No. 8 Tech Captures Big 12 Title With Series Win Over TCU
No. 8 Texas Tech secured its third Big 12 Conference Championship in four years after earning an 8-4 win over TCU in the regular-season finale with senior Cameron Warren collecting three hits, Braxton Fulford driving in four runs and the pitching staff combining for 16 strikeouts on Saturday at Rip Griffin Park.
The Red Raiders (36-15, 16-8) will be the No. 1 seed in next week's Big 12 Conference Tournament in Oklahoma City and have now won 13 of their last 15 games going into the postseason. Tech finishes the regular season with a 25-6 record at home after taking two of three from the Horned Frogs (29-24, 11-13).
Tech has now taken three of the last four regular-season series against TCU on its way to the seventh conference title in program history. The Red Raiders now have five Big 12 titles with four regular-season crowns, which is the second most among active Big 12 schools.
Warren finished his night going 3-for-5 with a pair of singles and an eighth-inning triple on senior night. A senior from Midwest City, Oklahoma, Warren now has 67 hits on the season and is second on the team with 51 runs scored after scoring three of Tech's eight runs on Saturday night.
Fulford produced a career-high four RBI on a 2-for-4 performance, including a two-run single to right field in to give the Red Raiders a 2-0 lead in the second inning. TCU would tie the game with two runs in the third before the Lubbock native added two more RBI with a single to left field to score Kurt Wilson and Warren for a 4-2 lead. The lead grew to 5-2 later in the frame on a Dylan Neuse single through the middle of the infield that scored Parker Kelly.
Sophomore starter Bryce Bonnin (5-1) earned the win for the Red Raiders after striking out seven and scattering four hits in five innings of work. Bonnin allowed two earned runs in the game and now has 40 strikeouts in 42.2 innings of work this season.
Junior reliever Taylor Floyd would add seven more strikeouts for the Red Raiders in three innings of relief where he held the Horned Frogs to only one hit. Junior lefty Dave Haveman finished off the night by getting two strikeouts to start the ninth inning before a fly out to center fielder Dylan Neuse ended the game and secured the conference championship.
Tech would take a 6-2 lead in the fifth on a Cole Stillwell double down the left field line to score Josh Jung and was up 7-3 in the seventh when Neuse took a bases-loaded walk. The Red Raiders scored their final run of the game in the eighth when Warren tripled and scored on a Wilson groundout.
Neuse finished the game 2-for-4 with two RBI, while leadoff hitter Gabe Holt and Wilson each had singles for the Red Raiders, who compiled an 11-7 hit advantage over the Horned Frogs in the series finale.
With 16 strikeouts on Saturday, Tech pitchers racked up 45 strikeouts in the series with 21 in Thursday's 14-inning affair on eight in Friday's 7-2 victory. The Red Raiders finished with 232 strikeouts of opposing hitters during Big 12 play, leading the conference in both strikeouts and team ERA at 3.45.
Texas Tech coach Tim Tadlock secured his 275th win as the program's head coach. In seven seasons, he has led the Red Raider Baseball program to three Big 12 titles along with its first three trips to the College World Series.
Up next, the Red Raiders will travel to Oklahoma City for the Phillips 66 Big 12 tournament as the No. 1 seed, facing either Kansas or Kansas State in game one on Wednesday, May 22. A full bracket will be released by the conference office on Sunday following the conclusion of the Kansas-Kansas State series.