No. 22 Texas Tech exploded for seven runs in the fifth, putting a firm grip on its eventual 14-7 victory against UT Arlington on Wednesday afternoon at Rip Griffin Park. The Red Raiders (16-3) will have one day off before it welcomes No. 12 Oklahoma State (15-3), Friday-Sunday, to open Big 12 play.
The Red Raiders' offense heated up late, scoring 12 of their 14 runs over the final four innings. The outburst got underway with the seven-run fifth, followed by two runs in the sixth and three more in the eighth. The seven-run fifth marked the third-most runs in a single inning this season behind a pair of eight-run inning surges, once versus Western Illinois and the other last Friday night versus Iowa. The 14 runs give Tech double digits in 10-of-19 games this season
Zach Erdman made his second-consecutive midweek start for the Red Raiders while Josh Sanders was the first to enter the game in relief. The two tossed three innings each. It was a 1-1 contest after the first three innings and 11-3 by the time Sanders exited. Sanders was the pitcher of record, earning his first win this season.
The Mavericks posted single runs in three-straight innings from the third to the fifth. The Mavs had three hits in each of those innings to grow its total to 10 hits after the first five innings.
UTA recorded 16 hits, the most allowed by the Red Raiders this season but were limited to seven runs. Twelve of the 16 hits were singles as the Mavs left 12 on base. Erdman surrendered four hits and one run while Sanders allowed six hits and two runs. Taber Fast, the third pitcher in line, was knocked for five hits and four runs in 1 and 1/3 innings of work and the duo of Ryan Free and Jase Lopez were effective to close the game allowing just one hit combined over the final 1 and 2/3 innings.
The Red Raiders' defense also continued to limit runs as two more double plays were turned giving Tech five twin killings for the midweek series versus UTA. It grows Tech's nation-leading number to 29 for the year.
Texas Tech was powered by the home run, as it has been lately, with four on Wednesday. The Red Raiders have slugged 14 of their 30 home runs for the season over the last five games – which encompasses the series versus Iowa and UTA.
Getting in on the home run action was the utility freshman Damian Bravo. With the first pitch offered in his at-bat in the fifth, he connected for his first career hit, which happened to be a 442-foot grand slam to break the game open putting a bow on the seven-run fifth inning. He's the first Red Raider to connect for a home run as his first career hit since Nate Rombach (Feb. 15, 2020 vs. Houston Baptist).
Gavin Kash drove in a pair of runs in the sixth with a two-run blast for his team-leading seventh home run of the season. Owen Washburn and Hudson White hit back-to-back home runs, and three singles ensued in an eighth inning that produced three runs. The back-to-back knocks mark the second time this season Tech did so joining the March 1 Air Force game behind the bats of Drew Woodcox and Kash.
The two midweek games against UTA served as the final two nonconference games for the Red Raiders before opening Big 12 play at home, Friday-Sunday, versus Oklahoma State. The Red Raiders and Cowboys will enter Friday's game with a combined win total of 31 and just five losses between the two.
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