No. 21 Tech Falls 6-2 to No. 9 Tennessee on Opening Night

ARLINGTON, Texas – The No. 21 ranked Texas Tech Baseball program fell to No. 9 Tennessee Friday night, 6-2 at Globe Life Field in the opening game of the 2024 Shriners Children’s College Showdown presented by Kubota. 

Texas Tech (0-1), who turned to righty Kyle Robinson for the second-straight season on opening night, was limited to just five hits and a pair of runs. The Red Raider struck out 17 total times on Friday.

The big offensive strike on the night for Tech, came in the home half of the fifth, when freshman TJ Pompey ripped a two-out, two-RBI triple into the right-centerfield gap. The knock was Pompey’s first hit, first extra-base hit and accounted for his first two careers run driven.

What started out as an old-fashioned pitcher’s duel on opening night, swung in favor of the Vols (1-0) in the fourth, when Clemson transfer Billy Amik wrapped a pitch around the foul pole for the games first two runs.

The ball, which cleared the wall by six inches and clanged off the foul pole, thus giving the Vols a 2-0 lead.

Another critical play in the game occurred just four batters later when Tennessee’s Bradke Lohry drove a groundball up the middle that was deflected by Robinson.

The ball fell to second baseman Tracer Lopez, who fired the ball to first. Lopez’s throw pulled Gavin Kash off the base and allowed Kavares Tears to race around from second and score the third run of the frame. The play was ruled an error on Lopez.

The play also served as the final sequence of Robinson’s outing, as the junior went 3.2 innings allowing just four hits and three runs (two earned). Robinson struck out four.

Seeking to end the frame, the Red Raiders turned to senior Derek Bridges who struck out a batter to end the frame.

Needing a spark, Tech used a lead off seven-pitch walk from Cade McGee and a clutch 1-2 single from Owen Washburn to set the table for Damian Bravo.

Looking to keep the rally going against UTs Andrew Russell, Bravo ripped the second pitch he saw from the righty down the right field line.

The ball hit just fair off the side wall and fell to a Tennessee outfielder who quickly threw the ball back in. Not realizing the base was occupied, Bravo raced toward second where he was tagged out for the first out of the inning.

Following a Tech strikeout, Pompey strolled to the plate for the first time in an RBI situation, and laced the triple that split the outfielders and went into the gap.

With a chance to tie the game with a base hit, Lopez battled, but ultimately struck out swinging on a 3-2 pitch. The sequence proved key, as it marked the last time Tech had a runner in scoring position on the night.

In the top of the sixth, Tech regained momentum, when senior Josh Sanders escaped a bases loaded, no-out situation to keep the game 3-2. Sanders struck out back-to-back batters before inducing a chopper to third to end the frame.

Sanders was one of two Red Raiders to not allow a run in more than an inning of work as the righty combined with Hudson Parker to threw 3.1 innings of one-hit ball.

Down just a run, the Red Raiders weren’t able to break through in the final four trips to the plate, as Tech managed just a Washburn single in the seventh.

Tennessee used three walks to score three more runs in the top of the eighth, putting the game away for good.

“I thought Kyle [Robinson] threw the ball good. Obviously, the ball left the ballpark once when a guy put a good swing on it. That’s going to happen. And then, Russel threw the ball well for them. His fastball has a lot of late life and he’s got a little bit of extension and carry. That’s all three different ways to same the same thing. When he left the ball up in the zone, we needed to have a really good approach against him. We needed to stay short to the ball and we weren’t doing that. We could have done that and still not hit it. But we certainly didn’t do a good job there. On film we saw him sitting 92-94 and we thought it would play up to 95. But tonight, it was 95-96. It was a good fastball. If there was a positive to tonight it was that we got guys into the game and they got their feet wet, and now they can learn from it.”

The Red Raiders look to bounce back Saturday afternoon against Nebraska. First pitch is set for 2:30 p.m. from Globe Life. The Huskers downed Big 12 foe Baylor, 4-1 earlier on Friday morning.


Release Provided By Andrew Stern

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