Sometimes baseball can be a simple game.
That was more than evident as Texas Tech defeated New Mexico 4-3 Saturday night in the second round of an NCAA Regional at Rip Griffin Park at Dan Law Field.
Despite struggling in two-out situations for the first seven innings, the Red Raiders hit the ball when it counted the most in crunch time.
With the bases loaded, Texas Tech’s Ryan Long rose from the bench and delivered a two-out, two-RBI single that knotted the game at 3-3 in the eighth inning.
With the bases and two outs Ryan Long stepped to the plate.
The junior drove in the game-winning runs against No. 9 Houston and No. 6 Louisiana-Lafayette at the end of February.
As the blue glow from the NCAA logo on the scoreboard shone brightly in right center field, Long drilled the second pitch he saw up the middle of the field as two Red Raiders crossed home plate to tie the game up at three.
That two-out rally ignited the Red Raiders as they defeated New Mexico 4-3.
Davis Martin hadn’t lost all season.
And Game 1 of the NCAA regional against Fairfield at Rip Griffin Park on Friday wasn’t any different.
The freshman threw seven innings and only gave up one run on five hits.
He struck out four and lowered his season ERA to 2.31 in Texas Tech’s 12-1 win over Fairfield at Rip Griffin Park on Friday.
If Billy Beane was watching, he probably threw something at his television.
The Oakland Athletics GM is the poster boy for analytics in baseball and — right or wrong — has a reputation for not taking a liking to things such as stolen base and intentional walks — much less intentional walks to get to the clean-up hitter.
Already down three runs, Fairfield manager Bill Currier choose not to pitch to Texas Tech’s three-hole hitter Tanner Gardner, intentionally walking him to get to Cory Raley.
Jake Salpietro backpedaled and backpedaled and backpedaled. Until the wall stopped him.
The Fairfield right fielder watched as the ball sailed over his head and into the Texas Tech bullpen where the Red Raider pitchers were jumping up and down.
Junior reliever Robert Dugger grinned as he held his glove, with Michael Davis’ home run ball, over his head.
■ Record: 41-17
■ Scouting report: After losing seven players to the Major League draft last year, Dallas Baptist captured both the Missouri Valley Conference regular-season and tournament titles this season. The Patriots swept New Mexico in a three-game series already this year in early March — 5-2, 33-8, 12-11. Overall, Dallas Baptist finished second in the MVC with a .289 batting average and team fielding at 97.4 percent.
■ Record: 41-16
■ Scouting report: Offensively, the Red Raiders have already scored 404 runs this season, the most since plating 413 in 2010.
Texas Tech has also hit the most home runs already this season in six years with 50 homers.
As a team, the Red Raiders .296 batting average is currently on pace to be the highest since Tech hit .307 in 2010.
■ Record: 38-21
■ Scouting report: New Mexico’s offense is one of the best in the country. The Lobos are No. 11 in the country with a .319 batting average and fifth with 666 hits entering this weekend. New Mexico’s bullpen is well rested for this weekend. During the three-game Mountain West Tournament, New Mexico only used four pitchers.
■ Record: 32-24
■ Scouting report: After going 17-32 last season, Fairfield became the first-ever team in program history to win a MAAC Tournament Championship. Fairfield lost all five games against ranked opponents in the regular season but recorded 16 come back victories. Fairfield comes to Lubbock off its best offensive performance this season. The Stags scored 18 runs off 19 hits against Siena in the MAAC Championship.
Thursday morning, Texas Tech coach Tim Tadlock brought doughnuts to a line of students waiting for NCAA regional tickets that started at the ticket office, flowed down the sidewalk all the way to the track and field complex.
“We play in front of the best fans in the nation,” Tech junior Stephen Smith said. “It’s a sold out crowd. It’s going to be fun. We’re just looking forward to it.”