Beckel blanks No. 12 WVU, lifts Tech to win
Provided by Texas Tech Athletics
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Texas Tech’s Brandon Beckel tossed four shutout innings in relief, cementing the Red Raiders’ 5-2 win on Friday versus No. 12 West Virginia at Monongalia County Ballpark. The Red Raiders held tight to a 3-2 advantage gained in the top of the fourth and retained it with a pitching gem before Austin Green delivered a two-RBI double in the ninth for insurance.
The Mountaineers entered the game not only at No. 12 as ranked by D1Baseball but atop the Big 12 standings. The Red Raiders’ win makes the Big 12 picture murkier but with greater impact, it spiked the Red Raiders’ RPI positioning 18 spots up to No. 40 with an eye on the postseason.
Tech looked like a postseason program behind a career game on the mound from Beckel. The junior reliever entered to start the sixth and fired four shutout innings to earn his fifth save of the season. It lowered his season ERA from 1.57 to 1.50 as Beckel was on the mound for a career-long four innings. He punched out a career-high seven batters, which included striking out the side in the eighth and a strikeout looking for the final out in the ninth with two aboard.
West Virginia was held to its fewest hits since April 21 against TCU, matching that contest 12 games ago with just six. Three of those six hits came over the first two innings with two run-producing hits in the second inning as back-to-back doubles against Red Raider starter Mason Molina allowed the only two Mountaineer runs to score on Friday.
Texas Tech responded to WVU’s two-run bottom of the second with one run scored in the next half-inning. Nolen Hester hit a two-out double to bring the Red Raiders within one, 2-1, scoring Ty Coleman, who knocked one of his two base hits to lead off the top of the third.
The Red Raiders scored two more in the fourth to take the lead 3-2, a lead they would hold until widening the gap in the ninth. Three of the first four batters reached base to begin the fourth, starting with Kevin Bazzell’s sixth home run of the season. Gavin Kash walked after Bazzell’s blast that tied the game. Dillon Carter doubled to push Kash to third base and Coleman hit a productive RBI groundout to score Kash and give Tech the lead.
Molina gave the Red Raiders four and 2/3 innings in a no-decision start. He allowed the two runs in the second, struck out six and walked four.
While Texas Tech blanked West Virginia on the scoreboard over the final seven innings, the Mountaineers threatened several times only to be left disappointed. Ethan Coombes, who picked up Friday’s win, kept West Virginia off the scoreboard in the fifth after inheriting two on base and two outs as Molina exited after his 98th pitch. An infield single hit deep into the 4-hole loaded the bases but Coombes was unfazed needing three pitches for a strikeout to leave the bases loaded.
WVU stranded two runners in scoring position again in the seventh, Beckel got the second out in the seventh on a 3-2 pitch on a ball stung back to him that knocked his glove off before bare handing the ball and tossing to first for the out. With runners on second and third and two out, a pitch clock violation with the count full ended the Mountaineers’ inning.
In the top of the ninth, Carter was hit by a pitch and Coleman tallied his second hit of the game, both with one out. Green followed the duo by ripping a two-run double to the right-center gap, allowing Carter to score from second and Coleman to motor home from first base.
Hester and Coleman both led the Red Raiders with two hits apiece. Hester extended his hitting streak to 12 games and his reached-base streak to 37 games.
The series continues in Morgantown on Saturday at 4 p.m. ET.
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