Strong Work from the ‘Pen, Ninth Inning Rally Pushes Tech Past Nebraska, 6-3

ARLINGTON, Texas — Powered by seven one-run innings from a trio of relievers, and a pair of clutch base hits from Tracer Lopez and Austin Green, the No. 21 Texas Tech downed former Big 12 foe Nebraska, 6-3 Saturday afternoon in the second game of the 2024 Shriners Children’s College Showdown presented by Kubota.

In just the second matchup between the former Big 12 foes, Texas Tech (1-1) used a pair RBI hits from Lopez and Green to spark the three-run ninth inning frame that proved to the be the difference.

Not in the original lineup, Green stayed ready, as the outfielder pinch-hit for DH Drew Woodcox in the eighth, and ended the game 2-for-2 with a double and a single.

The win went to lefty Ryan Free, who pitched 2.2 masterful innings, as the southpaw scattered just two hits and stranded the go-ahead run in scoring position in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings.

The sixth was arguably his toughest, as he entered a 3-3 game with runners on second and third and just one out, but recorded a pair of strikeouts (one looking, one swinging) to keep Nebraska (1-1) from pulling ahead.

Armed with the lead, Tech turned to freshman righty Parker Hutyra, who worked around a pair of hits to record his first career save.


Tech got off to a good start offensively on Saturday, using a pair of hits from Owen Washburn and Damian Bravo to set the table for TJ Pompey.

Like he did Friday against No. 9 Tennessee, Pompey delivered, pulling a 107.5 MPH seed off the third base bag. Once hitting the base, the ball popped into the air and bounded into the Red Raiders dugout for a double.

The hit scored Washburn and put Bravo on third, allowing the outfielder to score one batter later on a sac-fly from Will Burns.

Armed with a 2-0 lead, starter Zane Petty found trouble in the second, as the righty walked the first two batters and went 2-0 on the third batter of the frame. Petty steadied the ship a bit, as he limited the damage to just one run.

Like the second, Tech started the third inning with back-to-back singles by Woodcox and Kevin Bazzell to set the table for Cade McGee. McGee worked a strong at-bat before ultimately driving home Woodcox on a sac-fly to center.

Once again given a two-run lead, Petty again walked the leadoff batter, prompting a pitching change with nobody out in the frame.

In his first Saturday start of his career, Petty threw just two innings (plus) and allowed one hit and two runs.

The Red Raiders turned to freshman Mac Heuer out of the pen, as the freshman from Georgia made his collegiate debut.

After allowing a single and hitting a batter, Heuer really settled down, using a bases loaded no out double play to escape the frame allowing just one run. The final out of the frame for Heuer was a strikeout, the first of his collegiate career.

Heuer ended up going 3.1 innings and scattered five hits, allowing just one run.

The game remained 3-2 Tech until the home half of the fifth, when Nebraska struck for the games tying run with a two rally that was sparked by a single, a stolen base and another single.

That RBI single from Nebraska proved important, as the contest remained tied through the home half of the eighth.

Despite neither team scoring the go-ahead run, both teams had multiple strong opportunities, none bigger than when Green doubled to lead off the eighth after pinch hitting. Green moved his way to third with two outs, but the inning ultimately ended on a strong defensive play from UNLs SS Max Carey, who ranged deep into the hole on a strong grounder off the bat of McGee.

Carey made a nifty back handed stop before firing a perfect dart to retire McGee and the side.

In the decisive ninth, Nebraska recorded the first out of the inning via a strikeout, but a walk by Bravo and an infield single by Pompey set the table for Tech to take the lead.

Despite a wild pitch placing runners at second and third with one out, the Huskers used another strikeout to pull to within an out of escaping the jam.

Needing a hit to keep the inning alive, Lopez did just that, ripping a ball up the middle that plated Bravo.

Tech’s next hitter, Green, also came through with a clutch knock, dropping a ball into right that plated Pompey.

After a full-count walk loaded the bases, All-American Gavin Kash worked a five pitch walk that plated the game’s final run.

Look to nail down the victory, Tech turned to another true freshman, as Huytra stranded a pair of runners to close out the 6-3 victory.

Tech closes the Shriners portion of its week long stay at Globe Life Field tomorrow afternoon when they face Oregon. First pitch from Arlington is set for 2:30 p.m.

The Ducks will enter the matchup at 2-0 after defeating Oklahoma (4-2) Friday and Baylor (7-4) today.


Release Provided By Andrew Stern Texas Tech Athletics

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