No. 24 Tech suffers narrow loss to Rice
Provided by Texas Tech Athletics
HOUSTON, TX (NEWS RELEASE) – After a 10-0 start to the season, No. 24 Texas Tech fell to Rice, 3-2, on Friday afternoon at Minute Maid Park to open the Shriners Children’s College Classic. Neither team was able to produce more than five hits in the low-scoring affair, but it was the Owls’ two home runs that proved to be the difference.
The Red Raiders managed two runs and four hits – both season lows. Rice starter Parker Smith wreaked havoc on Texas Tech tossing six scoreless innings with eight strikeouts and one walk.
“We learn from adversity,” said head coach Tim Tadlock. “Hopefully we’ll learn from this. It was a good college baseball game today. We get to play 56 of them and we’ll get ready to go tomorrow.”
Brendan Girton, who got the starting nod for Texas Tech for the second consecutive Friday, retired the first seven batters he faced. The first threat came in the third in a challenging frame that saw a walk, an error, and a ball laced up the middle off the pitcher’s leg that went down as a single. Despite the adversity, Girton managed to keep the game scoreless even with the bases going loaded.
“I thought [Girton] did an outstanding job persevering through that and unfortunately though ran up some pitches in that inning and had to go to the bullpen a little earlier,” said Tadlock. “Not even two times through the order his pitch count was high.”
The redshirt sophomore was pushed, facing five full counts over the first three innings, and exited after 91 pitches after 4 and 1/3 innings. Girton allowed just two hits, but it was a two-out two-run home run surrendered in the fourth, one at-bat following a walk that put Rice in front, 2-0. He exited with five strikeouts and a career-high four walks.
The Red Raiders found a way to scratch across two runs in the top of the seventh to knot the game, 2-2. After Rice’s starter, Smith, exited after 102 pitches, the first Owl pitcher from the bullpen, Matthew Linskey, walked the bases loaded to start the seventh.
Drew Woodcox worked a leadoff walk, the first leadoff hitter for Tech to reach base on Friday. He later scored on a wild pitch from third with the bases loaded. Hudson White, who also walked, tied the game, crossing home plate thanks to a Tracer Lopez sacrifice fly, after advancing to third from the wild pitch.
The very next half inning, Rice went back in front as Texas Tech surrendered a solo home run. Andrew Devine worked back from a 3-0 count to strike out the Owls’ leadoff batter but allowed the second Rice home run on Friday on the first pitch of the next at-bat. Ryan Free finished the game on the mound for Tech, he tossed 1 and 2/3 innings without allowing a hit and struck out three.
In a last-gasp to rally, Gavin Kash did his best to send the game to at least extra innings in the top of the ninth. The sophomore slugger hit a rope that the park barely held inside, a couple of feet from the fence, with one out. He settled for a double. The Red Raiders fell victim to a pair of strikeouts to leave Kash on second. The Red Raiders struck out a season-high 12 times on Friday and were 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position.
The Shriners Children’s College Classic continues for Texas Tech on Saturday at 11 a.m. The Red Raiders face Michigan in a neutral site game for the second year in a row and will wrap up the event with Texas A&M on Sunday at 7 p.m.
Copyright 2023 KCBD. All rights reserved.