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Red Raiders break through for first Big 12 series-opening victory

Friday jinx over

Posted: April 11, 2014 - 10:05pm  |  Updated: April 12, 2014 - 12:12am
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Texas Tech's Tim Proudfoot gets an RBI after bunting the ball against Kansas State during their game on Friday in Lubbock. (Tori Eichberger/AJ Media)  Tori Eichberger AJ/Media
Tori Eichberger AJ/Media
Texas Tech's Tim Proudfoot gets an RBI after bunting the ball against Kansas State during their game on Friday in Lubbock. (Tori Eichberger/AJ Media)
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At this point, no one in the Texas Tech baseball clubhouse really cared how it came about, just that the Friday jinx is over.

The Red Raiders took advantage of solid relief pitching by Cameron Smith and Jonny Drozd and turned four Kansas State errors into four runs, holding off the Wildcats for a 4-3 victory Friday night at Rip Griffin Park.

“That’s kind of what I was thinking, that it doesn’t matter how it comes,” head coach Tim Tadlock said. “To win on Friday, we’ve had trouble there. To get the win tonight, we should be good going into the rest of the weekend.”

It is the first Big 12 Conference series-opening win for the Red Raiders (26-11, 6-7 in Big 12), who match their overall victory total from all of last season and are just three league wins from matching the 2013 mark.

It came thanks to the five innings of shutout relief from Cameron Smith (5-0), who came into the game with the Red Raiders down 2-0 after the Wildcats (20-14, 2-5) scored a pair in the third inning. By the time he left, however, he had allowed just one hit and a walk while striking out five.

That was a huge turnaround from his last outing, Sunday at Oklahoma State, when he allowed a run on a walk and three hit batters in an 8-3 loss to the Cowboys.

“I felt good,” Smith said. “It was nice to come out here and bounce back after the last couple of (outings) I’d had had been a little rough. But tonight all my pitches were working and I had good defense behind me, and the offense as well picked me up.”

Kansas State also had a huge hand in that pick-me-up.

Wildcats head coach Brad Hill said the team spent a good part of its Thursday night practice at Rip Griffin Park working on defense. Still, KSU gave up the lead with three this and three errors in the fifth, then added another run-scoring error in the eight that proved to be the winning run.

“They set the innings up and then we finished it off for them,” Hill said. “We didn’t do what we needed to do defensively, and that’s kind of what we’ve done. Last week it was the same thing against (Kansas) on Saturday. You’re not going to win many games in this conference making four errors.”

KSU seemed in control and had Tech headed for its fifth straight series opening win after an RBI single by Shane Conlon and a run-scoring double by R.J. Santigate off Tech starter Dominic Moreno in the third led the Wildcats to a 2-0 lead.

Moreno left after walking Tanner DeVinny to load the bases with one out. But Smith came in and struck out Mitch Meyer and Blair DeBord to end the inning and leave the bases loaded. KSU stranded 12 runners in the game, six in scoring position.

Tech’s fifth-inning rally started innocently enough with a single to left by Bryant Burleson and an infield single by Hunter Redman. Tim Proudfoot laid down a perfect bunt down the third base line, but the throw from starting pitcher Levi MaVorhis (4-4) skipped into the right-field foul territory, allowing Burleson to score and Redman to reach third.

Stephen Smith followed with a hard grounder to short. Austin Fisher bobbled it, picked it up and skipped his throw to first for two more errors, and that allowed Redman and Proudfoot to score to put Tech up 3-2.

MaVorhis rallied to get out of the inning without further damage and allowed just one baserunner in his final 11/3 innings of work, keeping the Wildcats close.

But the KSU offense could not take advantage, stranding two runners in the fifth, another in the sixth then coming up empty in the eighth after Tech reliever Ryan Moseley issued a pair of one-out walks.

Jonny Drozd got a strikeout and a grounder to first with the bases loaded to keep KSU off the scoreboard, then worked around two singles and a hit-batter in the ninth by enticing Max Brown into a game-ending double play.

“The big inning was the two spot in the third,” Hill said. “We had bases loaded still and (Smith) came in and did a great job. We’ve got a chance to knock one or two more runs across there. We’re having a tough time finishing innings.”

The win now sets Tech up to possibly clinch a series on what has been its strongest day of the weekend. The Red Raiders are 3-1 in conference on Saturdays and have outscored their opponents 36-14.

“We’ll see tomorrow,” said first baseman Eric Gutierrez, who had two of Tech’s eight hits with a double. “I have confidence in my team that we’ll come back tomorrow and be ready.”

george.watson@lubbockonline.com

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TEXAS TECH 4, KANSAS STATE 3

Kansas State Texas Tech

Player ab r h bi Player ab r h bi

Kivett cf 5 0 0 0 Smith rf 4 0 1 1

Conlon 1b 5 1 1 1 Ritchie cf 2 0 0 0

Fisher ss 4 1 2 0 Hmphrys ph 1 0 0 0

Santigate 3b 4 0 2 1 Conley cf 1 0 0 0

DeVinny dh 3 0 1 1 Neslony lf 3 0 0 0

Andrsn pr 0 0 0 0 Davis pr 0 1 0 0

Meyer rf 3 0 0 0 Gutierrez 1b 4 0 2 0

Stover ph 0 0 0 0 Kirsch dh 4 0 0 0

Brown pr/rf 1 0 0 0 Barrios 3b 4 0 1 0

BlDeBord c 3 0 1 0 Burleson 2b 4 1 1 0

Yagi 2b 3 0 0 0 Redman c 3 1 2 0

Miles ph 1 0 0 0 Proudfoot ss 2 1 1 0

Dalrymple lf 3 1 2 0

Totals 35 3 9 3 Totals 32 4 8 1

Kansas State 002 000 001 — 3 9 4

Texas Tech 000 030 01x — 4 8 1

E — Fisher 2(11), MaVorhis (4), Matthys (1), Redman (1). DP — Kansas State 1, Texas Tech 1. LOB — Kansas State 12, Texas Tech 7. 2B — Santigate (3), Gutierrez (8). SH — Proudfoot (1). SB — Dalrymple 2(9).

Pitching summaries

Pitcher ip h r er bb so

Kansas State

MaVorhis (L, 4-4) 61/3 6 3 2 1 3

Landon 2/3 1 1 0 0 0

Matthys 1 1 0 0 0 1

Texas Tech

Moreno 21/3 5 2 2 1 1

Smith (W, 5-0) 5 1 0 0 1 5

Moseley 0 0 0 0 2 0

Drozd (S, 3) 12/3 3 1 1 0 2

HBP — by Moreno (Fisher), by CSmith (DeVinny), by Landon (Neslony), by Drozd (Santigate). BK — MaVorhis (2). U — Williams, Moser, Oros, Luker. T —2:40. A — 2,709. Records: Kansas State 20-14, 2-5; Texas Tech 26-11, 6-7.

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Most Important.....

win of the year. Let's go get a sweep.

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Watson...

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