By Andrew Glover
Stillwater News Press
STILLWATER, Okla. —
Both Texas Tech and Oklahoma State sent young pitchers to the hill in the middle game of the series Saturday at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium. It was Texas Tech's Johnathon Tripp that won the battle as the Red Raiders grabbed the lead early and downed Tyler Buffett and the Cowboys 16-6 to even the series.
“We didn't play very well,” Oklahoma State coach Josh Holliday said. “Texas Tech came out and played an aggressive ball game and took advantage of some mistakes. It's just one game, the series is tied, and we need to rest up and came out tomorrow and try to win the series.”
The Cowboys had no answer for Tech's designated hitter Adam Kirsch, who went 3 for 4 with two home runs, a double and six RBIs. Oklahoma State catcher Gage Green said they didn't pitch him any different adding that Tech just connected.
“(On Friday Jon) Perrin pitched really well,” Green said. “He kept them off balance. (Tech) just got a couple good pitches to hit (today) and squared them up when they got the opportunity.”
Tech threatned in the first but Oklahoma State left fielder Ryan Sluder saved a run in the first inning. Texas Tech's Tyler Neslony hit a line drive to left field that got to the wall. Todd Ritchie who reached on a walk tried to score but Sluder threw him out at the plate. Buffett got out of the inning when Eric Gutierrez flied out to left.
The Red Raiders (24-10, 5-6) wasted no time to get on the board in the second inning. Kirsch slammed the first pitch over the wall in left-center field for a home run. With two outs, Ryan Long singled on a grounder to right field. Tim Proudfoot followed with a liner to center that went to the wall for a double to score Long.
Buffett only lasted two innings and gave up two runs on four hits and walked one – using 43 pitches. Thomas Hatch relieved him and got off to a shaky start as the first two batters reached on a walk and hit. A wild pitch brought Ritchie home for his second run of the game and a 3-0 Texas Tech lead. Hatch settled in and retired seven straight batters – four by strikeouts.
Offensively, the Cowboys (21-10, 4-4) only had one baserunner in the first three innings. Donnie Walton got OSU's first hit in the bottom of the fourth but nothing came of it. Conor Costello flied out and Tanner Krietemeier grounded into an inning-ending double play.
Texas Tech got after Hatch in the fifth inning. Ritchie walked for the third time. Tim Arkawa couldn't field a grounder in an attempt to turn a double play. Hatch hit Eric Gutierrez to load the bases. Kirsch picked up his second and third RBIs with a double to center – scoring Ritchie and Neslony. Zach Davis joined Tech's hit parade with a two-run single – ending Hatch's outing after 2 1/3 innings.
Oklahoma State got on the board in the fifth inning. Green led off with a singe and advanced to second on a groundout. With two outs, Arakawa drove him in with a single to left. Holliday said they made adjustments at the plate.
“Over the course of the game, each at bat is a little different,” Holliday said. “It's hard to put your finger on that. As the flow of the game went, we got better on offense.”
Tripp pitched the first four innings and one batter in the fifth. He allowed one run on two hits and struck out three. Corey Taylor pitched two innings and to three batters in the seventh. He was tagged for four runs on six hits and hit a batter, but earned the win. Nick Pettus relieved him and pitched two innings and Dalton Brown closed out the game.
Oklahoma State used five pitchers including Mark Robinette out of the bullpen. Robinette came in with one out in the fifth and pitched into the sixth inning. Holliday said Robinette is the type of player he can use in different situations.
“Today that's when we needed him,” Holliday said. “Each guy has different roles on every day of the week. Today was when we needed him to come out of the bullpen for us.”
The Red Raiders gained a double digit advantage in the sixth inning on a three-run home run by Kirsch. Tech scored two more runs to take a 14-2 lead into the bottom of the seventh. With the game in hand, Holliday gave some of his younger players an opportunity and they made the most of it. Freshman Andrew Rosa pinched hit for Arakawa and slammed a pitch over the screen in left field for a two-run home run. Freshman Hunter Hagler followed with a line drive home run to center that cut Tech's lead to 14-5.
“They haven't played a lot,” Holliday said. “They continue to work hard. They have great attitudes. Their level of care is high. They got an opportunity and made the most of it.”
The Cowboys will try to clinch the series Sunday as they meet Tech for a 1 p.m. start.
“We are going to come out here and forget about this game,” Green said. “Runs don't carry over. We are going to come out with a positive energy and a positive mindset. Hopefully we can play well and win the series.”