It didn’t come easy, but the Texas Tech Red Raiders (44-17) did finally grasp the regional championship with a gritty 5-3 win over Dallas Baptist (44-19). And it was Tech’s pitching—absent without leave the night before—that hammered down the victory.
Ryan Moseley got the start and pitched four and a third innings, giving up three hits and one earned run, before giving way to Hayden Howard. The Carrollton product then brought home the win, going the final four and two thirds innings, surrendering only two hits, recording five strikeouts, and retiring six patriots in a row to clinch the W.
As well as Moseley and Howard pitched, however, their performance was about more than overpowering hitters. Said Texas Tech boss Tim Tadlock, “Most of the time it’s not about the ‘stuff’ but executing the pitches, throwing them with conviction, and doing what you set out to do. I would say that both of those guys did that today. I don’t know that either one of them had their best fastball of the year, but they were set in what they wanted to do today.”
It was clear from the opening inning that these Red Raiders were set in what they wanted to do and were all about business. After surrendering a single to Jameson Hannah, Moseley induced Justin Wall to ground into a double play and then struck out Austin Listi.
When Tech came to bat in the bottom half, Stephen Smith started things right with a double off the centerfield wall. Hunter Hargrove advanced Smith with a sacrifice fly, and Smith touched home plate following a Tanner Gardner ground out.
DBU got on the scoreboard in the third when Daniel Sweet led off with a triple and was brought home by a Camden Dusenak deep fly.
In the bottom of the third another Smith double and a Hargrove walk chased Dallas Baptist starter Coby Weaver from the mound.
Replacement Landon Weaver retired Gardner and Cory Raley, but walked Tyler Neslony, and then balked Smith home to return the lead to Tech.
In the next inning the Red Raiders slightly padded that one-run lead. Michael Davis led off with a single and was brought home by an Orlando Garcia double. The scoreboard showed Texas Tech 3, Dallas Baptist 1.
But the Patriots were not about to go down easily. In the top of the sixth, following a Justin Wall walk, Listi slammed a homer over the left field wall to knot the game at three.
It was in Tech’s side of the sixth inning where the winning runs were scored. Eric Gutierrez walked and Davis singled to place runners on the corners with no outs. Dalton Higgins relieved Wilson and promptly struck out Tyler Floyd. But that man Garcia again made with the stick, pounding out a double that produced two runs and Tech’s margin of victory.
It only remained for Howard to close out the show, which he did in style.
The Red Raiders will now host East Carolina in a best-of-three series with a berth in the College World Series in the offing.