LUBBOCK, Texas – No. 4 Texas Tech clinched its series in shutout fashion on Saturday, defeating Kansas State 14-0 at Rip Griffin Park. The series win marks the Red Raiders’ third Big 12 series win in three tries to start the 2022 season.
Both aspects of Tech’s game were firing on all cylinders on Saturday between its hitting and pitching. The Red Raiders (26-8, 6-2) scored in double-digits for the 14th time this season, using 10 hits, while the Red Raiders’ pitching staff limited Kansas State (15-15, 1-7) to three hits.
Another specular Saturday start from Brandon Birdsell paved the way for Tech as he moved to 5-1. The junior allowed one hit and struck out 12 (watch) against three walks – his second-highest strikeout total this season (15, March 12 at Rice). Looking back to last week’s start, he’s surrendered one hit in his last two outings. For the season, he owns a 70-to-13 strikeout to walk ratio.
Kurt Wilson spearheaded the offensive effort. In each of his five at-bats, he found the base pads, as he went 3-for-3 with two walks and four RBIs. In the first, Wilson hit his fifth home run in the last 11 games to set the stage for a tough day for the Wildcats.
Wilson’s home run in the first inning came one at-bat following a fielding error that allowed Ty Coleman to reach base and extend the inning. Wilson took the first pitch he saw and launched it (watch) over the left-field fence to plate three unearned runs against Kansas State’s pitcher.
With a three-run lead, the Red Raiders took control of the game the next inning, scoring five more runs in a five-hit frame. All nine batters made a plate appearance, led off by Hudson White immediately extending the game to a 4-0 lead with his fourth home run (watch) of the season. Texas Tech would register four hits over its first five plate appearances in the second. Parker Kelly hit a double, followed by a Zac Vooletich RBI single (watch) and a Cole Stilwell double. Stilwell’s double was a ground-rule double that held Vooletich at third base. Jace Jung was intentionally walked to load the bases and what followed was another K-State miscue.
A potential inning-ending double play turned into two runs, and then a third, after the throw to first base sailed into the outfield following the force-out at home plate on a ground ball (watch). With a 7-0 lead, Wilson registered a run-scoring double after the error to increase Tech’s lead to 8-0 after two innings.
Tech scored two more in the sixth and four in the eighth. A sequence of walk, wild pitch, walk, and hit-by-pitch allowed all four runs to score in the eighth as two singles helped load the bases. Nine of Texas Tech’s 14 runs were earned runs on Saturday.
The shutout marked the Red Raiders’ first since defeating Kansas 5-0 on May 22, 2021.
Head Coach Tim Tadlock
“Really good stuff and command. Birdsell’s a competitor. He’s really diligent about what he does day to day and he prepares the right way. It’s fun to watch.”
On Sunday games…
“I think the day of the week is relative. Tomorrow is a new day, and we have to earn the right to win tomorrow. The last three Sundays we didn’t earn the right to win, but it could’ve happened on a Monday or Tuesday. We aspire to just get a little bit better, evolve and grow each day.”
Junior pitcher Brandon Birdsell
On how strikeouts make him feel…
“You always want to keep your composure, but it definitely builds confidence. You don’t have to talk or ask anyone anything, if you’re getting swings and misses you know you’re doing pretty well. Your confidence grows as the game goes on and you get better pitch by pitch.”
On having the double-play help from the defense in the fifth…
“They definitely bailed me out. I was really appreciative of it and I’m just glad they could help me get out of that rough inning.”
Sophomore infielder Jace Jung
On the hitting mentality today after being held hitless on Friday…
“Be aggressive at the plate, get your pitch and get a good swing on it. 0-for-4’s are going to happen, you just have to push through the next day.”
The series finale is Sunday at 12:30 p.m. Texas Tech will seek to break a streak of three-straight Sunday losses. The Red Raiders’ last Sunday win was on March 13 at Rice.