No. 24 Tech extends season edging UNCG, 2-0
Release provided by Texas Tech Athletics

STATESBORO, Ga. – No. 24 Texas Tech survived and advanced on Saturday, edging out UNC Greensboro 2-0 in an elimination game at the Statesboro Regional. The Red Raiders will play the Notre Dame/Georgia Southern (Gm. 4) loser in the first game played on Sunday.

The shutout marked the second of the season tossed by the Texas Tech pitching staff, and both were led by starting pitcher Brandon Birdsell dating back to his start on April 9 when the Red Raiders defeated Kansas State 14-0.

On Saturday, Birdsell fired seven scoreless innings and allowed five singles. UNCG tallied one single against the righty in each of the first three innings but he and the defense would not allow any to reach scoring position. In the fourth, a pair of one-out singles put the first Spartan in scoring position with runners on the corners, but Birdsell produced a popup in foul territory followed by a groundout fielder’s choice to end the threat.

Starting with the two outs made in the fourth inning, the Big 12 Pitcher of the Year retired nine straight until issuing two consecutive one-out walks in the seventh. With runners on the corners for a second time, but this time with two outs, Birdsell fired a strikeout to end the inning unscathed. Before the final out opportunity, the second out was a run-saving defensive effort by a diving Parker Kelly, robbing a potential RBI base hit (watch) as he got the glove on a sharply hit ground ball to the left side. He fired to second base for the force, halting the runner at third base and leaving the other at first on the fielder’s choice.

While Birdsell was dealing, UNCG’s starting pitcher was matching the performance giving patrons a 0-0 pitcher’s duel after seven innings of baseball being played.

The strikeout Birdsell tossed to end the bottom of the seventh may have been the momentum boost Texas Tech needed as the offense came alive in the top half of the eighth sparked by a Dillon Carter leadoff single. Easton Murrell executed a sacrifice bunt to move Carter into scoring position while Cole Stilwell advanced Carter 90 more feet on a fly out to center field that nearly hit the grass for a hit. Jace Jung was given a free pass being intentionally walked to give Tech runners on the corners. Jung then stole second to get into scoring position to set up the game’s only two runs to cross home plate.

Similar to Friday night’s devastating go-ahead run surrendered to Notre Dame in the bottom of the eighth due to a wild pitch that resulted in a 3-2 loss. On Saturday, UNCG tossed a wild pitch with Carter on third base and Jung on second, and both alertly jumped at the opportunity, and each scored on the play to ultimately decide the game (watch).

Quotable

Head Coach Tim Tadlock
On the defense…
“Guys made some really good plays. [From the] first hitter of the game, Parker stayed with the play and finished it. We benefited there obviously, with the guy thinking the ball was foul. There were a lot of balls hit on both sides that were hit hard and obviously [Dillon Carter] took a single off the board for sure with the diving play he made late. Some guys made some routine ones also.”

On Brandon Birdsell…
“I thought Brandon Birdsell was just what the doctor ordered. Kind of what he’s done all year, gone out there and given us a chance to win every time he takes the mound. Elite stuff, pounding the strike zone and the guys played good defense behind him.”

On UNCG…
“I want to congratulate Coach Godwin and UNC-Greensboro, that’s as tough a deal as you can have, what they just drew up. Literally to play Game 1 of a Regional and then turn around and face Brandon Birdsell. Not many people would want to sign up for that. They got a great team; Billy does a great job with them and a great year for them.”

 

–TECH–

Release provided by MATT BURKHOLDER Texas Tech Athletics

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