reliever Sean Hunley combined to limit Tech to its lowest hit and run totals of the young season.
After scoring 65 runs last weekend, the Red Raiders managed just two runs on six hits on Saturday while leaving seven on base. Tech scored a run in the third and another in the fourth to make it a 4-2 game, but Tennessee added a pair of insurance runs in the sixth and seventh to keep a comfortable distance from the potent Red Raider lineup.
The Vols got out to a fast start thanks to an inside-the-park home run and a two-run dinger in the bottom of the first. Tech right fielder Dru Baker made a diving attempt at a liner from designated hitter Zach Daniels, but the ball escaped Baker and rolled to the wall, which allowed Daniels to score after the throw back in to the infield missed the cutoffs.
Tennessee added a solo home run in the sixth before using a two-out double in the seventh from nine-hole hitter Liam Spence extended the lead to 6-2. Daniels led the Vols, going 2-for-4 with the homer, a double and two runs scored.
Junior Braxton Fulford had Tech’s only multi-hit game, going 2-for-4, while freshmen Cal Conley and Nate Rombach plated Tech’s only two RBI of the night. Conley drove in the first run with a fielder’s choice to short with men on the corners where he hustled to beat out the double-play throw. Rombach scored Neuse in the fourth with a sacrifice fly to center after Neuse reached third by singling, moving on a wild pitch and stealing third.
Tech starter Clayton Beeter (1-1) allowed four runs on five hits in the loss. He struck out eight batters and yielded three walks over 4.0 frames in just his second career start. Senior John McMillon and junior Kurt Wilson closed out the remaining four frames, allowing two runs on three hits with four strikeouts. Tech pitchers combined for 12 strikeouts of the Vols.
The Red Raiders continue play at the Round Rock Classic on Saturday as it looks to rebound against No. 15/25 Stanford (1-4) at 6 p.m. Fans can watch the action on FloBaseball.TV or listen in on the Texas Tech Sports Network. Tech will start right-hander Bryce Bonnin (1-0) on Saturday followed by Austin Becker (1-0) on Sunday. Stanford is expected to start freshman left-hander Quinn Matthews (0-1) Saturday.