Friday night, the No. 24 Texas Longhorns (32-17, 13-6) defeated the No. 9 Texas Tech Red Raiders (34-13, 11-8) by the score of 12-6. With this win, the Longhorns took a significant step forward in order to secure a NCAA Tournament berth and inched closer to a possible regional host.
As the score indicates, the game was marked with tons of offense. Between the two teams, 18 runs were scored, 26 hits were allowed, and 5 balls were hit out of the park. Nolan Kingham got the start for the ‘Horns as he looked to build on his performance in Morgantown the week before.
After one inning of baseball, Tech had scored the first run of the ballgame, but Texas quickly tied it back up thanks to a Tate Shaw RBI-single that scored Ryan Reynolds who doubled to the wall before that in the top half of the second.
The Longhorns broke the game wide open in the top of the third and hung a six-spot on the Red Raiders. Duke Ellis – who has been really hitting his stride at the plate the past couple of weeks, started things off with a triple to right center. Kody Clemens followed that up with an RBI knock to center field that gave the ‘Horns their first lead of the game 2-1. A Zach Zubia walk gave the Longhorns two runners aboard for David Hamilton who crushed a three-run homer over the right center field wall.
Later, DJ Petrinsky joined the homerun party with a two-run homerun of his own over the left field fence. The offensive explosion for the ‘Horns gave them a 7-1 lead heading to the bottom of the third.
More bombs rained down in Lubbock, as Texas Tech was able to trim the Longhorns lead in the bottom of the third thanks to a two-run homer by Zach Rheams. Nevertheless, Texas maintained their lead 7-3 after three innings in the books.
Nolan Kingham would continue to deal as the Texas junior blanked the Red Raider offense the next three innings. For a pitcher that just hasn’t quite looked the same, holding an offense that could go off at any point was quite a feat. On the road, no less. Kody Clemens continued his dominance at the plate as he blasted his 14thhomerun of the year (he wasn’t done yet) to extend the lead for the Longhorns 8-3.
The Longhorns ran into a bit of trouble in the bottom half of the seventh as Tech put three runs to cut the ‘Horns lead 8-6. After a double that scored two, Kingham’s day was done and Josh Sawyer came in for relief. Nolan Kingham’s numbers are as follows:
Nolan Kingham – 6.1IP, 6R, 4ER, 11H, 2BB, 3SO, 127 pitches
It could’ve been much worse as Texas Tech at one point in the inning had the bases loaded with one out. Parker Joe Robinson came in and delivered once again as he got a groundout and a fly out to escape the bases loaded jam. Whew.
Texas would add four more consecutive runs – one in the eighth, and three in the ninth that highlighted Kody Clemens’ first multi-home run game of his career in burnt orange. That gave him a total of 15 home runs on the year and a 12-6 lead going into the bottom of the ninth.
Andy McGuire came in for relief for Robinson in the ninth, and despite allowing two base runners, McGuire was able to blank the Tech offense and secure the win for the ‘Horns.
Texas continues to get it done with their offense, as outscoring Texas Tech on the road is no easy task. If there is one thing David Pierce can take away from this game as it relates to his bullpen is Parker Joe Robinson has ice in his veins. Come postseason play, Pierce possibly won’t hesitate to bring in Robinson in dire situations. Hopefully, more guys can emerge quickly as safety blankets from the bullpen.
The Longhorns will be back in action tomorrow at 1 P.M. CT, and will look to throw junior pitcher Chase Shugart (4-2, 4.43) as Texas Tech is scheduled to throw out their ace Caleb Kilian (7-1, 1.75). You can catch the game on ESPNU or listen on 104.9 The Horn, AM 1260.