*The Texas Tech bullpen, which had been shaky at best in the previous two games against UTSA, threw up a wall before the Roadrunners today, and helped the Red Raiders to an 8-4 victory to clinch the series two games to one.
There were two really special moments compliments of that bullpen. The first came in the top half of the sixth inning with Texas Tech (14-3) holding a 6-3 lead. Starting pitcher Ryan Shetter left under duress, and bequeathed to Jose Quezada runners on the corners with two out, and C.J. Pickering, who had earlier belted a two-run homer to left field, stepping to the plate. The diminutive Quezada gunned down Pickering in short order and serious danger was averted.
The second moment of high drama, which was much like the first, came with two outs in the top of the ninth, and the Red Raiders leading 8-4, but with the bases juiced and Jesse Baker, the man responsible for a solo shot in the eighth, toeing the line. Baker then represented the tying run, and was more than capable of being just that.
Reliever Caleb Kilian, who began the inning by walking the leadoff man, striking out the next two batters, but then allowing a double and another walk, was in a jam of his own concoction. Tech skipper Tim Tadlock showed tremendous faith in Kilian by letting him face Baker. The freshman from Flower Mound rewarded Tadlock by retiring Baker on strikes and closing out the Roadrunners in the process. And the Red Raider faithful were spared a reprise of yesterday’s ninth-inning, two-out swoon.
*Home plate umpire Doyle Sooter displayed a small strike zone, which suited the precise Tech hurlers just fine, but caught out the more erratic Roadrunner pitchers. Red Raider pitchers allowed just two bases on balls, while UTSA pitchers walked 10 Texas Tech batters.
*Texas Tech starter Ryan Shetter suffered a rough first two innings, allowing five hits and three runs. It looked like the Tech bullpen might get a serious workout on the day. However, Shetter shettled down and pitched three straight innings of scoreless ball, sitting down the nine batters he faced in those frames.
*UTSA has a pair of interesting relievers who saw action in this game. The first, tall drink of water (6-foot-8) Derek Craft, has one of the most unusual batteries I’ve seen in some time. In his wind up and delivery, it appears as though different levels of his physique are completely out of synch with one another, almost like the stop-motion animation from the 1920s played at slow speed. Furthermore, Craft keeps the ball and glove hidden behind his head for a very long part of the battery. I can only imagine what Craft’s delivery looks like from the plate.
The second, Karan Patel, just so happens to be a member of the United States cricket team. It would be interesting to ask Patel just how much his cricket background has helped his baseball abilities.