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Gonzalez struggles early on the mound; Red Raiders drop final non-conference game to Mavericks

Posted: March 15, 2017 - 7:22pm

ARLINGTON — In his fourth start of the season, Texas Tech John Henry Gonzalez struggled early on in the final non-conference game against UT-Arlington.

The Red Raiders freshman hurler gave up three runs on three hits in the second inning, which allowed the Mavericks to take a 3-0 lead heading into the third.

With the three-score lead, the UT-Arlington pitching staff kept the Texas Tech offense at bay en route to a 5-1 victory at Globe Life Park.

With the loss, the No. 4-ranked Red Raiders dropped to 14-4 overall before beginning a three-game, weekend series with Big 12 rival Texas (13-6). The first game is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Friday and is slated to be on the Longhorn Network.

“I think it’s just baseball. We hit some balls hard, we didn’t find any holes,” Texas Tech head coach Tim Tadlock said. “Tanner (Gardner) can’t hit the ball any harder then he hit it. (Hunter) Hargrove did the same thing. It’s just the law of average.”

One interesting storyline, following Tuesday’s result, will be the depth of the Texas Tech bullpen going up against the Longhorns. The Red Raiders used a combined seven pitchers on the night.

“We wanted to use everybody we used, we just wanted to use them with a lead,” Tadlock said. “It doesn’t always work out that way, and maybe there’s a silver lining there, that we didn’t have a lead and it was easier to get them in there and use them.”

Despite the final conclusion, things looked positive early on for Texas Tech.

Gonzalez recorded a clean first half inning, inducing two fly balls to Ryan Long and a ground out to Michael Davis. However, Gonzalez ran into trouble in the second, starting with a Quintin Rohrbaugh double that developed into a 3-0 lead when it was all said and done.

Gonzalez gave up three earned runs and pitched two innings before taking the loss. Jake Wilcox went 1.1 innings and earned the win.

Texas Tech did get a run back in the third, as Davis pushed Orlando Garcia across the plate to cut the lead to 3-1.

After his early struggle, Erikson Lanning replaced Gonzalez in the third inning and kept UTA off the board in the third and fourth despite two walks in both innings.

The Mavericks also changed pitchers in the fourth inning and saw the same result as UTA maintained their lead after four innings.

Ty Harpenau replaced Lanning in the fifth, but struggled as he allowed a run to give the Mavericks a 4-1 advantage. Parker Mushinski came in after two batters to escape the fifth inning without any further damage.

After UTA retired the heart of the Red Raiders’ order with three strikeouts, Jacob Patterson took the mound and didn’t allow UTA to score to continue to keep Texas Tech within striking distance.

Michael Berglund recorded the Red Raider’s second hit of the night with a triple to left center field, but was stranded on third base in the top of the seventh.

“I think our approach was descent, but we had some good at bats, then had some break downs,” Tadlock said. “We had some guys have quality at-bats throughout the line-up and some have zero in a span of an inning. (That) breaks an inning.”

Patterson ran into trouble in the bottom half with runners on the corners, but a two-out, ground out to Josh Jung ended the threat.

After a quiet top of the eighth, Caleb Freeman came in and delivered two strikeouts, but allowed the Mavericks to score another run to make it 5-1.

John McMillon came in to record the final out of the eighth before the Texas Tech offense failed to score in the ninth on the way to its fourth loss of the season.

“Really like the way John threw the ball there at the end,” Tadlock said. “Freeman showed some signs throwing the ball well, and the other guys need work. John Henry needs to be better. We don’t throw guys out there as a starter to go two innings. He needs to be better, he needs to execute pitches better.”

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