Red Raiders Sweep DH, Series from No. 22 WVU

LUBBOCK, Texas – An early three-run second inning in game one of the doubleheader, a pair of home runs from Cade McGee and seven strong innings from junior Kyle Robinson pushed Texas Tech Baseball to both a doubleheader sweep and a series sweep over No. 22 West Virginia Sunday afternoon at Dan Law Field at Rip Griffin Park.

After an easy 15-2 Texas Tech (29-13, 12-9 Big 12) victory on Friday and rain necessitated the postponement of yesterday’s second game of the series, the Red Raiders closed out the weekend in style on a 6-4 win in Sunday’s first game and a 3-1 win in the night cap.

On the weekend, the Red Raiders allowed no more than two runs in a frame, as 10 Red Raider pitchers combined to strike out 32 West Virginia (23-16, 11-7 Big 12) batters over the weekend sweep.

Freshman Mac Heuer battled through five two-run innings to earn his fourth victory of the season in the opening game of the doubleheader, while Robinson fired the seven one-run innings to also earn his fourth victory of the season.

That mark includes 18 punchouts from the Red Raider starting pitchers (Ryan Free, Heuer and Robinson) in 18 innings pitched and 14 punchouts from the seven relievers that combined to throw nine two-run innings.

In the opening game on Sunday, the Raiders turned to the freshman Heuer who needed just 25 pitches to breeze through a pair of perfect innings.

With the game still scoreless heading to the home half of the second and following a seven-pitch strike out from Drew Woodcox, back-to-back-to-back singles from McGee, Bravo and catcher Dylan Maxcey gave the Red Raiders a 1-0 lead.

With runner on the corners and two outs, the Red Raiders got a two-RBI double from Gavin Kash to plate the second and third runs of the inning.

Armed with a 3-0 lead, Heuer retired the first two Mountaineers in order before a two-out single. With the runner on first running with two outs, Maxcey uncorked a perfect seed to second base to catch Sam White trying to steal second.

In the fourth, Heuer got the first two outs of the frame, but a single and a walk brought the tying run to the plate in the form of outfielder Kyle West. West ripped the first offering he saw from Heuer for an RBI double down the line.

The ball which was headed for the corner, only plated one and was ruled a grounds-rule double after being interfered with by a Saddle Tramp down the right field line.

West’s double could have easily plated a pair, but instead placed runners on second and third. After a four-pitch walk, Heuer rebounded to get Brady Kresser on a flyout.

With a 3-1 lead heading to the fifth, Heuer again faced the bases loaded this time with one out for White who won a seven-pitch battle for a base-on-balls that cut the Tech lead to 3-2.

With the bases loaded and one man out, Heuer rolled up a 5-4-3 double play ball on a 2-2 count that sent the game to the bottom half of the fifth with the Red Raiders clinging to a 3-2 lead.

After a scoreless bottom of the fifth, Tech turned to junior lefty Brendan Lysik who worked around a pair of one-out hit-by-pitches to retire back-to-back batters on a pair of swinging strike outs.

Looking to expand a one-run lead, Tech did just that when McGee ripped the first pitch, he saw from WVUs lefty Derek Clark for a 425-foot home run that left the bat at 108 MPH.

Armed with a two-run lead again, the Red Raiders quickly made it a three-run game when a Kash double plated Tracer Lopez who singled with two outs.

Returning for the seventh, Lysik retired the first two batters in order before a five-pitch walk to White prompted a pitching change.

Entering from the bullpen, freshman Parker Hutyra worked around a two-out single to strike out Kyle West and strand runners on first and second.

The game remained 6-3 Tech until the eighth, when a two-out double from projected first overall pick in the 2024 MLB Draft JJ Weatherholt brought the Mountaineers to within 6-5. The two runs, which were charged to Hutyra were the first two runs Hutyra had allowed at home this season and marked the first two runs allowed by the righty since Feb. 21 against Oregon State.

Tech used another double from Kash and three straight walks to plate a key insurance run for Josh Sanders in the ninth.

With a two-run lead, Sanders worked around a leadoff walk to White and back-to-back singles to strand the bases loaded on a strike out and a fly out.

In the opening game of the doubleheader Kash went 4-for-5 with three RBIs and three doubles while McGee, Bravo and Maxcey all went 2-for-4.
In Sunday’s nightcap of the doubleheader and series finale the Red Raiders turned to Robinson, who battling control issues settled down nicely to retire 16 of the final 19 batters he faced.

After allowing a leadoff walk to Weather followed by a single, Robinson coaxed a groundball from White to second baseman TJ Pompey. Pompey fielded it cleanly and threw it accurately to Lopez who clipped the bag for the first out of the inning.

The out proved to be a catalyst for Robinson, who used a four-pitch strike out and a flyout to escape the first unscathed.

Back-to-back one out walks by Pompey and Bazzell placed a pair on base in the home half of the first, but WVU starter Tyle Switalski used a strike out and a flyout to fire a zero for his team in the first.

In the second, Robinson again found trouble when he hit the leadoff batter, Grant Hussey.

The next batter for WVU, Kresser, hit a ground ball to Pompey. With Hussey breaking for second on the pitch, the first baseman slid into Pompey who as he was being interfered with uncorked a wild throw to first base.

With runners on the corners and nobody out, the Red Raiders challenged the play and the umpires not only deemed Hussey out at second on video review, but also determined that he interefered with Pompey’s ability to thorw the ball to first. As a result, the play was deemed runners interference and Tech got two key outs on the ball.

The interference proved to be a key decision, as the next three Mountaineers walked, singled and singled. The final single from Weatherholt gave WVU a 1-0 lead and placed runners on first and second for catcher Logan Sauve who ultimately struck out to end the frame.

For the second time in the game, McGee opened the frame with a longball, as this time he lifted the 10th pitch he saw from Switalksi for his team-leading 10th home run of the season and fourth of the week.

In a 1-1 game, Bravo beat out a single to Weatherholt, who even though he had no chance at nabbing the outfielder at first threw the ball anyway. His errant throw sailed into the first base camera well as Bravo was awarded second.

After a single from freshman Garet Boehm and a walk loaded the bases with nobody out for Kash, the first baseman grounded into a 4-6-3 double play that scored Bravo from third, giving the Red Raiders a 2-1 lead.

What started with both pitchers struggling with command, quickly turned into quite the battle, as Robinson and WVU reliever Hayden Cooper traded zeros all the way into the eighth.

Cooper, who allowed both the single to Boehm and Walk to Lopez, allowed just four hits and a run in his six innings of work. The hard-throwing righty retired 10 in-a-row after a leadoff double from Bazzell in the third.

That streak was snapped on a one-out hit-by-pitch by Woodcox in the sixth.

In fact, to show the dominance of both Robinson and Cooper, the Tech and WVU bats managed just one hit apiece from third until the seventh innings. The lone hit for Tech was the leadoff double from Bazzell in the third while WVUs lone hit was a two out single in the fourth.

Heading to the seventh in a 2-1 game, and with nearly 100 pitches (98 at the time), Robinson returned for the seventh, using a pair of nasty pitches to strike out the first two batters he faced.

WVU LF Michael Perazza singled to get on base representing the tying run. After a close play at second on a steal attempt went in favor of WVU, the Red Raider attempted to challenge the play but were told they were unable to due to waiting too long.

After a five-pitch walk to Wetherholt placed the go-ahead run on first, Robinson stranded both Perazza and Wetherholt on a popup in front of home plate that Bazzell was able to squeeze.

Tech got a second basehit from Boehm who immediately departed for pinch runner Gage Harrelson with nobody out. Boehm, who made his first career start at designated hitter on Sunday afternoon went 2-for-3.

A Lopez sac-bunt advanced Harrelson to second, but Cooper used a flyout and ground out to strand Harrelson at second.

In the eighth, Tech turned to sophomore Zach Erdman, who after getting White swinging on strikes for the first out, allowed a single to Reed Chumley. With the tying run on base, West ripped a double into the corner.

Right fielder Austin Green dug the ball out of the corner as Chumley was racing around third, and delivered a perfect strike to Pompey, who completed the perfect 9-4-2 relay with a strike to the plate.

The throw was received well by Bazzell, who swiped the tag on Chumley before he could slide into home safely.

After WVU turned to a pitch runner, who stole third, Erdman snapped off maybe the most important pitch he’s thrown in a Tech uniform, a nasty breaking ball that Hussey swung a missed through for strike three.

Looking to add a key insurance run, Tech turned to its catcher Bazzell, who with a mighty swing of his bat 106 MPH fly ball that traveled over 376 feet over the wall in left. The homer was the Preseason All-American’s fifth of the season.

Up by a pair once again, the Red Raiders turned to righty Jacob Rogers rebounded from a leadoff triple from Kresser, using a popup to left and a strikeout to put a pair of outs on the board.

Batting as the tying run, Wetherholt hit the second offering he saw from the hard-throwing righty right back up the middle. Rogers snared the 90 MPH comebacker and underhanded a perfect feed to Kash for the third and final out of the game.

With the 3-1 win, the Red Raiders ran their home winning streak to 11 games, dating back to the BYU series. That streak includes a pair of wins over BYU, a midweek win over Stephen F. Austin, a two-game sweep of Stanford and a pair of three-game sweeps of Houston and WVU.

Tech also recorded its 20th and 21st home wins of the season, marking the 10th-straight season (excluding the COVID-19 shortened season where Tech played just 11 games at home) that Tech has secured 20 home victories in a season in HC Tim Tadlock’s 12 seasons.

As previously mentioned, the Red Raiders have now won eight straight Big 12 home games, marking the first back-to-back Big 12 home sweeps since the 2016 season. Tech’s eight game home Big 12 winning streak is the longest since the 2014 season when the Red Raiders swept: Kansas State, Oklahoma and West Virginia in succession.

The Red Raiders will look to run the home winning streak to 12 games on Tuesday afternoon when the Lobos of UNM visit. First pitch from The Rip is set for 2 p.m.



Release Provided By Andrew Stern Texas Tech Athletics

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