WACO, Texas - Texas Tech mounted a ferocious comeback in the top of the ninth but came up a run short as the ninth-ranked Baylor Bears held on for a 5-4 series-clinching win over the Red Raiders on Saturday evening at Baylor Ballpark.
The loss drops Texas Tech to 8-14 on the season and to 2-3 in Big 12 Conference play. Tech's 8-14 record is its worst in 22 games since 1974 when that club went 6-16 to start the year. Baylor improves to 14-4 overall and its Big 12 record of 3-2 is tied for second in the league standings.
The Red Raiders rallied for three runs in the top of the ninth including a two-RBI single from Scott LeJeune. The single was the fifth hit of the night for the freshman designated hitter as he established a new career high. Freshman Garrett Totten drove in the third and final run of the frame with a single through the right side that scored Chris Richburg. With the tying run on second, Baylor reliever Brooks Pinckard retired Taylor Ashby on a fly out to center to end the game.
The story of the night was lack of clutch hitting by the Red Raiders as Tech stranded 10 runners prior to the ninth inning and 12 overall. Trailing 5-1 in the eighth, the Red Raiders loaded the bases with nobody out but was unable to score a single run in the frame. Asbhy struckout looking for the first out of the inning and freshman catcher Kevin Whitehead grounded into a double play to end the threat.
The Red Raider offense came swinging right out of the gates as Tech tacked up three singles onto the Baylor scoreboard and a 1-0 lead in the top of the first. Junior left fielder Michael Reed got things rolling with a one-out single to right and later scored on an RBI single by freshman designated hitter Scott LeJeune.
Baylor's Dustin Dickerson didn't let the early Tech lead last past the first inning as he drove a two-out, solo home run over the left field wall to tie the game at 1-1. The home run was his second of the season.
Three hits and a double steal in the bottom of the second led to two Baylor runs and the Bears took a 3-1 lead. Designated hitter Aaron Miller extended his hit streak to 14 games with a leadoff single and was brought home on an RBI single by Greg Glime. Glime and Lucas Hileman then executed a double steal at the corners to score the final run of the inning.
Baylor scored single runs in the fifth and sixth innings to extend their lead to 5-1.
Logan Verrett picked up the win for Baylor in his first start of the season. Verrett logged seven innings allowing just one run on 10 hits and struck out seven to improve to 6-0. AJ Ramos (2-1) suffered his first defeat of the year as he gave up four runs on six hits and struck out five through five innings of work.
Texas Tech will try and salvage the final game of this three-game series on Sunday afternoon. First pitch is set for 1:30 p.m and will feature Texas Tech sophomore right-hander Chad Bettis against Baylor sophomore right-hander Craig Fritsch.