Free, Quick Offense Sends Tech to Day Four of Phillips 66 Big 12 Championships

ARLINGTON, Texas – In a quick turnaround and after a loss last night, Texas Tech Baseball bounced back on Thursday afternoon, defeating Cincinnati 10-5 at Globe Life Field to advance to Friday at the 2024 Phillips 66 Big 12 Championships.

In his seventh start of the season, Texas Tech (33-25) senior Ryan Free threw one of his best starts as a Red Raider, pitching into the seventh for the first time in his career. Free allowed just one run in his first six innings of work and ended up allowing just three runs in six-and-two-thirds of work. The lefty scattered three hits and two walks and struck out four.

Staked to a 3-0 lead before he had to throw a pitch, Free breezed through the first two innings allowing just a walk to the first seven batters he faced.

Tech got the three-nothing lead on a pair of singles from Gage Harrelson, Damian Bravo and a ground-rule double from Kevin Bazzell. The inning also including an RBI single from Cade McGee and the first of two sacrifice flies from Owen Washburn. Washburn drove in three, while Harrelson scored twice.

In the second, Tech blew the game wide open, scoring five runs on an sac-fly from Bravo, a pair of bases loaded walks and a two-RBI single from catcher Dylan Maxcey.

Armed with an 8-0 lead, Free breezed through the next couple of innings allowing just an RBI double by Lauden Brooks after a failed pickoff attempt put a runner in scoring position.

The game remained 8-1 until the seventh, when Tech loaded the bases with nobody out for Washburn. The right fielder lifted the second sac-fly to give Tech a 9-1 lead.

Looking to secure the longest outing of his career, Free recorded the first two outs of the seventh with ease and got ahead of the next batter 0-2, but Cincinnati’s (32-25) Josh Hegemann battled back to walk.

The walk proved to be a spark as Alec Jones hit a two-run homer to cut the Tech lead to 9-3. Jones homer forced a pitching change as Tech turned to Parker Hutyra who after a walk got through the inning.

After Tech added a run in the eighth to go-ahead 10-3, Hutyra returned for the eighth and used two punchouts and a grounder to send the game to the ninth.

In the ninth, the Bearcats pulled to within 10-5 on another two-run homer from Jones, but Hutyra rebounded to end the game on a grounder and a strike out.

UP NEXT:

The Red Raiders will turn their attention to Friday night where the loser of tonight’s 1-0 game between OSU and UCF would await at 4 p.m.

If the Red Raiders eliminate either the Cowboys or Knights, they would face the winner of OSU and UCF for a spot in Saturday’s championship game. First pitch for the second game is set for 7:30 p.m.

–TECH–

Release Provided By Andrew Stern Texas Tech Athletics

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