The Baylor Bears clinched the opening conference series against the Texas Tech Red Raiders Saturday with a 2-1 victory.
Tech seemed to have a case of déjà vu with two runners on and no outs in the top of the ninth inning. With the heart of the lineup coming, Baylor created a strategy. The Bears closer Josh Michalec was able to force a pop-up on Alec Humphrey's sac bunt attempt. Third baseman Ben Carl came in and caught the ball for the first out. Jake Barrios then flied out to centerfield.
Tech brought up Eric Gutierrez, who has produced multiple clutch hits in the young 2014 season. After a first pitch strike, Gutierrez unleashed a grounder to the hot corner. Carl picked up the ground ball and tagged out Zach Davis to end the ballgame and wrap up Michalec's eighth save of the season.
It is the second straight game the Red Raiders (15-5, 0-2) were unable to score in the late innings with two runners on and no outs. As they did on Friday, Baylor used the early innings to produce their game-winning run. Baylor lead-off man Lawton Langford came around in the first on a sacrifice fly to take the early lead. In the second inning, Logan Brown produced an RBI single to score Matt Menard.
Tech scored their lone run in the fifth inning on a Jake Barrios two-out single. The hit brought Alec Humphreys across the plate. It is the only Tech run in two conference games this season.
For the most part, Tech was unable to capitalize on golden opportunities. Baylor committed two errors throughout the game including a fielding error on shortstop Brett Doe to lead-off the seventh inning. Stephen Smith, who reached on the error, was soon caught stealing at second base.
The Red Raiders left 12 runners stranded on the base paths and produced five hits. Tech went 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position. The lone hit is the Barrios RBI single to score Humphreys.
Tech had another nice outing from its pitching staff. Starter Chris Sadberry (L, 2-1) pitched five plus innings allowing two earned runs on seven hits and one walk. The Grayson County College product struck out four.
Baylor starter Brad Kuntz (W, 3-0) surrendered an earned run on three hits and five walks. Kuntz struck out five Red Raiders allowing just one extra base hit. Ryan Smith relieved Kuntz after five innings of work. Smith pitched three innings walking three batters and allowing one hit.
Michalec came in from the bullpen to close out the ball game. After giving up a single to Anthony Lyons, who Davis pinch-ran for, Smith laid down a sac bunt attempt and beat out the throw after Ben Carl bobbled the ball. This is when the déjà vu would strike and Texas Tech was left scratching its head with a 0-2 start to conference play.
Tech must now look to Sunday to salvage their first road series. First pitch Sunday is set for 1:05.
Baylor Edges Texas Tech 2-1 in Game 2
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