LUBBOCK, Texas – No. 25 Baylor plated four runs in the first and held on for an 8-4 victory Saturday afternoon to split its series with No. 24 Texas Tech at Rocky Johnson Field.
The loss forces Tech (36-13; 9-8) to try to win its third series of the year in Sunday's rubber match as the Red Raiders took a 3-1 victory over Baylor (28-15; 5-9) Friday evening.
"We didn't get a lot of offense going today because we got behind and had to play station-to-station," Tech head coach Shanon Hays said. "We're a lot like Baylor in that we like to get runners on and put them in motion and put pressure on the defense. We weren't really able to do that today unfortunately."
Baylor (28-15; 5-9) got to Tech starter Brittany Talley early as the Bears used four-straight two-out singles to put Tech in the early hole. It marked the most runs allowed in the opening frame for Tech since giving up six to Oklahoma on April 2 last year.
With a comfortable lead in hand, Courtney Repka (14-7) continued to frustrate the Tech bats as the right-hander worked out of an early jam in the first to limit the Red Raiders to just a hit over the first four innings.
Repka, who held Tech to just one hit over six innings of relief in the series opener, began the game by walking both Emily Bledsoe and Logan Hall before getting out of trouble with back-to-back strikeouts of Mikey Kenney and Sandy James and then a line-out to short from Adriana Perez.
The Red Raiders threatened again in the third thanks to a one-out double from Hall, her Big 12-leading 14th of the season. Kenney reached on an error at third to load the bases, only for Repka to come back with consecutive strikeouts once again to get out of trouble.
Baylor increased its lead to seven over the middle innings as Kaitlyn Thumann connected on a solo home run in the third and Sarah Crockett drove a pinch-hit two-run single to left in the fifth.
Tech was finally able to make Repka pay for her four walks in the game as she issued two in the fifth along with a single up the middle by Kenney to load the bases for Perez. After striking out her previous at-bat, Perez lifted the first pitch she saw over the fence in center for her first career grand slam.
The home run was Perez' 15th of the year, one shy of James' single-season record from 2011, and the 59th of the season for the Red Raiders, snapping last year's school record total in the process.
The Red Raiders opened the sixth and seventh innings with leadoff singles but could still not mount a late rally. Baylor added an insurance run in the seventh with a solo home run from Jordan Strickland.
Talley (10-4) took the loss for Tech as the sophomore game up five runs off eight hits in four innings of work. Kermitria Ward and Ashley Brokeshoulder both came on in relief with Ward giving up the final three runs off seven hits before Brokeshoulder entered to record the final two outs in the seventh.
Baylor's 15 hits in the game marked the most given up by the Tech pitching staff this season and the most since Texas had 18 in back-to-back games on April 22-23 last year.
The two teams conclude the series with Sunday's rubber match that is scheduled for a 12 p.m. first pitch at Rocky Johnson Field.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
#25 Baylor 4 0 1 0 2 0 1 8 15 1
#24 Texas Tech 0 0 0 0 4 0 0 4 5 0
WP – Repka (14-7) LP - Talley (10-4) SV – None