It wasn’t just that TCU lost Sunday to Texas Tech that was frustrating for coach Jim Schlossnagle to watch, it was how the Red Raiders won.
Texas Tech scored four runs in the fifth and five in the sixth to rout TCU 12-2 and take the three-game series before a crowd of 3,548 at Lupton Stadium.
After Tech was held hitless through four innings against TCU starter Tyler Alexander, coach Tim Tadlock held a quick meeting with his players before the fifth to remind them to stay aggressive and battle every pitch.
The approach worked. Three of the bottom four hitters in the Red Raiders’ lineup singled, including two with perfectly executed bunts down the third base line. They set the table for the top of the order, and Devon Conley and Bryant Burleson responded. Conley singled up the middle to tie it at 1-1 and Burleson cleared the bases with a three-run double to right-center.
“They took the game to us the way we aspire to take games to the other team,” Schlossnagle said. “Those were really good bunts, and those are the things that put pressure on people and they did it right in our face. That’s the most impressive and embarrassing thing.”
The No. 25 Red Raiders (19-7, 3-3 Big 12) evened their league record by taking Games 2 and 3 of the series. The Horned Frogs (13-10, 1-2) look to rebound with games against UT Pan American on Tuesday and Wednesday before resuming Big 12 play with a three-game series at Oklahoma State beginning Friday.
In the sixth, Tech batted around as four of the first five batters reached base. Jordan Kipper replaced Alexander (3-2) on the mound after Alexander’s throw to first was wild on a bunt single.
Kipper walked the two men he faced and Tech scored twice on three wild pitches before Riley Ferrell replaced Kipper. Burleson’s two-run double to left-center and Jake Barrios’ single to left ballooned Tech’s lead to 9-1.
“They did a great job; they laid down two perfect bunts and [TCU] couldn’t do anything with them, they had no play and I got a good pitch to hit and put a good swing on it,” said Burleson, who had two doubles and five RBIs. “It’s huge [to win the series], especially on the road coming in here to TCU. They’re a good program.”
Dylan Fitzgerald singled and scored on Boomer White’s two-out single to right to give TCU a 1-0 lead in the first. Tech starter Chris Sadberry (3-1) regrouped, however, and held TCU hitless the next four innings.
Cody Jones started the sixth with a bunt single and Fitzgerald singled to right to give TCU runners on the corners and no outs. But reliever Corey Taylor came in and picked off Fitzgerald at first and retired Kevin Cron and White to defuse the inning.
“Just bad baseball, in general, and a heck of a job by Texas Tech,” Schlossnagle said. “They’re obviously the better team at this point in the season, without question. They played the game of baseball the way we want to play it and feel like we can play it and we haven’t. At least not consistently over time.”
After being shut out 9-0 Friday night Tech responded by outscoring TCU 22-4.
“It’s big anytime you can get a series win in this league and on the road is even bigger,” Tadlock said. “Obviously, the position we put ourselves in after last weekend [losing two of three at Baylor] it was really important. Any time you get a chance to get a win in this league you need to do it.”