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Long, Taylor lead Red Raiders to 5-3 victory over New Mexico State

Posted: March 6, 2014 - 10:54pm  |  Updated: March 7, 2014 - 1:17am
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Texas Tech wasted a chance to blow its series-opening game against New Mexico State open in the sixth, leaving the bases loaded.

Presented with another opportunity two innings later, the Red Raiders didn’t let the Aggies off without doing some damage.

Freshman shortstop Ryan Long’s bases-clearing double to right proved to be the decisive blow, and Tech got more solid pitching from starter Corey Taylor in a 5-3 victory over NMSU on Thursday at Rip Griffin Park.

“(NMSU) put some guys on in that inning ... and we had some guys do a good job laying off some marginal pitches to get to that point,” head coach Tim Tadlock said. “That whole inning was set up by the pitches that were thrown (before Long’s at-bat). Ryan got to a 2-0 count, got a good pitch to hit. It doesn’t always find a whole but that one did. He hit it well, didn’t he.”

Indeed he did, and it turned out to be absolutely necessary after the Aggies (7-6) cut the 5-1 lead to 5-3 on a two-run home run by Kyle Kilgore in the top of the ninth off Tech sophomore right-handed reliever Justin Bethard.

Bethard opened the inning allowing a single, striking out Kristoffer Koerper and surrendering the homer to Kilgore. He then gave up an infield single to Derek Umphres, which prompted Tadlock to go to junior left-hander Cameron Smith to close it out, which he did with a game-ending double play to earn his first save of the season.

That helped bolster a solid performance from junior right-hander Corey Taylor (2-0), who handcuffed the Aggies on two hits and six strikeouts over five shutout innings.

“I felt really good,” Taylor said. “I had command of my fastball, all three pitches. Ryan Long did good and (Eric) Gutierrez helped me out a bunch. The defense did a great job tonight.”

Both hits Taylor allowed came in the second inning, the second one erased when Umphres tried to take second on a throw from the outfield. From there, Taylor retired the final 10 batters he faced through five innings.

“He was outstanding,” Tadlock said of Taylor. “That’s the Corey Taylor we all know and love. He’s an awesome kid and you love to see him get a start, and we really love it when he had the ball in his hand no matter when it is. That was vintage Corey Taylor.”

Offensively, the Red Raiders (11-3) struggled for most of the night, but when they did make solid contact, it was, more often than not, productive.

Of the Red Raiders’ four hits, three drove in at least one run. Gutierrez, Tech’s sophomore first baseman, broke the scoreless tie in the fourth with an RBI single, and senior outfielder Adam Kirsch followed two innings later with an RBI single, both set up by leadoff walks from freshman outfielder Stephen Smith.

“It was good,” Gutierrez said. “We got in some good counts and just took good swings. The balls found some holes ... and we got the runs.”

New Mexico State starter Christopher Bradley (0-2) held the Red Raiders in check as much as he could for six innings, allowing just the two runs on three hits while striking out six. He also walked five, two of which scored on the hits by Gutierrez and Kirsch.

Long then delivered the big blow in the eighth. The inning started when senior outfielder Todd Ritchie walked and senior third baseman Jake Barrios was hit by a pitch. After a Gutierrez sacrifice bunt, Kirsch, hitting . 391, was intentionally walked to set up the force. But Long, hitting .381, made the Aggies pay for the move, lacing a pitch from Zach Freeman into the corner in right, clearing the bases and putting Tech up 5-1.

“Long obviously put together a good at-bat and got into a good count there in the eighth,” Tadlock said. “He got a good pitch to hit and he hit it, and we were fortunate to find a whole. We were fortunate the bases were loaded.”

Tech and NMSU will resume the four-game series on Friday at 6:30 p.m. It is scheduled to be broadcast by Fox Sports Southwest Plus (Suddenlink cable channel 81).

george.watson@lubbockonline.com

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TEXAS TECH 5, NEW MEXICO STATE 3

New Mexico State Texas Tech

Player ab r h bi Player ab r h bi

Medina rf 3 0 0 0 Smith cf 1 2 0 0

Gldstrm 2b 4 0 0 0 Conley cf 0 0 0 0

JKoerper lf 3 1 1 0 Lyons lf 0 0 0 0

KKoerper 1b 4 0 1 0 Ritchie lf 0 1 0 0

Paulson dh 2 0 0 0 Barrios 3b 3 1 0 0

Kilgore ph 2 1 1 2 Gutierrez 1b 2 0 1 1

Umphres 3b 4 1 3 0 Kirsch rf 3 0 1 1

Blckstne ss 4 0 1 0 Davis pr/rf 0 1 0 0

Young cf 2 0 0 0 Long ss 3 0 1 3

Noyer c 2 0 0 0 Burleson 2b 4 0 1 0

Carswell ph 1 0 0 1 Hrrngtn pr 0 0 0 0

Rndolph ph 1 0 0 0

Redman c 3 0 0 0

Totals 31 3 7 3 Totals 22 5 4 5

N. Mexico State 000 000 012 — 3 7 0

Texas Tech 000 101 03x — 5 4 0

DP — New Mexico State 2, Texas Tech 1. LOB — New Mexico State 4, Texas Tech 6. 2B — Long (3). 3B — Burleson (1). HR — Kilgore (1). SH — Young (1), Lyons 3(4), Gutierrez (2).

Pitching summaries

Pitcher ip h r er bb so

New Mexico State

Bradley (L, 0-2) 6 3 2 2 5 6

Freeman 11/3 1 3 3 3 1

Mansfield 2/3 0 0 0 0 1

Texas Tech

Taylor (W, 2-0) 5 2 0 0 0 6

Drozd 22/3 2 1 1 2 1

Moseley 1/3 0 0 0 0 0

Bethard 1/3 3 2 2 0 1

Smith (S, 1) 2/3 0 0 0 0 0

WP — Bradley (3). HBP — by Freeman (Barrios). U — Sooter, Morris, Howard, Carter. T — 2:33. A — 1, 896. Records: New Mexico State 7-6; Texas Tech 11-3.

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