When the Red Raider baseball team reached their last at bat of the game on Tuesday against Arizona State, they knew they had to make it count.
What they didn’t know, however, was the unexpected way that the game would play out.
After nine complete innings of ups and downs for the Red Raiders, they were able to pull off a win over ASU with a final score of 8-7.
ASU started the game strong and scored a quick three runs in the first inning, and Texas Tech answered with a run of their own in the bottom of the first.
In the second inning neither team scored, but Tech pushed another three runs across the plate in the bottom of the third.
In the fourth inning each team had one run, and both teams went scoreless during the fifth and sixth innings.
Arizona scored another run in the top of the seventh, and then both teams scored a run each during the eighth inning.
Arizona then scored one run in the top of the ninth, which left Tech trailing by one.
That was when things got interesting.
ASU pitcher Ryan Burr got two outs on Tech early in the bottom of the ninth, and Tech had the bases loaded with Jake Barrios at the plate. Barrios was then hit by a pitch, which brought in the tying run for TTU.
Barrios said he knew Burr was going to throw him a fastball, and since he was down in the count he crowded the plate.
“I was just hoping he would throw in,” Barrios said. “I would love to wear one in that situation, anyone would. It was awesome.”
Next up was Scott LeJeune, pinch-hitting for Zach Davis, with the bases loaded and two outs. LeJeune battled at the plate against Burr, and ended up taking a walk to bring in the winning run.
In that inning alone, Burr walked four Tech players, and Barrios took one for the team to score a runner.
Head coach Tim Tadlock said Burr competed well, but allowed some free base runners for Tech.
“It was a neat rally there at the end,” Tadlock said. “Their pitcher walked four in an inning, so he gave us some opportunity, and when you give good teams an extra opportunity they take advantage of it.”
Tadlock said Barrios getting hit by a pitch was huge for them, as well as LeJeune’s walk.
“You can’t really say anything about that inning that wasn’t huge,” he said. “It will help us going forward if we keep progressing and getting better.”
Tadlock also said he thought his pitchers performed well during the game.
“You’re as good as your pitching,” he said. “If those guys give you a chance and put you in a position to win, that’s what’s going to give you the chance to win games.”
TTU right fielder Devon Conley said it was good to get a win against another good team.
“We never give up, and we always seem to be able to come back,” Conley said. “When we’re down we always come back strong.”
Conley said he thinks his team did a really good job making Burr throw strikes in the ninth inning.
“Everything is working out, and it’s just us staying with what we’ve been taught throughout the fall and what we’ve been doing this whole season,” he said. “It’s working out pretty good.”
Tadlock said he thinks his team will keep progressing by swinging their bats and playing good defense.
“I think were a confident team. I think we’re a confident team when we’re 0-0, and I think we’re a confident team now,” he said. “I think we know if we do the small things we’re going to be in games, and were going to have a chance to be in a position to win games.”
Tadlock said he knows the game could have gone either way on Tuesday, but he still thinks his team played well.
“You might not have gotten the exact results you want,” he said, “but we did some things in the game tonight that will help us win baseball games.”
Barrios said Tadlock preaches defense, pitching, and base running to his team, and they followed that approach during the game.
“Stuff like that’s got to be there every day,” Barrios said, “and I expect myself to make those plays every time. It just helps the team.”
Barrios said he thinks one of the biggest factors in his team’s success is their willingness to play hard and support each other.
“We don’t give up, we just play hard, and we compete the whole game,” he said. “Every guy in there wants every other dude to do good, and we’re all rooting for each other. There are no selfish guys in our dugout.”