LUBBOCK, Texas -- Red Raiders' redshirt freshman starter Miles Morgan fanned a career-high 15 and tossed his first career complete game to lift Texas Tech to a 2-1 victory over No. 16 Texas in front of a season-high crowd of 4,244 fans at Dan Law Field on Saturday, March 18.
With the loss to the Red Raiders (17-7, 1-1 Big 12), the Horns (15-10, 1-1 Big 12) had their three-game win streak snapped and dropped their first game to Tech since March 30, 2003 (5-2 in Austin). Of note, six of Texas' 10 losses on the year have been decided by two or fewer runs.
Although UT placed a runner on base in each of the first three innings, Morgan kept the Horns off the board by registering seven strikeouts in that span. Texas starter Kyle McCulloch (Houston, Texas), meanwhile, set down the Red Raiders in order through his first three innings of work to keep the game scoreless. In the fourth, Texas threatened again as Drew Stubbs (Atlanta, Texas) led off with a double. Morgan then proceeded to strike out his next two batters in an attempt to work out of the jam while Stubbs stole third, but Kyle Russell (Tomball, Texas) came up with a two-out base hit to stake the Longhorns to a 1-0 lead. Texas Tech would look to answer immediately in the bottom half of the fourth when Tyler Reves doubled with two outs and moved to third on a wild pitch, but McCulloch induced his next batter to ground out and end the inning.
After a scoreless fifth for both sides and a 1-2-3 top of the sixth for UT, Tech's Willie Rueda came up with a one-out triple to put the tying run 90 feet away. Blair Wilkins then delivered an RBI-double to knot the game at 1-1 and place the go-ahead run in scoring position, but McCulloch recorded a strikeout followed by a flyout to end the frame and keep the contest deadlocked. On the other side, Morgan retired 10 in a row to move the game to the bottom of the seventh where a leadoff single from Matt Smith combined with a two-out base hit off the bat of James Leverton to give the Red Raiders a 2-1 advantage. While Kyle Martin followed with another single to give Tech two runners on with two down in the seventh, Austin Wood (Kingwood, Texas) emerged from the UT bullpen to quell the rally by getting his first batter to flyout to center field.
Looking to respond in the top of the eighth, the Horns had their first two batters reach after being hit and then move into scoring position following a sacrifice bunt. With UT now threatening to tie the game or take the lead with only one out in the frame, Morgan struck out his next two batters to maintain the one-run advantage for the Red Raiders. After Wood averted another scoring chance for Tech with two on and one out in the bottom of the eighth, Morgan returned to the hill for Texas Tech in the ninth and retired the side in order to cap off the one-run victory. Earning his fourth win of the year was Morgan, who fanned a school conference record 15, walked none and allowed only one run on four hits over nine innings of work, while McCulloch shouldered the hard-luck loss despite a 6.2-inning effort in which he surrendered two runs on seven hits, walked none and struck out four.
Headlining the Texas offense on the day were Russell, who singled in the Longhorns' lone run with two outs in the fourth to give him a team-best 13 two-out RBI on the year, and Stubbs, who doubled and scored in the fourth as he has now reached base safely in 19 straight games. Texas Tech, meanwhile, had its seven-hit attack led by the duo of Blair and Leverton, who each tallied one hit and one RBI on the afternoon, and Rueda, who went 1-for-3 with one run scored. Of additional note for UT, Wood worked 1.1 hitless innings in relief as he registered his second scoreless relief appearance in as many days against Tech.
The Horns and Red Raiders conclude their three-game set at Dan Law Field on Sunday, March 19 at 1 p.m. Central.