The No. 7 Texas Tech Red Raiders completed their four game sweep of UConn in dramatic fashion on Monday, walking off on back-to-back-to-back homers in the bottom of the 10th. Let’s look back at the series and see what Tech did well, and where the Red Raiders could still improve.
Tech 4- UConn 3
Brandon Birdsell picked up the win and finished up with six innings and four hits with one run and five strikeouts. Cal Conley went four-for-four and had three RBIs and carried Tech from the hitting aspect of the game. This one was made more interesting in the later innings as UConn added a run in the eighth and one in the ninth as well to put pressure on the Tech bullpen. Connor Queen had to come in to get two outs in the ninth to shut the door and pick up the save, and Andrew Devine had a solid two inning relief appearance as well.
Tech 10- UConn 3
Patrick Monteverde had his worst outing as a Red Raider....and still picked up the win while going five innings giving up three runs and only two of them were earned, he also struck out four and threw 81 pitches. Bottom line here is that if this is the worst of Patrick Monteverde, then sign me up. He still had a strong outing and picked up the win in the process, this guy is incredibly fun to watch and I’m glad that he wears the scarlet and black. Dru Baker had a four -for-four day with a walk and three runs scored, with Nate Rombach and Cody Masters going deep as well. This game was close for a majority of the game with the score being 4-3 until Tech pushed six runs across in the bottom of the eighth starting with Masters’ absolute bomb that went about three-fourths of the way up the video board in right center. The 10th run came across in the form of Kurt Wilson on a Braxton Fulford double.
Tech 15- UConn 13
In a game that was all about offense on Sunday, The Red Raiders simply outlasted the Huskies as Tech scored at least one run in every single inning. Ryan Sublette got the win out of the bullpen after going one and two-thirds innings giving up three hits and two runs while striking out three. Connor Queen once again had to come in and get one out to pick up the save and to be brutally honest, Queen was the most composed pitcher out of the bullpen all game, as this bullpen really did not impress on Sunday, giving up a whopping nine runs in four and two-thirds innings pitched. However, with the sticks, Tech was very impressive pushing 15 runs across and the Red Raiders earned this win as they wore seven pitches during this game and two by Dylan Neuse for good measure. Jace Jung and Cal Conley both went three-for-four with two RBIs and Braxton Fulford went two-for-five with two RBIs as well. This game was a little bit of back and forth and at one point Tech was up 8-1 in the fourth and 15-9 in the eighth. UConn would simply just not go away as they scored three in the eighth and four in the ninth, but the Red Raiders held on for the victory.
Tech 9- UConn 8 (10 innings)
WOW. Just wow. What an ending to a game that started earlier than most at 10 a.m. and had Tech on the ropes in the ninth and the tenth innings. For most of the game, Texas Tech struggled to get things going offensively, having only one run on two hits through the fifth inning. The single run was on a Cody Masters homer in the bottom of the second. Dru Baker gave the Red Raiders the lead in the seventh on a three run homer to left center. Later that inning Dylan Neuse tripled and subsequently stole home to give Tech a 6-4 lead. Brendan Girton came on in the ninth and inherited a tie ballgame at 6-6 with the go ahead run on second and no outs. Girton got out of the jam in the ninth, however he let up two runs in the tenth and once again, the Red Raiders were down 8-6. Due up for Tech in the tenth: Nate Rombach, Cal Conley, and Braxton Fulford. What happened next I can only say you had to be there to believe it. Nate Rombach homered to left on a 1-0 pitch to make it 8-7. Then Conley stepped in, and homered to the left field bullpen on a 2-1 pitch to tie it at eight. Braxton Fulford-who had struck out all four at bats- then looked at ball one and promptly sent the second pitch over the left center wall and won the game for the Red Raiders. This team never quit and in a game that they could’ve easily thrown in the towel and lived to fight another day but they never said die, and pulled this one out.
Texas Tech was able to grind out some solid close games in this series, so tip your hat to the Huskies for being competitive for the entire series. Tech’s bats were alive this series scoring 38 runs over four games so that is a positive heading into Big 12 play. Speaking to what I said earlier the resiliency of this team is very apparent and its a very very good sign that this team doesn’t mail it in. I like the way Tech looks after this series in all but one aspect and I’ve harped on it but it was apparent again on Sunday and Monday and it is the bullpen. I know Monday the majority of the pitchers used were freshman and some on Sunday were freshman as well, but that doesn’t take away the fact that the bullpen allowed nine runs in just under five innings on Sunday and six runs in five innings on Monday. With Big 12 play starting on Friday night, our bullpen needs to get in shape and quickly.
Overall, the good outweighs the bad for Tech, and it is after all a four game sweep to extend the winning streak to 14 games, bringing the Red Raiders’ overall record to 14-3. Tech begins Big 12 play on Friday at 6:30 p.m. at Dan Law Field against #14 Oklahoma State, so there is no looking past the opening series. We all know of the past history between Texas Tech and Oklahoma State, mainly the Super Regional series in 2019 that took place at Dan Law Field, that saw Tech winning the series 2-1 and advancing to the College World Series. Buckle up for an intense three game series folks.
Be sure to follow @vivathematadors for all of your Texas Tech sports updates. You can also follow me @JackBellSports as Big 12 play gets going.