COLUMBIA, Mo. - Texas Tech was given several opportunities, including a 5-0 early lead, but squandered them away as Missouri ran past the Red Raiders 18-7 in the opening game of this three-game Big 12 series at Taylor Stadium.
The loss drops Texas Tech to 20-25 overall and to 9-10 in Big 12 Conference play. Missouri improves to 22-21 and is now tied with the Red Raiders in the Big 12 standings with a 9-10 mark.
Texas Tech came out swinging in the first inning and mounted a huge two-out rally to stake an early 5-0 lead. After back-to-back strikeouts by Willie Rueda and Michael Reed, Joey Kenworthy kept Tech alive with a base hit to right-center. Following a walk by Chris Richburg in the next at-bat, freshman designated hitter Scott LeJeune drove in the first run of the game with an RBI single to left that scored Kenworthy. Junior center fielder Taylor Ashby then made it a two-run game as he dropped an RBI single into left that scored Richburg from second. Tech then took a five-run lead thanks to a three-run home run by freshman third baseman Justin Berry. Berry's three-run blast bounced in the Missouri bullpen in left field and was his third home run of the year.
Missouri got a pair of doubles in the bottom of the first off of Tech starter Brian Cloud to cut the Tech lead to 5-1. Austin Holt led off the Tiger half of the inning with a double down the right field line and then scored on an RBI double to the gap in left-center by Aaron Senne.
Tech's four-run lead evaporated in the bottom of the third as the Tigers rocked Cloud for four runs on three hits, a walk and a hit-batter. Cloud was replaced by Kilcrease with two outs in the inning and left the game having allowed five hits, including four doubles. Kyle Mach tied the game for the Tigers with a two-out RBI single to right-center that scored Trevor Coleman.
Missouri took its first lead (6-5) of the night in the bottom of the fifth thanks to a leadoff home run by Aaron Senne. The home run was his first of the season and cleared the fence in left-center field.
The Tigers extended their lead in the sixth on a bases-loaded, two-RBI single by Greg Folgia. Folgia's two-run single gave him his third and fourth RBIs of the night (finished with five) and gave Missouri an 8-5 lead.
Heading into the seventh, Kyle Gibson had retired 12-straight Tech hitters since the third inning but that came to a halt when Jeremy Mayo belted a solo home run over the wall in left-center field. Rueda followed Mayo's home run with a double to left and then scored when Joey Kenworthy drove an RBI single into left after working the count full. Kenworthy's single pulled Tech back to within one run at 8-7.
The Red Raiders imploded in the bottom half of the seventh as the Tigers started the inning with a single, double and a triple and then plated a pair of runs on two wild pitches by Tech reliever Colt Farrar. Senne gave Missouri a 13-7 lead with an RBI double down the right field line and later scored on a double by Folgia. In all, the Tigers plated 10 runs in the frame to take a commanding 18-7 lead.
Robbie Kilcrease was charged with the loss for Tech as he allowed five runs on six hits and three walks over 3 1/3 innings of relief. Gibson earned the win for Missouri and improved to 7-3 despite matching his season-high of seven runs allowed.
Texas Tech will try and regroup on Saturday afternoon with the series on the line as the Red Raiders take on Missouri at 2 p.m.