Texas Tech baseball coach Tim Tadlock found an unusual way to try to break right-handed reliever Ryan Moseley out of his recent slump.
The move worked as Moseley, who started as a senior at Cooper last year, surrendered just one run on six hits over six innings, and former starter Dominic Moreno earned the save with three innings of shutout relief, allowing the Red Raiders to hold off Prairie View A&M, 4-3, on Thursday at Rip Griffin Park.
“We really wanted to look at (Moseley) starting and Dom coming out of the bullpen, and see what that looks like on a weekend,” Tadlock said. “Ryan’s stuff is so good, he can go out there any time in any game and should go five or six innings and that’s kind of what he did.
“I thought he was OK. He got better as he went and his last two innings were really good. To gave us six innings a night, we’re more than pleased with that.”
The win improves Tech to 30-11 on the season. It is the first 30-win season for the Red Raider program since 2011 and just the second since 2006.
Moseley (1-1), who was not made available to the media after the game, also got the benefit of solid defense behind him. The leading defense in the Big 12 Conference in terms of fielding percentage (.980) turned three double plays in the first four innings to either end or squelch a rally by the Panthers (15-19).
That also helped Moseley last six full innings, finally giving up a run on a walk and consecutive singles to start the sixth inning. But he came back to retire three straight to end the inning and finish strong.
It was a good sign for the freshman, who had allowed five runs in his last three outings, recording just one out in those three appearances. It gives Tadlock confidence to continue with the move next weekend against Oklahoma and could provide Tech with an answer to its recent Friday starting pitching woes.
“I thought his last (outing) could have gone either way easily,” Tadlock said of the two runs allowed on Sunday against Kansas State. “You saw tonight he got some double play balls. I thought he did a good job and I think he’s a confident kid, no matter what the result.”
The other part of that equation is converting Moreno into a reliever. Moreno began 2014 as Tech’s opening-day and Friday-night starter, but had also struggled recently and spent more time coming out of the bullpen than starting.
On Thursday he made the move work. After coming in with the bases loaded and surrendering a two-run single that cut Tech’s lead to 4-3, Moreno struck out the next four batters he faced — one reaching on a wild pitch — and got a strikeout to strand the tying run at second base in the eighth.
“If I’m going to be completely honest with myself, with my stature and how I throw, I’m kind of a prototypical bullpen guy,” said Moreno, who struck out seven of the 10 batters he faced to earn his second career save. “I’m not going to be going anywhere and throwing, starting. I’m confident coming out of the pen.”
Tech would get just enough offense to pull out the win. Eric Gutierrez’s two-run home run in the first, his seventh of the season, and Tyler Neslony’s two-run double in the fifth accounted for all four of Tech’s runs.
Otherwise, Tech had just two other scoring opportunities on doubles by Stephen Smith in the third and Jake Barrios in the fourth, both of which were stranded. Prairie View A&M pitcher Pedro Maldonado then retired all nine Tech hitters he faced over the final three innings.
“I think you tip your hat to Prairie View, they played great and pitched good,” Tadlock said. “They just did a good job of competing and you knew they would. Everybody we play we’re going to get their best shot.”
The teams resume the series on Friday at 6:30 p.m. at Rip Griffin Park.
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TEXAS TECH 4, PRAIRIE VIEW A&M 3
Prairie View A&M Texas Tech
Player ab r h bi Player ab r h bi
Dgherty c 4 1 1 0 SSmith cf 3 1 1 0
Den Beste rf 2 2 1 0 Burleson 2b 4 1 1 0
Harris 1b 4 0 1 0 Neslony lf 4 0 1 2
Salcido 3b 5 0 3 3 Gutierrez 2b 4 1 1 2
Sealy 2b 4 0 0 0 Kirsch rf 3 0 0 0
Cossey lf 4 0 2 0 Conley rf 0 0 0 0
Hines cf 4 0 0 0 Barrios dh 3 0 2 0
Krushall dh 4 0 0 0 Long 3b 3 0 0 0
Wells ss 3 0 1 0 Redman c 3 0 0 0
Proudfoot ss 3 1 0 0
Totals 34 3 9 3 Totals 30 4 6 4
Pr. View A&M 000 001 200 — 3 9 1
Texas Tech 200 020 00x — 4 6 0
E — Salcido (8), DP — Texas Tech 3. LOB — Prairie View A&M 10, Texas Tech 3. 2B — SSmith (5), Neslony (7), Barrios (8). HR — Gutierrez (7). SB — Hines (6). CS — Barrios (1).
Pitcher ip h r er bb so
Prairie View A&M
Mata (L, 3-6) 5 6 4 2 1 3
Maldonado 3 0 0 0 0 3
Moseley (W, 1-1) 6 6 1 1 3 1
Brown 2/3 1 2 2 2 1
Moreno (S, 1) 21/3 2 0 0 0 7
WP — Moseley (3), Moreno (2). HBP — by Moseley (Dougherty). U — Alexander, Landin, Morris, Sooter. T — 2:16. A — 1,732. Records: Prairie View A&M 15-19; Texas Tech 30-11.