LUBBOCK, Texas – Bottom of the 10th, tied 4-4 between No. 16 Texas Tech and No. 2 Texas at Rip Griffin Park in front of a sold-out crowd, and the Red Raiders were down to their last out of the frame with runners on second and third base. That was the moment senior Kurt Wilson took matters into his own hands, stealing home (watch) to give Texas Tech the 5-4 extra-innings win in the most unlikely of ways to kick off a three-game series Friday night to open Big 12 play.
It was fireworks from the start, from both sides. The Longhorns quieted the home crowd momentarily as Eric Kennedy jumped on Tech starter Andrew Morris for a home run that sailed over the right-field fence to start the contest. Morris settled in and kept a clean sheet through the next five innings of his outing.
Part of the settling factor was his teammate Easton Murrell did the same to the Longhorns, mashing a leadoff home run in the home half of the first to tie the game (watch). It was his second lead-off home run in the last four games starting from that slot. Two batters later, Jace Jung hit his fifth home run of the season (watch), and just like that it was, 2-1, Red Raiders in front after three at-bats.
In the second inning, Texas Tech went deep again as Hudson White knocked a solo shot (watch) to put Texas Tech in front, 3-1. In total, the Red Raiders produced three solo home runs in their first seven at-bats against Longhorns’ starter Pete Hansen. The Texas pitcher entered the game allowing two home runs in five starts this season, and five total home runs over his previous 30 career appearances.
The home run was the storyline through the first eight innings as the next three runs that would put Texas in front were three more home runs, all solo shots. The Longhorns cut their deficit to 3-2 in the seventh, and back-to-back solo home runs in the eighth against Trendan Parish gave Texas a 4-3 lead.
Texas Tech scrapped across a run in the home of half of the eighth to answer the Longhorns’ top half of the eighth to tie the game, 4-4. Hudson White worked a base on balls to lead off the inning, taking ball-four with a full count, to get on base. He stole second and reached third thanks to a Longhorn throwing error by the catcher in the attempt to catch him stealing second. White scored as Dillon Carter hit a ground ball and Texas elected to throw home but were unsuccessful (watch).
Josh Sanders worked two masterful innings in relief to close the game in the ninth and 10th. He would also earn the win in the appearance striking out three and allowing one hit.
In the bottom of the 10th, two consecutive walks put the Red Raiders on first and second. A sac bunt from Owen Washburn moved both base runners to second and third. Parker Kelly struck out for the second out, and during Dillon Carter’s at-bat, Wilson took off from third and stole home to push Tech to a 5-4 win and improve their home record to a perfect 12-0.
Head Coach Tim Tadlock:
On whether the final play was called or was that Kurt on his own…
“Once we got to two outs, we got communication that if we got in a position when we needed to do it, we’re gonna do it. Kurt made it happen. No doubt about it. Kurt’s initial lead allowed him to do it, the baseball player Kurt is, allowed him to do it.”
On the fans…
“I mean, we’ve had good crowds around here for a long time and we love our fans. We appreciate it. Obviously, the guys feed off of it, if you couldn’t tell in the first inning. We appreciate them coming out and it looked like a packed house to me and they were loud. It doesn’t make it easy on the other team by any stretch of the imagination.”
Tech will continue its series against the Longhorns at 2 p.m. on Saturday at Rip Griffin Park.
Release provided by MATT BURKHOLDER Texas Tech Athletics