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Longhorns strike early, hold Red Raiders down in 8-3 victory at Big 12 Championships

Tech is almost unbeatable at home; not quite the case on the road

Posted: May 21, 2014 - 11:23pm  |  Updated: May 22, 2014 - 12:46am
Texas third baseman Zane Gurwitz slides safely into second before Texas Tech's Bryant Burleson can make the catch in the first-round game of the Big 12 conference NCAA college baseball tournament in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, May 21, 2014. Texas won 8-3.  AP Photo/Alonzo Adams
AP Photo/Alonzo Adams
Texas third baseman Zane Gurwitz slides safely into second before Texas Tech's Bryant Burleson can make the catch in the first-round game of the Big 12 conference NCAA college baseball tournament in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, May 21, 2014. Texas won 8-3.
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The reason why hosting an NCAA regional at Rip Griffin Park could be so important is because the Texas Tech baseball team is almost unbeatable at home (31-4).

On the road? That’s something else altogether.

Those road woes certainly showed in the 21st-ranked Red Raiders’ Big 12 Championships opener late Wednesday night at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark. No. 22 Texas exploded for five runs in the second inning and never looked back en route to an 8-3 victory.

“It was only the second inning so we still had plenty of game left,” said second baseman Bryant Burleson, who had two hits, including a double, with an RBI. “We knew if we could score some runs here and there we would be right back in it.”

Unfortunately for the fourth-seeded Red Raiders (40-17), that never happened, and now they find themselves in the losers’ bracket.

Tech will face No. 8 seed Oklahoma (28-28) in an elimination game at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday. No. 5 seed Texas (37-16) faces No. 1 seed Oklahoma State (41-14) in a winners’ bracket game at 7:30 p.m.

Wednesday’s loss likely deals a serious blow to Tech’s aspirations of hosting an NCAA regional next week, and going 0-2 at the Big 12 Championships would pretty much ensure Tech will be on the road, where it is just 9-13 this season.

“I think we were pretty comfortable tonight,” head coach Tim Tadlock said. “Texas just played awful good. We didn’t play that good of a baseball game but as far as comfort goes, we were comfortable. They just outpitched us and outplayed us.”

The Red Raiders are now 5-9 in Big 12 tournament openers, including six straight losses. Tech’s last tournament-opening win came against Nebraska in 2005. Tech is now 2-4 in the tournament against Texas and has lost its last three tournament openers to the Longhorns.

Texas took full advantage of Texas Tech’s ability to settle on a series-opening, or in this case tournament-opening, starting pitcher.

UT jumped on Tech starter Corey Taylor (5-3) early, tagging the junior right-hander for five runs in the second, all of them with two outs. It was just the sixth start among Taylor’s 19 appearances this season, and he lasted just 12/3 innings, allowing five earned runs on six hits while striking out two.

Collin Shaw, Kacy Clemens and Zane Gurwitz all singled to make it 1-0, and after a walk to Brooks Marlow loaded the bases, Ben Johnson chased Taylor with a two-run single to right.

Mark Payton then doubled off reliever Jonny Drozd and over the head of left fielder Tyler Neslony to make it a 5-0 game, a hole too steep for Tech to climb out of against Texas’ stellar pitching.

“That’s what happens when you don’t get your outs on time,” Texas head coach Augie Garrido said. “It doesn’t matter whether it’s us or them. It’s all about getting your outs on time, and when you give the opposition extra outs, sometimes magic happens ... and balls fall in with runners in scoring position.”

UT starter Lukas Schiraldi (7-3) scattered a run on four hits and five walks while striking out three. Only one of the walks issued, however, scored, that coming on an RBI double by Burleson after Stephen Smith walked to lead off the third.

The Red Raiders had chances to get back into the game early. Two walks and a single loaded the bases with one out in the second, but Schiraldi struck out Tim Proudfoot, and Hunter Redman grounded out to end the inning.

Neslony followed Burleson’s RBI double in the third with a walk. But Schiraldi came back to get Eric Gutierrez on a pop-up, then struck out Adam Kirsch and Alec Humphreys to get out of the jam.

Tech again loaded the bases with one out in the sixth on a walk, a single and a C.J. Hinojosa error. But Redman bounced into an inning-ending double play to squash the threat.

“We missed some opportunities, and if you want to win games you’ve got to do the little things,” said Neslony, who went 2 for 3 to extend his hitting streak to 17 games. “Execute. Bases loaded opportunities, you’ve got to at least chip away and get one or two runs. We just have to play our own game of baseball and we’ll be alright.”

Not until Tech trailed 8-1 did it get a big hit as Adam Kirsch, the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year, ripped a two-out triple into the right-field corner in the seventh to cut the UT lead to 8-3.

But the Red Raiders could pull no closer, and now must beat Oklahoma for a fourth time this season to avoid being swept out of the tournament.

“We need to come out and play a good game (Thursday),” Tadlock said. “We have a lot of respect for our opponent and I’d like us to go out and play a clean game and pitch well.”

 

george.watson@lubbockonline.com

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BIG 12 CHAMPIONSHIPS

at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, Oklahoma City

TEXAS 8, TEXAS TECH 3

Texas Texas Tech

Player ab r h bi Player ab r h bi

Marlow 2b 4 1 1 1 SSmith cf 3 1 0 0

Johnson lf 5 3 2 2 Ritchie ph 1 0 1 0

Payton cf 4 0 2 2 Burleson 2b 5 1 2 1

Barrera c 4 0 0 1 Neslony lf 3 1 2 0

Carter dh 5 0 2 0 Gutierrez 1b 5 0 0 0

Hinojosa ss 4 0 0 0 Kirsch rf 3 0 1 2

Shaw rf 5 1 2 0 Hmphrys 3b 2 0 0 0

Clemens 1b 4 1 1 1 Lyons dh 4 0 2 0

Gurwitz 3b 4 2 3 0 Proudfoot ss 4 0 0 0

Redman c 4 0 0 0

Totals 39 8 13 6 Totals 34 3 8 3

Texas 050 201 000 — 8 13 1

Texas Tech 001 000 200 — 3 8 2

E — Hinojosa (15), Burleson (8), Proudfoot (1). DP — Texas 2, Texas Tech 2. LOB — Texas 8, Texas Tech 10. 2B — Payton 2(13), Carter (4), Gurwitz (8), Burleson (19). 3B — Kirsch (2). SB — Johnson (20), Payton (15), Shaw 2(11), Gurwitz (7).

Pitching summaries

Texas ip h r er bb so

Schiraldi (W, 7-3) 51/3 4 1 1 5 3

Hollingsworth 32/3 4 2 2 1 1

Texas Tech

Taylor (L, 5-3) 12/3 6 5 5 1 2

Drozd 31/3 6 3 2 2 1

Tripp 4 1 0 0 0 1

HBP — by Drozd (Payton). U — Coskey, Sealey, Wetzel, Winters. T — 2:50. A — 5,947. Records: Texas 37-16; Texas Tech 40-17.

 

2014 PHILLIPS 66 BIG 12 CHAMPIONSHIPS

at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, Oklahoma City

Double-elimination

Wednesday’s Results

Division II

Game 1: No. 6 West Virginia 10, No. 3 Kansas 9

Game 2: No. 2 TCU 8, No. 7 Baylor 5

Division I

Game 3: No. 1 Oklahoma State 13, No. 8 Oklahoma 4

Game 4: No. 5 Texas 8, No. 4 Texas Tech 3

Thursday’s Games

Game 5: Kansas (34-23) vs. Baylor (24-30), 9 a.m.

Game 6: Oklahoma (28-28) vs. Texas Tech (40-17), 12:30 p.m.

Game 7: West Virginia (28-24) vs. TCU (39-15), 4 p.m.

Game 8: Oklahoma State (42-14) vs. Texas (37-16), 7:30 p.m.

Friday’s Games

Game 9: Game 7 loser vs. Game 5 winner, 3:15 p.m.

Game 10: Game 8 loser vs. Game 6 winner, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday’s Games

Game 11: Game 9 winner vs. Game 7 winner, 9 a.m.

Game 12: Game 10 winner vs. Game 8 winner, 12:30 p.m.

Game 13: Game 7 winner vs. Game 11 winner, if necessary, 4 p.m.

Game 14: Game 8 winner vs. Game 12 winner, if necessary, 7:30 p.m.

Note: Game 13 becomes necessary if the winner of Game 9 wins Game 11; Game 14 becomes necessary if the winner of Game 10 wins Game 12. If Game 13 is unnecessary, Game 14 will be played at 4 p.m.

Sunday’s Championship

Divisional winners, 4:30 p.m.

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