In the Texas Tech baseball team’s 7-1 win over Florida Atlantic on Friday afternoon, it was a big inning that came about by small ball that was the difference.
It isn’t common for a team throwing a no-hitter to be in a fight for its life in the middle innings of a game but that was what the Texas Tech baseball team was facing Friday afternoon. Squaring off with Florida Atlantic in Tallahassee, Florida, the Red Raiders were tied with the Owls 1-1 after six innings and up just 2-1 after seven.
But in a 3-run 8th inning, Tech used small ball to blow the game open on the way to a 7-1 win. Sending eight men to the plate in the inning, Tech had five hits, four of which didn’t leave the infield.
The scoring in that frame began when Parker Kelly beat out a ball he hit to third base allowing Cody Masters to score. Catcher Braxton Fulford then reached base on a bunt and on the play, Dylan Neuse scored from third to put Tech up 3-1. Dru Baker then singled down the left-field line bringing Parker Kelly home.
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In the top of the 9th, the Red Raiders got a two-run homer from Masters for some extra breathing room in what proved to be the final scoring play of the afternoon for either team. It was Masters’ second hit of the year and his second homer.
Once again, the Red Raider pitching staff was fantastic. Clayton Beeter got the start and tossed five innings. The only run he allowed was unearned and came in the fifth when his fielders made three errors to allow FAU to tie the game at 1-1. In the top of the fifth, Brian Klein had opened the scoring with an RBI double.
Beeter struck out seven hitters and didn’t allow a walk but wasn’t able to pick up the victory. Leaving after tossing 81 pitches, he turned the tie game over to his bullpen and once again, the Red Raider relievers came through.
Jacob Brustoski came on to work the sixth and seventh. Striking out a pair and walking only one, he gave up no hits and no runs to pick up the victory, his first of the year.
John McMillon and Andrew Divine both worked scoreless innings to round out the game and send the Red Raiders to 9-1 on the season. Tech will now face Florida State in a pair of games to finish the weekend in a meeting of top-15 teams.
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It will be the toughest test of the year thus far for the Red Raiders as they play in an opponent’s home stadium for the first time. But this team is proving capable of winning in multiple ways after using pitching and situational baseball to down FAU on Friday. That’s a sign of a team ready to play anyone, anywhere.