LUBBOCK, Texas – The No. 24 Texas Tech baseball team cruised to a 10-3 win over Gonzaga on Saturday afternoon at Rip Griffin Park. The Red Raiders improved to 2-0 in their opening weekend series.
Sophomore Mason Molina led the effort with a strong start on the mound, tossing a one-hit shutout over five innings of work. The southpaw struck out seven on walked three in the contest. Two of the three free passes came during his fifth and last inning, an inning Gonzaga saw its first baserunner reach scoring position in the game.
While Molina kept the opponents’ scoresheet blank, the Red Raiders built a 4-0 lead using productive hits while taking advantage of seven walks issued by Zags’ starter Nate Deschryver in just three innings of work.
“It feels good to have these guys come up behind me, play some good defense, and put up some runs,” said Molina. “It made me more comfortable to be out there.”
It was a chilly start to the day as temperatures hovered in the mid-30s in the morning with a mixture of sleet and rain that delayed first pitch by an hour, but the skies cleared at the Tech offense helped heat up Rip Griffin Park in the sixth inning. The Red Raiders stretched their lead to 9-0 in the frame as the first six batters reached base safely with five scoring.
“The guys did a good job of trying to get their pitch and staying in the strike zone and so they kind of spread it out a little bit,” said head coach Tim Tadlock. “Had a few big hits.”
The Red Raiders’ offense patiently worked Gonzaga’s pitching staff for 11 walks on the afternoon while racking up 10 hits. Gage Harrelson and Austin Green led Tech with two hits each, while six others collected one hit a piece for a complete team effort. Notably, leadoff hitter Nolen Hester reached safely on his first four at-bats with a single and three walks. He scored all three times he walked.
“When I go up there I have an approach I’ve stuck to for a long time and I’ve worked really hard on refining it,” said Hester. “My goal is when I get in the box is to get to first base. No matter what, whether it’s hitting the ball hard or drawing out a walk.”
Chelasis, Wash. native, Taber Fast, took over the bump in the top half of the sixth for his first collegiate action against the team from Spokane, Wash. He worked the sixth and seventh innings in relief of Molina, and faced the minimum six batters for six outs. Fast struck out two and issued one walk but the defense quickly erased the runner turning a 6-4-3 double play.
The Bulldogs scratched across three in the top of the eighth against Jase Lopez, closing the gap to 9-3. The Red Raiders scored one more during the next half-inning to post the 10-3 victory.
Game three of the four-game series starts at 1 p.m. on Sunday. RHP Bo Blessie is the projected starter for Texas Tech while LHP Bradley Mullan is projected for Gonzaga.
Release provided by MATT BURKHOLDER Texas Tech Athletics