Emotions ran high in the first game of the three-game set as
the Red Raiders tried to get off the snide in Big 12 Conference play, while the
Longhorns looked to keep rolling.
Following multiple controversial calls Texas Tech head coach
Dan Spencer headed out to talk to the home plate umpire in the 8th
inning with his squad down 7-4 at the time. .
The conversation ended with Spencer getting an early trip to
the showers, as he was ejected from the game, which brought the 3,216 fans in
attendance at Dan Law Field and Rip Griffin Park to their feet and put some
fire into the dugout as well.
“It’s just a human reaction, everybody in the stands, people
in the dugout, they want it fired up,” Tech first baseman Scott LeJeune said
about what Spencer’s ejection did for the game. “You’re glad your coach is
fighting for you, I think it’s pretty obvious, but we love Spence and we know
he’s going to come to bat for us.”
If Spencer was trying to light a fire underneath the Red
Raiders, it wasn’t effective as Tech (17-14, 2-8 in Big 12 play) was unable to
come back as Texas closer Corey Knebel (6) came in in the 8th and
slammed the door and sealed the 7-4 victory for the men in burnt orange.
Despite the game ending with the Red Raiders on the wrong
side of the score, the beginning of the game did not.
At the start it looked as though the Red Raiders, behind
some strong pitching from Trey Masek and some timely hitting was going to be
able to be enough to upset the No. 25 Texas (16-11, 6-1).
Masek (ND) opened the game setting down 13 Longhorn batters
in a row before back-to-back walks in the fifth got something going for Texas.
At the time the Longhorns were down 1-0, thanks to a double
by Tech centerfielder Barrett Barnes scoring Brennan Moore, but after the
walks, Texas capitalized.
After a costly error, an RBI single by Taylor Stell drove in one-of-two of the runs in the inning making
it 2-1 Texas.
“That’ll happen, that’s baseball for you,” Tech assistant
coach Tim Tadlock said following the game. “When you walk lead off guys, they
usually score. Lead off guys usually score, and they’ve got a history of being
real good at getting guys over and getting guys in and that’s kind of what
Spencer was not made available to the media because of his
ejection in the game.
Down in the game, the major question was could the Red
Answer was yes.
After a triple by McGruder, it was decided that Texas
starter Nathan Thornhill (4-2) intentionally walked
Barnes to get to LeJeune.
LeJeune made the Longhorns pay as he launched a 1-2 delivery
to right field and put it into the Texas bullpen for a three-run shot making it
Despite having the lead for the second time in the game, the
Red Raiders for the second time game it right back.
“It was big at the time,” Tadlock said about LeJeune’s home run. “Obviously we wished we could have made
it stand up, we just didn’t turn a double play earlier in the game. It’d been
nice to make it stand up, but it wasn’t meant to be tonight.”
After getting the lead back, Masek came out in the sixth
innings struck out the first batter, but Mark Payton reached base as Tech
catcher Mason Randolph lost the handle of the ball.
That would do it for the night for Masek as Brennan Stewart
replaced him on the mound.
Stewart (0-1) struggled as Texas drove in three runs on
back-to-back hits to give the Longhorns the 5-4 lead.
The Longhorns would tack on one more run in the inning to
answer the Red Raider’s three-run inning with a four-run inning of their own,
which Masek said was the deciding factor in the game, but says they will be
fine with Duke von Scahmann going on Friday.
“I think it was the four spot they put up in that one
inning,” he said. “It was hard, they just kept running into some barrels, but I
think we’ll be aright. I think Duke’s going to give us a good start tomorrow
and I think we’ll come out with a win tomorrow.”
Stewart was hooked for the loss in the game, as that would
be it, as the Longhorns would tack on two more runs in the game and the Red
Raiders had nothing left to prevent the 7-4 loss.
After the game LeJeune was asked how he would forget the
game heading into tomorrow and he said it’s pretty simple.
“I’ll go home, go to sleep, then go to class tomorrow and
then we’ll start over again.”
The Red Raiders are back in action on Friday in game two of
the series against the Longhorns with first pitch set for 6:30 p.m. at Dan Law
Field at Rip Griffin Park.