After weather postponed Friday night’s game to Saturday, Texas Tech only needed one day to capture the home series against West Virginia, winning both games on Saturday by scores of 7-5 and 12-2. The story of Saturday was the starting pitching, and they got help in the form of a huge day from who else but Kurt Wilson.
Kurt had two big flies, one in each game, and all day the bats were hot, as Tech finished with 19 runs in two games. Easton Murrell led off game one with a homer, Kurt Wilson had 3 RBIs to go along with Ty Coleman’s two RBIs and Andrew Morris pitched a complete game, the first for Tech since 2019. Morris stayed hot with this outing and while five runs might look strange, only two of them were earned as the defense was a little shaky in game one. Andrew finished with 104 pitches, and after WVU scored four in the third, that was the end of the scoring for the Mountaineers. However, Tech wouldn’t need to wait another three years for the next complete game.
It was more like three hours.
In game two, Brandon Birdsell went the distance, going eight innings since the run-rule was in effect for this one. Birdsell finished giving up two runs on four hits, while striking out nine batters and throwing 97 pitches. The bats didn’t slow down in this one, they actually picked up the pace, scoring 12 runs, four of them in the bottom of the eighth to complete the run-rule victory on a walk-off walk from Cole Stilwell. Stilwell finished the game with 3 RBIs, the Red Raiders got homers from Wilson and Owen Washburn and after Tech hung three runs in the third and fourth inning to push the lead to 7-0 this one was done with they way Birdsell was dealing.
Game three was a very good baseball game, it was close for eight innings and then the bullpen issues re-surfaced, as West Virginia plated 10 runs in the top of the ninth to push the lead to the final score of 15-4. Chase Hampton started the game, but only recorded one out and gave up two runs and got pulled for Mason Molina who had another good outing, going 3.1 innings and only giving up one run on three hits during that time, he still got the loss but it was an encouraging outing from Molina. Mason was pulled for Trendan Parish, who went 4.0 innings, giving up two runs early but settled down and really pitched well for the most part.
Unfortunately, that is where the positives end for the bullpen. It took four pitchers to get three outs in the ninth, two of those pitchers did not record an out at all, there were three walks, two wild pitches, ten runs, eleven hits, and a passed ball. After all was said and done, a manageable one-run game turned into an eleven run blowout loss.
It is here where we need to have an honest talk about this pitching staff. I want to first recognize just how good the one-two punch of Andrew Morris and Brandon Birdsell has been this season. This is quite honestly one of the better pitching duos I have seen in a good while at Texas Tech and it has been an absolute treat watching them go on Friday and Saturday this season. As of late, Mason Molina has come on strong and his record really doesn’t reflect the type of pitcher he has been this year. He started strong, regressed a touch, but has almost gotten back to what made him the Sunday starter in the first place, which to be honest, is where he needs to be.
Right now, if you choose to put Molina in the starters category, the Red Raiders have two relievers that have a sub five ERA. That would be Bridges and Devine. Girton also is sub five but he is out for the year most likely, due to injury. Only having two pitchers that have a sub five ERA out of the bullpen is not good. It is especially bad for a team that, over the past few years, considers the season a bust when it doesn’t end in Omaha at the College World Series.
I want this team to succeed just as much as y’all do. But in order for that to happen, there needs to be two or three arms step up out of that bullpen. Trendan Parish is making his case to be a go-to-guy as a true freshman. Who else will step up?
Texas Tech hosts Abilene Christian on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. for the annual “Bark in the Park” night at Dan Law Field, so bring your doggos out to the game and have a great night!
This coming weekend, the Red Raiders travel to Waco to take on a struggling Baylor squad in a three game series that will need to be won in order to keep the hopes of hosting a regional alive.
We are getting down to the nitty gritty of the season, will Tech rise to the occasion?