Texas Tech (16-7 overall, 5-1 in the Big 12) swept the Sooners in notable fashion after overcoming a five run deficit and defeating the Sooners 13-7 in the final game of the series. Their 5-1 start in conference play marks the best start since the 1999 season.
The Red Raiders put up a solid defensive effort on the mound in the first two games giving them the series win on Friday, but the offense production on Saturday helped them finish off the Sooners.
In the first game, on Thursday night the Red Raiders shut out the Sooners 5-0 and set the tone for the rest of the series. Starting pitcher Davis Martin (3-0, ERA: 1.38) proved again that he has what it takes to be the “series opener” for this team by going for six innings only allowing three hits and recording seven strikeouts.
His relief pitcher Hayden Howard (5-1, ERA: 1.21) had two stand out performances over the weekend. The first in Thursday’s night game where he continued to shut out the Sooners in the final three innings and only allowing a hit, two walks and striking out five batters.
Martin said after the game that the Sooners struggling on the mound gave him a boost and confidence in his game.
He’s referring to the Sooners pitching staff combined of starter Alec Hansen and Keaton Hernandez throwing 16 straight balls and scoring three Red Raiders on bases loaded walks. Although, they regained their composure and Texas Tech was only able to score one more run in the sixth inning to make it 5-0.
The solid pitching continued through the second game from the second freshman starter Steven Gingery (2-1,ERA: 3.38). He pitched a career high of seven innings and was able to hold the Sooners to just one run on three hits, two walks and recorded six strikeouts.
Gingery had all the run support behind him as Tech was able to get seven guys across during his outing. Texas Tech scored one run each in the first two innings, then put up three in the fifth inning, again with the Sooners help. They issued two more bases loaded walks in the inning and Matt Bernstein added an RBI to the inning.
It makes sense to question these freshman pitchers as to where this composure they have come up with in back to back conference series comes from and Gingery said it has mainly just come natural to this young pitching staff.
“I really don’t know,” he said. “I guess it’s kind of natural for me. I have pitched in big games before and I just go up there and do my job and let my fielders do the work.”
Robert Dugger (0-0, ERA: 0.82) came in to relieve Gingery and shut out the Sooners in the final two innings of the second game. He only allowed two hits and recorded two strikeouts sealing the series win early.
The big offense that fans saw on Tuesday in New Mexico came to life against Oklahoma in the final game of the series. Although Tech struggled early and trailed 6-1 by the second inning and starter Ty Harpenau (0-0, ERA: 6.75) only lasted one and one-third innings and allowed five runs on five hits and a walk and it took two more pitchers after him to finally get to Hayden Howard who would quiet down the Sooners.
Howard’s second solid performance this weekend was much needed by this team who hasn’t exactly found their “Sunday guy”, in this case Saturday, according to Tadlock. After coming into the game in the with one out in the third inning Howard was able to keep the Sooners to just four hits and a walk and record two strikeouts until he was relieved by Moseley in the 7th inning.
On Thursday, Martin said Howard and the rest of the bullpen guys are the people you want to pitch for.
“Hayden is a competitor, he’s mean. He is the nicest guy off the field, come up to you and have a big ol’ smile every time but when he is in between the lines he’s mean. He wants to get everybody out. Especially having him and Dugger and a lot of the other bullpen guys behind us I mean, we know if we can four, five, pushing six we have all the confidence in the world in them to finish it out,” he said.
It definitely helped Howard that Texas Tech made a 12-0 run in the third, fourth and fifth innings to take a 13-6 lead over Oklahoma. The Red Raiders were able to score on RBI’s from four different hitters to tie the game in the fourth. The next inning the Red Raiders were able to take the lead on a bases loaded wild pitch, and RBIs from Long and Garcia.
It wasn’t over then, in the fifth inning Texas Tech was able to tack on three more. Cory Raley who went 2-for-2 with three RBI overall today hit a two-RBI single, which was followed by a RBI single from Tyler Neslony.
Tanner Gardner continued his success at the plate throughout the weekend. He went 6-for-13, and on Saturday went 3-for-4 with a double and RBI, marking a 10 game hit streak, and the fifth time this season he has had a three-hit game.
In the final game the Sooners came back and scored a run on an error by Ryan Moseley (2-2, ERA: 6.26) in the top of the ninth. In Moseley’s three innings he only allowed one run on three walks and an error and recorded one strikeout.
Tadlock said they are doing as much as they can to get Ryan Moseley back to where he was and if confident he will bounce back.
“We were definitely trying to get some of that [confidence] going,” Tadlock said. “Definitely wasn’t as sharp as we wanted, but at the same time Ryan is definitely very hard on himself, you guys can see that from where you are. When you throw as hard as he does, you gotta cut it loose and he started doing that which is a good sign.”
This game marked the biggest comeback from the Red Raiders since they came back after a five run deficit at New Mexico in 2012. But the Red Raiders can’t dwell on this win too long as they prepare to take the road to play University of Nevada Las Vegas on Monday.
“I think it is great for our team to win every game,” Raley said. “As coach said earlier we are not going to look that much in to it, I mean it was a good series and glad it came out in our favor but we got to move on, we have a lot of games left and a lot of games to win.”