UC-Riverside reliever Ryan Platt uncorked a wild pitch with two outs in the bottom of the ninth that allowed Tanner Rindels to score from third and lifted Texas Tech to a 5-4 win over the Highlanders on Monday evening at Dan Law Field.
The win moved Tech to 12-10 on the season while UC-Riverside fell to 5-12.
For the fourth-straight game, Tech fell behind in the first inning as Highlander leadoff hitter Carl Uhl laced a 2-1 pitch over the left field wall and UC-Riverside had a 1-0 lead.
The lead wouldn't last long as the Tech offense went to work in the bottom half of the first and answered with a run of its own to tie the game at 1-1. Sophomore shortstop Chris Hall blasted a leadoff double down the left field line and then scored on a RBI groundout by first baseman Jason Seefeld.
UC-Riverside took another swing at the Red Raiders in the top of the second by plating a pair of runs to take a 3-1 advantage. Shortstop Bryan Horst delivered in the clutch for the Highlanders by driving a two-RBI single up the middle that scored runners at second and third.
The game stayed at 3-2 until junior right fielder Roger Kieschnick belted a two-run home run in the bottom of the fourth that tied the game at 3. Seefeld led off the inning and reached on a two-base throwing error by UCR catcher Jordan Opdyke to set up the home run by Kieschnick.
Sophomore third baseman Joey Kenworthy gave Tech its first lead of the game in the bottom of the fifth when he blooped an RBI single between the mound and second base. Kenworthy's single drove in Tanner Rindels who reached on walk, stole second and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Willie Rueda.
Riverside battled back in the top of the eighth inning and tied the game off Tech reliever James Leverton. Right fielder Joey Gonzalez led off the frame with a double down the left field line and then scored on a RBI groundout by Aaron Wible.
Pinch hitter Taylor Ashby got the Tech rally going in the bottom of the ninth as he came off the bench and delivered a one-out single through the left side. UCR reliever Ryan Platt then issued a walk to Rindels that pushed Ashby into scoring position at second. After a passed ball by Opdyke, Tech seemed to be in good shape with runners at second and third and just one out. Willie Rueda then hit a slow grounder down the first base line and Highlander first baseman made a quick play and throw to home that gunned down Ashby who was trying to score from third. Two pitches later, Platt uncorked a wild pitch that ended the game as Rindels scored easily from third to lift Tech to the 5-4 win.
Reliever Zach Stewart (1-0) picked up his first win of the season after pitching a perfect ninth inning while Platt (0-1) was charged with the loss.
Texas Tech will look to sweep this two-game series tomorrow afternoon as the two teams play the finale at Dan Law Field. First pitch is set for 2 p.m.
R H E
UC-Riverside 120 000 010 - 4 6 2
Texas Tech 100 210 001 - 5 7 2
WP = Stewart (1-0)
LP = Platt (0-1)
SV = None