In a game that apparently happened, The #24 Texas Longhorns (32-18, 13-7 in Big 12) fell to the #9 Texas Tech Red Raiders (35-13, 12-8 in Big 12) by the final score of 16-5 Saturday afternoon at Rip Griffin Park in Lubbock. Thirteen hits and twelve walks allowed from the Longhorns pitching staff pushed the Raiders to the win and a score that more closely resembles the amount of penalties in a Tech football game.
Chase Shugart got the start for the Red Raiders, and it was a game he’d be best off forgetting about moving forward. After getting through the first inning unscathed, Shugart would allow the Raiders to get on the scoreboard first, allowing a solo home run to center field.
Texas would answer in the top of the third inning. After Tate Shaw and Jake McKenzie’s trips to the plate both resulted in outs, Masen Hibbeler would knock a double down the left field line to extend the inning. Immediately following Hibbeler, Duke Ellis lined a single through right center field to score Hibbeler from second, tying the game up at one for the ‘Horns.
However, Tech would take back the lead quicker than a car ride through Lubbock.
Shugart would yield a lead-off triple to open the bottom of the third, and after issuing a walk, a sacrifice ground-out would net two outs for the Longhorns but allow the runner from third to score. A great sliding catch in foul territory from Hibbeler would get Texas out of the inning down just 2-1.
But it was after that third inning where Texas Tech began to pull away. After a scoreless half inning from the good guys, Shugart would get off to a good start by forcing two ground-outs from the first two batters he faced.
Then, as we’ve seen occasionally this season, Shugart was unable to close out the inning and get that last out.
Shugart would issue not one, not two, but three walks with two outs to load the bases for the Raiders. The next batter would make Shugart pay for his mistakes with a single up the middle that scored two. Shugart would get out of the inning with two runners in scoring position with a strikeout, but Tech was able to triple their lead in the inning, pushing it to 4-1.
After a 1-2-3 inning from Texas, the Raiders returned to the plate and really began to pour it on Shugart. After a lead-off ground-out, Shugart would allow a double and a homerun, bumping the lead to 6-1 Tech. With it being just the bottom of the fifth and with one out, Manager David Pierce elected not to pull the struggling Shugart, and left him in to face the bottom of the Texas Tech order.
Unfortunately, this move didn’t pay off for Texas they way Pierce had hoped. Despite getting the next batter out with a shallow pop-up, Shugart would allow another two-out walk, and a double to left field would drive the runner home. At this point, Pierce had seen enough, and pulled Shugart from the game after an erratic, poor afternoon on the mound.
Chase Shugart: 4.2 IP, 6 H, 8 ER, 5 BB, 1 K
Pierce would elect Matteo Bocchi to pitch for Texas, and the young pitcher took the mound with a runner in scoring position, down 7-1, with the heart of the Tech order ready to face him. Bocchi promptly hit the first batter he faced, and a single to center field would score the runner from second to increase the lead to 8-1. After a failed pickoff attempt to first from Bocchi went awry, another run would cross the plate for Texas Tech. FInally, Bocchi would record an out to get out of the jam, but the lead was now 9-1 Texas Tech.
Texas would answer back in the top of the sixth and carve out a few runs of the Tech lead. After Kody Clemens and Zach Zubia each reached base, a David Hamilton double down the right field line would score Clemens and move Zubia to third. Ryan Reynolds would knock a sac fly to right to score Zubia from third, but a DJ Petrinsky fly out would end the inning after Texas was able to drive in two and reduce the lead to 9-3.
Beau Ridgeway would replace Matteo Bocchi at pitcher to start the bottom of the sixth. After Ridgeway was able to retire the first two batters, the two-out pitching woes would continue to pile up for the ‘Horns. A single, walk, and single would load the bases, and a two-out double would score two to reclaim the two runs Texas had scrapped up in the previous top half of the inning. Ridgeway would get the next man out, but the lead after six innings was now 11-3.
Yet again, Texas would knock in two runs in response to a Tech offensive outburst. Tate Shaw led off the inning with a double, and Andy McGuire would bring him in with a double of his own. McGuire would eventually advance to third, and Kody Clemens would hit a sacrifice RBI pop up to score another run for Texas, whittling the lead down to 11-5.
And, yet AGAIN, Texas Tech would score in their half of the inning. Ridgeway would would get two outs, but, and stop me if you’ve heard this one before, fail to close out the inning by walking a runner with two men on to load the bases for Texas Tech. Bryce Elder came on in relief looking for one out to escape the inning, but the Raiders had other plans. A walk followed with a single would bring in three Raiders before Elder was able to get a ground-out to end the seventh inning with Texas now trailing 14-5.
Texas Tech would add two more runs in the bottom of the eighth. For those keeping score at home, that’s seven out of eight innings in which Tech scored at least one run. Chris Fearon, who hasn’t played much this year, was tabbed to pitch the eighth inning for Texas and strike fear into the Red Raiders’ batters. Instead, he was able to give up two more runs to Tech, and after Texas would ultimately go 1-2-3 in the top of the ninth, be the last casualty on the pitchers mound against a Texas Tech team that won by a score of 16-5.
Woof, that was a whole lot to write and not a whole lot of fun.
Texas will look to get back on track and grab the series win tomorrow at 2:00 PM Central. You can catch the game on Fox Sports Southwest, or, as always, on 104.9 The Horn.