LUBBOCK, Texas – Junior Stephen Hagen hit a pinch hit RBI single with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning to lift Texas Tech to 16-15 series-clinching win over Missouri on Sunday afternoon in front of 3,485 fans at Dan Law Field.
The win gives Texas Tech (26-22) its fifth consecutive Big 12 series win, which is a first for the program since the 1997 season when Tech won the regular-season championship. Tech now stands at 12-9 in Big 12 play and is just percentage points behind second place Kansas State. The Wildcats (10-7 in Big 12 play) have the advantage in the standings due to the fact they have played one less game in conference play as their series opener last week at Missouri was cancelled due to weather.
With Jamodrick McGruder at second and Barrett Barnes at first with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Tech head coach Dan Spencer was forced to pinch hit for relief pitcher Brett Bruening who entered the game with two outs in the top of the ninth. Spencer elected to go with Hagen and the decision paid off as he laced a fastball up the middle on a full count that allowed Barnes to score the game winning run from second.
A combined 31 runs were scored on the afternoon and the Red Raiders pounded out a season-high six home runs, including two, three-run blasts from senior left fielder Michael Reed. Reed led all Tech hitters on the afternoon with six RBIs and was 3-for-6 at the dish with three runs scored.
Junior catcher Jeremy Mayo, who hadn't pitched all season long, got the call to the bump in the top of the eighth with a Missouri runner at first base. Mayo got a ground ball double play and a fly ball to center to get the Red Raiders out of the eighth inning unscathed.
In the ninth, Tech held a 15-14 lead and Mayo had retired the first two batters and was down to his last strike on Missouri designated hitter Eric Garcia, when the Tigers mounted a rally. Garcia laced a fastball up the middle on a 2-2 count and Jonah Schmidt followed with an RBI double to tie the game at 15-15. Mayo ended up walking Dane Opel and hitting Andrew Thigpen to load the bases which forced Spencer into another decision. Tech went to its bullpen for junior right-hander Brett Bruening and he did his job by getting Tech out of the jam with a strikeout of Ryan Ampleman.
Bruening picked up the win in relief for the Red Raiders and improved to 3-4 while Jeff Emens suffered the loss for Missouri and felt to 3-4.
Texas Tech will take an 11-day break from the diamond as the university begins the final exam period on Thursday. Tech returns to action on Friday, May 14 when the Red Raiders open up a three-game series against the Baylor Bears at Dan Law Field. The Baylor series will also conclude the home portion of the 2010 regular-season schedule.