Red Raiders Drop Conference Opener, 9-4

Texas Tech came out on Friday night looking to repeat the 2011 opening of Big 12 Conference with a win against Baylor. But the Bears had different plans.

This season the Red Raiders have been known for their ability to score a lot of runs and pairing that with the pitching staff coming out and shutting down opposing teams to find success in 2012 thus far.

On Friday night that was not the case in either category as No. 27 Texas Tech opened Big 12 Conference play on the road, for the second-straight season, against Baylor and the Bears came out swinging to prevent a repeat of the 2011 opener – a loss to Tech.

Baylor, despite getting down early, used timely situational hitting to get the lead back and pull away to the eventual 9-4 victory.

"I thought we came out a little bit flat tonight, we weren't ready to go when the game started," Tech center fielder Barrett Barnes said. "You pay for that in this league, it's a man's league and you got to come out everyday and you got to play hard and you got to play a good nine. We had a lot of chances to score, a lot of chances to get out of innings where we let them either score or we didn't get that run across.

"That's what happens in the Big 12, you lose those ball games."
Early in the game it looked as though it was going to be a pitcher's duel as Baylor (12-7, 1-0 in Big 12 play) was clinging to a 1-0 lead heading into the fourth inning.

The fourth inning was where the game changed from a pitcher's duel into a slugfest as Barnes got Tech on the board quickly with a monstrous two-run home run that cleared a 16-foot centerfield wall that sits 400 feet from home plate in dead center, giving Tech a 2-1 lead.

But as the Red Raiders (12-6, 0-1) scored, the Bears answered right back.

Tech's starting pitcher, Duke von Schamann, had thrown a solid three innings up until the fourth, but that's when his control issues started to cost him.

The Bears tied up the game on a von Schamann balk, and then took the lead with a Michael Howard double giving the Bears a 4-2 lead.

von Schamann's (2-3) struggles continued as the Bears continued taking advantage of his mistakes until they ran him from the game after just five innings of work.

The sophomore finished the game going just the five innings, giving up six runs on 10 hits, striking out just two and walking four – a new career-high.

"I mean, like I said, Duke's been pretty good, he throws a lot of strikes and he didn't tonight," Tech head coach Dan Spencer said about von Schamann's performance.  "He didn't throw as many strikes as he had, he wasn't able to make the pitch that he's made in the past to get us off the field. We had a real hard time getting their leadoff hitter out of the inning, and we had a real hard time getting off the field with two outs."

With a 6-2 lead in hand the Bears continued to ride the starting pitching of Josh Turley to maintain that lead.

Turley (2-0) finished the game going six and one-third innings pitched giving up four runs, which marks the second time in 21 starts that he had surrendered three or more runs in a game, on nine hits and struck out four en route to the win.

The Red Raiders tacked on two more runs in the seventh inning on an RBI single and a sacrifice fly to pull within three at 7-4, but Baylor pitcher Kolt Browder (1) came in and slammed the door not allowing any more runs, after the sacrifice fly, for the rest of the ball game.

Baylor would tack on two more runs in the seventh inning to make it 9-4, which was the final score.

"I thought our guys came ready to play," Baylor head coach Steve Smith said. "I thought we were aggressive on the bases, we were anticipating things. I thought from a mental standpoint that we were hooked up and ready to play. I thought Josh (Turley) pitched extremely well.

"I thought we competed well at the plate, took advantage of some balls in the dirt, got some very timely two-out and two-strike hits off of a guy that's been pretty good, he ain't giving up many hits. I thought our guys approached him well."

With the loss, the Red Raiders fall to 6-10 overall in Big 12 Conference openers all-time, but have won two out of their last three series to open conference play, including last years against the Bears.

With the first true conference test under their belts and it being a loss, Barnes said the team is not down or anything following the loss to the Bears.

After the game Spencer said his message to the team was a simple one – come back and win on Saturday.

"Just exactly that, you got 24 tests in this league and we didn't pass that one," he said. "Time to go back to work tomorrow we'll prepare and we'll come out and play better."

The Red Raiders are back on the diamond to face the Bears on Saturday at Baylor Ballpark, with first pitch set for 3:05 p.m.

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