Déjà vu in New Mexico
Provided by Texas Tech Athletics
ALBUQUERQUE, NM (NEWS RELEASE) – Devastated again. The No. 22 Texas Tech baseball team fell in walk-off fashion for the third-straight game, this time falling to New Mexico 11-10 on Tuesday afternoon at Santa Ana Star Field. Looking back to Saturday, the Red Raiders had themselves in tie games entering the home half of the ninth against Texas twice and again versus the Lobos.
There was no shortage of offense between the Red Raiders and Lobos Tuesday as nothing was decided after 20 runs, 18 hits and two errors between the two teams entering the ninth. But in the deciding inning, Texas Tech’s 8-9-1 hitters went down in order before a one-out solo home run was lifted over the left field wall to clinch the game.
Both offenses exploded out of the gate. The Red Raiders scored four runs in the first inning, matching an opening inning season-high set on March 1 versus Air Force, but surrendered five the next half-inning. Both teams scored once in the second and the Lobos plated two more in the third to take an 8-5 advantage after three innings.
Jase Lopez settled the game down to start the fourth for the Red Raiders. The junior right-hander posted the first Lobo zero on the scoreboard in the fourth and was even better in the fifth and sixth by retiring the side in order in both innings. Lopez allowed one single during his outing, in the fourth, and answered by retiring eight straight until his day was done after completing the sixth.
While Lopez was dealing, Texas Tech was chipping away at its deficit scoring once in the fourth and once more in the fifth. As the game moved to the top of the seventh, the Red Raiders trailed 8-7.
Texas Tech took the lead in the top half of the seventh, 10-8, having its best offensive spurt since the first inning by scoring three runs. Drew Woodcox and Hudson White led the inning by getting on base to start the frame and each advanced a base, to second and third respectively, thanks to a wild pitch. Jeric Curtis grounded into a productive out as Woodcox beat out a throw home to tie the game. Kevin Bazzell made it a 5-for-5 day from the plate knocking a two-run RBI single to put Texas Tech in front.
Derek Bridges made his long-anticipated 2023 debut on the mound in relief of Lopez to kick off the bottom of the seventh for the Red Raiders. It was a strong start, striking the first two batters he faced to lead off the frame. The southpaw issued a walk versus batter No. 3 despite having a 1-2 count at one point during the at-bat. Ethan Coombes faced the next two batters and allowed a pair of singles, one allowing a run to score. Tech returned to a left-hander, Ryan Free, to seek the final out of the seventh. Free got the out Tech was seeking, registering a strikeout, but threw two wild pitches during the sequence, the last allowing a run to score to tie the game, 10-10.
Free retired five straight batters, including a clean eighth inning and the first out of the ninth. The first hit he allowed was the home run that decided the contest. UNM has walked Tech off using a home run in back-to-back games in Albuquerque, winning both times 11-10, in 2022 and 2023 at Santa Ana Star Field.
Texas Tech returns from its 0-4 road trip and will host TCU, March 31-April 2, at Rip Griffin Park. The Red Raiders own a 17-2 record in home games this season.
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