LUBBOCK, Texas - On a night that celebrated the legacy of former head coach Larry Hays and his impact on baseball in the Lubbock community, it was fitting that tonight's game between Texas Tech and LCU came down to the wire.
It couldn't have been scripted any better.
Senior reliever Brian Cloud struck out LCU center fielder Jamie Armendariz in the top of the ninth with the tying run 90 feet away to give the Red Raiders a 4-3 win over the Chaps in front of a season-high crowd of 4,075 on Monday evening at Dan Law Field.
The win gives Texas Tech a two-game win streak as the Red Raiders stand at 10-14 overall while No. 5 LCU (NAIA rankings) falls to 26-4.
The two teams battled through a scoreless draw through the first 3 ½ innings before the Red Raiders struck for a run in the bottom of the fourth inning. Senior first baseman Chris Richburg led off the inning with a single to center and one out later he scored on an RBI single by junior center fielder Taylor Ashby.
Tech kept its 1-0 lead until a fielding error in the top of the sixth led to a tie game. A one-out routine fly ball to right by Will Stramp in the top of the sixth, instead, led to a three-base error after botched attempt by freshman Garrett Totten. Stramp ended up scoring on an RBI single by Ross Blondin that knotted things up at 1-1.
The Tech offense pounded out three runs in the bottom of the seventh to take a 4-1 lead. Ashby plated what turned out to be the game-winning run when he hit a sacrifice fly to left that scored Joey Kenworthy. Kenworthy reached on one of two LCU fielding errors in the inning.
LCU put up single runs in the eighth and ninth but stranded the tying run at third. Former Red Raider Tanner Rindels led off the ninth inning with a solo home run, his sixth of the season.
Junior right-hander Nate Karns (1-2) picked up his first win of the year as he held LCU to two runs (one earned) on five hits and struck out nine over seven innings of work. Jakob Cunningham (4-1) took the loss for Chaps as he gave up two runs on seven hits walked four over six innings. Brian Cloud earned his first save of the season by logging the final two frames allowing one run on four hits.