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Texas Tech wins battle of big arms, big hits in Big 12 opener

Posted: March 17, 2017 - 9:36pm

AUSTIN — The Texas Tech baseball team needed a strong effort from its pitching staff and got exactly that in its Big 12 opener against Texas.

Davis Martin struck out six in 6.1 innings, while Parker Mushinski and John McMillon shut the door, as the Red Raiders earned a 2-1 road win against Longhorns at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.

Davis Martin, who allowed a single run off a moonshot hit and pitched into the seventh inning, improved to 2-1 on the mound this season. Texas Tech (14-6 overall, 1-0) is slated to play Texas again at 4 p.m. Saturday on Longhorn Network.

“We just went in and wanted to control our pitches,” Martin said. “Worked both sides of the plate, get our off-speed working, change-up especially with a lot of lefties in the line-up. Trust the defense, executed pitches and got the team win.”

Texas starter Nolan Kingham also had strong outing, pitching seven innings but gave up two runs — more than he yielded all season. The Longhorns (14-5, 0-1) had a six-game winning streak snapped.

Michael Davis and Michael Berglund provided the two biggest hits for the Red Raiders in the form of a solo home run and a double that skirted the foul line, which plated the Red Raiders’ two runs.

“We had our hands full with Kingham. He really was sticking it in there pretty good,” Tadlock said. “Glad we got some good swings on him. We hit into three double plays, and they pitched out of some jams. We’ll work on some things. We’re glad Berglund put a good swing on the ball. He put a couple of good ones on him. And of course, Michael’s home run was big.”

Despite the successful night in Austin, double plays were a problem throughout the night as Texas Tech hit into three twin killings in the game to bring their total to 22 on the season.

The Red Raiders also allowed runners in the scoring position in the final two innings. But clutch pitching from Mushinski and McMillon kept the Longhorns off the board.

Early on, the game looked like it would be a pitcher’s duel with Martin and Kingham both on their A-games.

Kingham and Martin both looked good in the first two innings, as both recorded strike outs and didn’t allow a runner to reach scoring position.

Davis ended that quickly with a solo shot to deep left center field to give the Red Raiders a 1-0 advantage in the third inning.

However, Tate Shaw had a towering home run of his own in the bottom of the frame to tie the game 1-1 after three complete.

Martin calmed down in the fourth and retired the frame to keep the game tied headed into the fifth inning.

Texas threatened to score in the bottom of the fifth, after two walks and a passed ball, but Martin pitched his way out of a jam to keep things at 1-1.

The Longhorns got the lead-off man aboard in the sixth inning, but Berglund got a runner out on the bases and Martin struck out the final two batters.

That’s when Hunter Hargrove got on base for Berglund, who hit a double down the right-field line to give Texas Tech the 2-1 lead in the seventh.

Martin, who had a solid performance on the mound, was replaced by Mushinski after he allowed a one-out walk. Mushinski induced a fly ball and struck out a batter to end the threat.

“Vintage (Martin),” Texas Tech head coach Tim Tadlock said. “Went out and pitched very well, pitched ahead in the count, made pitches when he need to. Pitched out of some jams.”

The Red Raiders ran into trouble in the eighth inning with a runner reaching second base with one out.

But, once again, Mushinski pitched out of the jam to end Texas’ scoring threat.

Texas showed life in the bottom of the ninth, when a runner reached third on a walk and an errant throw.

With a pitching change, McMillon came in for Mushinski and got the one-out save to preserve the victory.

“We got really good stuff in the back end of the game,” Tadlock said. “It’s just a matter of executing pitches and got a lot of trust and faith in those guys. We’re fortunate to have those types of arms at the back end of the game.”

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