LUBBOCK, Texas – The No. 24 Texas Tech baseball team won a pair of games, 24-9 and 6-5, in a Saturday doubleheader versus Western Illinois at Rip Griffin Park. The Red Raiders exploded for 17 runs over the final four innings to race away with game one while the Leathernecks kept it close until Drew Woodcox broke a 4-4 tie in the bottom of the eighth with a two-run home run.
Offensively, Dillon Carter led the Red Raiders on Saturday going 6-for-7 (.857) while Gavin Kash was just behind at 5-for-9 (.556) over the two games. Carter hit his first home run since May 3, 2022, at Abilene Christian, and connected for a career-high four hits in game one. Meanwhile, Kash’s four hits in the first game (two doubles and two home runs) marked not only a career-high but the first four-extra base hit game by a Red Raider since Jace Jung did so versus Stephen F. Austin on March 29, 2022.
On the mound, a pair of relievers earned wins for the Red Raiders as Brandon Beckel was credited with the game-one win while Trendan Parish tossed the final four innings for the game-two victory.
The defense played a pivotal role on Saturday, turning five double plays, including three in game two while Parish was on the mound.
Texas Tech’s doubleheader sweep is its first since hosting West Virginia for a pair, on April 23, last year. The Red Raiders improve to 7-0 this season, its best start since winning the first 14 games during the 2018 season.
In Texas Tech’s game one rout, the Red Raiders scored better than four runs in four different innings which included a single-inning best six-run eighth. It was the first time accomplishing that feat since the Red Raiders’ last 20-run-plus explosion on April 2, 2022 at Kansas in a 28-2 win.
Western Illinois broke out for four runs in the top of the fifth, signaling the exit for starter Mason Molina. In his place, Beckel steadied the game by tossing 2 and 2/3 innings of middle relief.
Leading by one run after the top of the fifth, 7-6, the Red Raiders answered by matching the Leathernecks’ four-run output with four of their own to grow the lead back to five, 11-6, after five complete innings. In total, Texas Tech outscored Western Illinois 17-3 after closing the game to a one-run deficit.
Kash (4-for-6) and Carter (4-for-4) both recorded four hits. Gage Harrelson (3-for-5) kept his hot streak going posting his fifth multi-hit game of the season.
Every starter in the game one lineup had at least one RBI. Kash led the way with six.
When Western Illinois scored a pair, the Red Raiders found a way to answer with a pair of runs – to summarize the first five innings of the second game on Saturday. Taber Fast picked up his first collegiate start in game two before being relieved by Parish. The freshman tossed five innings before handing the 4-4 game over to Parish.
The Leathernecks struck first for two runs in the first and kept the lead until the bottom of the second when Tech tied it, 2-2. In the fifth inning, WIU scored two to jump in front 4-2, but Tech answered right back in the bottom half with two runs. WIU was strong with its two-out hitting in both its scoring frames, connecting for all four runs with two outs over the first five innings.
Woodcox played the hero for Texas Tech in the bottom of the eighth, breaking the tie, connecting for a 389-foot home run that sailed over the left-center wall, pushing the home team in front 6-4. While it was his first home run of the season, it wasn’t his first as a Red Raider as his last came back on March 26, 2021 versus South Florida.
Western Illinois did not go quietly as they pushed Parish in the ninth frame. WIU pinch-hitter Chase VanDerGinst led off the ninth and took the first pitch he saw for a home run. Two more would reach base but Parish closed the game with the third strikeout of his outing.
The series finale between Texas Tech and Western Illinois is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Sunday.
RHP Bo Blessie is the projected starter for the Red Raiders while LHP Aron Harrington is scheduled for the Leathernecks.
Release provided by MATT BURKHOLDER Texas Tech Athletics