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Red Raiders strike quick, down ACU 6-2 in game halted by wind

Posted: March 11, 2014 - 9:36pm  |  Updated: March 12, 2014 - 12:15am
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Texas Tech's Mason Randolph throws out an Abilene player during their game on Tuesday in Lubbock. (Tori Eichberger/AJ Media)  Tori Eichberger AJ/Media
Tori Eichberger AJ/Media
Texas Tech's Mason Randolph throws out an Abilene player during their game on Tuesday in Lubbock. (Tori Eichberger/AJ Media)
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Wind is a common occurrence at Rip Griffin Park when Texas Tech baseball is involved. Always has been, always will be. But rarely has it halted a game.

Right now, however, about the only thing that can apparently stop the No. 23 Red Raiders is a dust storm.

A strong northern wind that brought a heavy cloud of dust forced the Red Raiders’ game against Abilene Christian to be called after 61/2 innings, with Tech picking up its seventh straight victory, 6-2, at Rip Griffin Park.

“I think it was the right decision though,” head coach Tim Tadlock said. “The umpires were onto something with guys not being able to see and you definitely don’t want to put anybody in harm’s way.”

It turned out to be the best of all worlds for the Red Raiders (15-3), who didn’t have to play a full nine innings to win their seventh straight game but still were able to continue their momentum both at the plate and on the mound.

Freshman left-handed starter Dylan Dusek (2-0) won for the second time in three starts with five solid innings of work. He gave up a run on four hits with a walk — his first of the season — while striking out four. Corey Taylor then tossed two innings of relief, allowing a run on three hits with one strikeout.

“(Dusek) is just steady, isn’t he?” Tadlock said. “You know he’s a strike-thrower, and there weren’t too many hearts beating too hard or too fast when he goes 3-0 on the first hitter. He’s really steady in everything he does.”

Tadlock said Taylor’s performance, which gives him just two runs allowed in 12-plus innings on the season, is allowing him to make a case for breaking into the starting rotation.

He said he will stick with right-hander Dominic Moreno and left-hander Chris Sadberry for the first two games of the Big 12 Conference-opening series at Baylor this weekend, but that Sunday’s starter is in question after a second straight sub-per outing by right-hander Chris Withrow.

Given the way the Red Raiders have swung the bats lately, though, the offense will do its share toward winning the game as well.

Tech scored five runs in the bottom of the first inning against the Wildcats (7-7) to take command early and were in control when the wind came through during the top of the seventh inning, bringing with it a heavy cloud of dust that made playing conditions difficult.

The game was delayed for about seven minutes during the middle of the seventh before being called due to weather.

“That was crazy,” senior third baseman Jake Barrios said. “I’ve never seen it like that here but it was wild. It was fun to see but hard to play in.”

The Red Raiders wasted no time getting to ACU starter Nate Cole, who allowed three runs in four innings at Oklahoma on Thursday.

The first five Tech batters to come to the plate reached base. Jake Barrios drove in two with a double to the wall in left-center past a diving Jordan Forrester and Adam Kirsch doubled to straight away center to score Barrios.

Freshmen Ryan Long and Matt Broadbent followed with sacrifice flies to push the lead to 5-0.

“That kind of carried us through the game,” said Barrios, who finished with three RBIs. “We didn’t have too many productive innings after that but that got us up ahead.”

Cole settled down but exited after Tech scored its sixth run on an Alec Humphreys triple and Barrios groundout, and a double to right by Kirsch.

ACU’s runs would both come off the bat of Jordan Forrester, one on a two-out RBI double in the fifth and a run-scoring groundout in the top of the seventh before the game was called.

Tech got out of the inning without further damage, and the game was called less than 10 minutes later, sending Tech into Big 12 play for the first time come Friday.

“Big 12 play is Big 12 play,” said Humphreys, who went 2 for 3 with two RBIs. “It’s conference play and everybody’s wanting to win those conference series. I feel like we have played some good teams to get us ready.”

george.watson@lubbockonline.com

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TEXAS TECH 6, ABILENE CHRISTIAN 2, 7 innings

Abilene Christian Texas Tech

Player ab r h bi Player ab r h bi

Spivey c 3 0 1 0 SSmith cf 4 1 1 0

Forrester lf 4 0 1 2 Humphreys lf 3 2 2 0

Giusti 3b 4 0 1 0 Barrios 3b 2 1 1 3

Grdzlnk dh 2 0 0 0 Gutierrez 1b 2 1 1 0

Draper ss 3 0 1 0 Kirsch rf 3 1 2 1

Crippen 1b 2 0 0 0 Conley rf 0 0 0 0

Beasley rf 1 0 1 0 Long ss 2 0 0 1

Eagler cf 3 0 0 0 Brdbent dh 2 0 0 1

Buhner 2b 3 1 1 0 Burleson 2b 3 0 2 0

Hall rf 3 1 1 0 Randolph c 3 0 0 0

Totals 28 2 7 2 Totals 24 6 9 6

ACU 000 010 1 — 2 7 0

Texas Tech 500 010 x — 6 9 0

Game called in 7th inning due to weather.

DP — ACU 1. LOB — ACU 7, Texas Tech 4. 2B — Spivey (7), Forrester (2), Barrios (4), Kirsch 2(10). 3B — Humphreys(2). SF — Long (2), Broadbent (2).

Pitcher ip h r er bb so

Abilene Christian

Cole (L, 1-3) 42/3 8 6 6 1 2

Rodriguez 11/3 1 0 0 0 3

Texas Tech

Dusek (W, 2-0) 5 4 1 1 1 4

Taylor 2 3 1 1 0 1

WP — Dusek (1). HBP — by Cole (Gutierrez), by Dusek (Spivey). U — Carter, Morris, Sooter, Petrie. T — 1:47. A — 2,362. Records: ACU 7-7; Texas Tech 15-3.

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