LUBBOCK, Texas – Texas Tech raced away with two victories on Saturday, defeating Merrimack 21-5 and 20-2 in the next, in front of 4,031 in attendance for a doubleheader at Rip Griffin Park. The No. 19 Red Raiders improve to 9-2 and have won eight-straight games.
Texas Tech outscored Merrimack a combined 41-7 on Saturday, and 58-8 over the three games played thus far.
Jace Jung was 5-of-7 (.714) with one home run, four RBI, and five runs scored in two games. Kurt Wilson went 6-of-10 (.600) with one dinger, eight RBI, and five runs scored, Parker Kelly hit 6-of-11 (.545) from the plate with three home runs, 11 RBI, and four runs scored and Easton Murrell was 2-of-4 with one run to make up a collection of four Red Raiders that owned a batting average better than .500 on Saturday. In total, TTU registered 33 hits to score its 41 runs.
The catalyst in game one from the batter’s box was Kelly. The senior had a career day at the plate as he entered the game with two career home runs, and belted three in the same game including two grand slams for a total of nine RBIs in the contest (watch). He’s the first Red Raiders to record two grand slams in the same calendar week since Tyler Neslony in 2014.
While Kelly provided the long ball, Jung posted a perfect 1.000 on-base percentage getting on base 7-of-7 times. He went 3-of-3 with three walks and was hit by a pitch.
Brandon Birdsell earned the win in game one. He logged 5.0 innings on the bump and surrendered one earned run. He struck out eight against one walk. Brendan Girton, Shay Hartis, and Tyler Hamilton collectively earned the final 12 outs to seal Saturday’s first win.
Game two got underway at 4:10 p.m. and was highlighted by a 13-run fifth inning in a contest that was relatively close up until that point. The Red Raiders saw 12 runs cross home plate before the first out was recorded in the inning. In total, 13 runs were scored using 10 hits and 17 at-bats.
Wilson led the way during the fifth inning outpouring as he posted a career-high five RBIs all in the one frame. He homered in his first at-bat for two RBIs and hit a bases-clearing double (watch) for three more RBIs in his second at-bat.
Alike Birdsell, game two starter Mason Molina provided 5.0 innings of work. He was charged with one earned run as he allowed two hits. He struck out four and walked four. Jase Lopez, Bo Blessie, and Colin Clark closed out the final four innings.
Head Coach Tim Tadlock
On Parker Kelly…
“He’s been a lot better this spring, and he’s definitely worked really hard for where he is, you know, with his swing and his game. He spent a lot of time in the cage and put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears in there and really worked at it. It’s really cool to see a guy come out and get results.”
On the doubleheader…
“It’s about making the effort to play good baseball, pitch to pitch, and dealing with the physical and the mental side of it. Eighteen innings is a lot of innings. It’s a lot of pitches, and really the way we look at it again, are you making the effort to stay pitch-to-pitch through the game, but that’s easier said than done.”
On his grand-slam…
“I felt good, just continuing to trust the Lord and his process, grinding through the processes, and it finally paid off for me, it felt really good … I’ve made a couple of adjustments in the cages. Just got in the mindset of attacking it, instead of letting it come to me.”
The Red Raiders close their four-game set with Merrimack on Sunday with a 1 p.m. first pitch. It will be the last home game for Texas Tech until hosting New Mexico on March 15.
Release provided by MATT BURKHOLDER Texas Tech Athletics