LUBBOCK, Texas —Hunter Redman’s single over a drawn-in infield in the 11th inning gave Texas Tech a 4-3 walkoff victory and kept West Virginia scuffling with its fifth straight loss.
Coach Randy Mazey, with his Mountaineers (27-22, 9-12) desperately needing to avoid a sweep in the final regular-season series, couldn’t downplay the disappointment. Not only did WVU fail to capitalize on using its ace Harrison Musgrave, but closer Sean Carley also threw 41 pitches after entering in the ninth—potentially making him unavailable the next two days.
“Thats an awful loss,” Mazey said. “When we throw Musgrave and Carley in the same game and use them up for the weekend, that doesn’t help us at all. … Now Texas Tech has got a lot more pitching left than we do.”
Texas Tech (38-16, 12-10) improved its home record to 29-4 and moved within a game of clinching the Big 12’s No. 4 seed. West Virginia is trying to fend off Baylor for sixth place and, of greater consequence, trying to keep its NCAA at-large hopes afloat.
After Carley (5-3) allowed Alec Humphreys’ leadoff single in the 11th, Texas Tech bunted him into scoring position. When Tim Proudfoot’s fly ball to right-center was dropped by Bobby Boyd—his first error in Big 12 action—Humphreys could only advance to third. But Redman subsequently brought him home by lining a 1-1 pitch into left field.
Texas Tech led 3-1 entering the ninth only to see its closer Dominic Moreno hit Ryan McBroom and Brad Johnson. Cam O’Brien doubled inches inside the left-field line to score one run before Jackson Cramer’s infield groundout tied it.
Michael Constantini nearly put WVU ahead, but his sinking liner to right field was caught by a diving Steven Smith to preserve the tie.
Despite the rally, Mazey wasn’t happy with his club’s offensive night, which countered nine hits with nine strikeouts.
“The runs we scored, they gave them to us—we didn’t really earn them,” Mazey said. “We didn’t have much of a plan at the plate tonight. It’s disappointing with so much on the line that we didn’t do more (offensively) tonight.”
Texas Tech had its chance to end it in the bottom of the ninth when Tim Proudfoot walked, took second on a bunt and moved to third on a passed by ball by backup catcher Ray Guerrini. Moments later Guerrini let another pitch glance off his mitt but recovered in time to flip to Carley, who tagged out Proudfoot at the plate.
“Thats an awful loss. When we throw Musgrave and Carley in the same game and use them up for the weekend, that doesn’t help us at all. Now Texas Tech has got a lot more pitching left than we do.” — WVU coach Randy Mazey
Musgrave allowed 10 hits to match his season-high, but he fanned seven and limited Texas Tech to three runs over eight innings.
Charged with only three wild pitches in his first 13 starts, Musgrave made two in the seventh inning alone. After singles by Devon Conley and Redman, Musgrave bounced a curveball to the backstop, moving both runners into scoring position with one out. After an intentional walk loaded the bases, Musgrave skipped another pitch past catcher Cam O’Brien, scoring Conley.
Texas Tech didn’t scratch against Musgrave until the sixth, when a two-out RBI double by Eric Gutierrez scored Bryant Burleson from third base.
It became 3-1 in the eighth when Humphreys’ two-out, routine pop-fly fell between second baseman Billy Fleming and Johnson in right field, allowing pinch-runner Zach Davis to score.
Taylor Munden’s RBI triple put WVU ahead 1-0 in the fifth after Constantini drew a two-out walk against Texas Tech
Texas Tech starter Corey Taylor was lifted with one out in the third after Munden’s double. But Jonny Drozd gave the Red Raiders 5 2/3 innings of one-run relief.
Cameron Smith (6-1), who escaped a two-out, two-on situation in the top of the 11th, earned the win.
Friday’s second game of the series is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Eastern.