April 5, 2012
LUBBOCK, Texas – The No. 18 Texas Longhorns rallied with a four-run sixth inning to erase a 4-2 deficit and went on to register a 7-4 victory over the Texas Tech Red Raiders in Big 12 Conference baseball action at Rip Griffin Park on Thursday evening.
Texas Tech (17-14, 2-8 Big 12) drew first blood in the bottom of the third inning. With one out, Brennan Moore hit a wall-banger to leftfield for a double. Two batters later he was sent home when Barrett Barnes also hit the wall for a double, this one to the gap in left centerfield staking the Red Raiders to a 1-0 lead.
Texas (16-11, 6-1 Big 12) claimed the lead with a pair of runs in the top of the fifth inning. With one out, Brooks Marlow and Alex Silver worked the count for walks. Jacob Felts bounced into a potential inning-ending double play, but Red Raiders’ second baseman Jamodrick McGruder dropped the relay to give the Longhorns’ a bases-loaded opportunity. Taylor Stell worked the count to full and then laced a single through the right side of the infield to plate Marlow with the equalizer. Jordan Etier drew a four-pitch walk to push Silver across for the go-ahead run, giving Texas a 2-1 advantage.
The Red Raiders bounced back to retake the lead in the home half of the fifth. With two outs, McGruder tripled to the gap in left centerfield. After Barnes was intentionally walked to put runners at the corners, Scott LeJeune delivered a 1-2 offering into the Longhorns’ bullpen in rightfield for a three-run home run and Texas Tech led 4-2 with five innings in the books.
The Longhorns offered up an immediate response with a four-run assault in the top of the sixth inning. Mark Payton drew a walk. Reliever Brennan Stewart entered the game to replace Tech starter Trey Masek. Erich Weiss squirted a ball past the reach of a diving Red Raiders’ shortstop and Collin Shaw followed with a pinch-hit sacrifice bunt to put both runners in scoring position. Marlow looped a single into centerfield to plate both runners and knot the game at 4-4. Silver followed with a double down the leftfield line to drive in Marlow with the go-ahead run. With two outs and Rusty Shellhorn pitching for Tech, Stell also doubled down the leftfield line to plate Silver for the 6-4 lead.
Texas added an insurance run in the seventh. Payton led off with a bunt single and Weiss and Shaw loaded the bases with singles to rightfield and through the right side of the infield, respectively. Marlow bounced into a 4-6-3 double play allowing Payton to score for the 7-4 advantage.
Stell, who was a late insertion in the lineup for the Longhorns, replacing Landon Steinhagen about an hour before the game, went 2-for-3 with one double, one hit-by-pitch, one stolen base and two RBI. Payton went 2-for-4 with two bunt singles, one walk and two runs. He extended his streak for consecutive games reaching base to 28, including all 27 games in 2012. Weiss added two hits and Marlow and Silver each scored two runs.
McGruder, Barnes and Moore each logged two hits for Texas Tech, each with one extra-base hit. McGruder logged a triple and Barnes and Moore each tallied two-baggers.
Thornhill (4-2) worked 6.0 innings as the Texas starter to earn the victory. He allowed four runs on five hits and two walks while striking out four. Hoby Milner scattered two hits and fanned two in a scoreless seventh inning. Corey Knebel retired six of the seven batters he faced in 2.0 innings to earn his sixth save of the season and the 25th of his career. He fanned two and allowed one hit.
Masek did not allow a hit through the first four innings. He ended his outing with 5.0 innings plus one batters in the sixth, allowing three runs, two earned, on one hit and four walks while striking out two. Stewart (0-1) was saddled with the loss allowing three runs on three hits over 0.1 inning.
The Longhorns and Red Raiders return to action on Friday evening with a 6:37 p.m. contest at Rip Griffin Park.