AUSTIN — The Texas Tech baseball team needed a strong effort from its pitching staff and got exactly that in its Big 12 opener against Texas.
Davis Martin struck out six in 6 1/3 innings, while Parker Mushinski and John McMillon shut the door, as the Red Raiders earned a 2-1 road win against the Longhorns on Friday night at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.
Martin (3-1) allowed only a solo home run and pitched into the seventh inning. Texas Tech (15-4 overall, 1-0) is slated to play Texas again at 4 p.m. Saturday on Longhorn Network.
“We just went in and wanted to control our pitches,” Martin said. “Worked both sides of the plate, get our off-speed working, change-up especially, with a lot of lefties in the line-up. Trust the defense, executed pitches and got the team win.”
Texas starter Nolan Kingham (2-2) also had strong outing, pitching seven innings but gave up two runs — more than he’d yielded all season. The Longhorns (13-7, 0-1) had a six-game winning streak snapped.
Michael Davis and Michael Berglund provided the two biggest hits for the Red Raiders in the form of a solo home run and a double that skirted the foul line, which plated the Red Raiders’ two runs.
“We had our hands full with Kingham,” Tech coach Tim Tadlock said. “He really was sticking it in there pretty good. Glad we got some good swings on him. We hit into three double plays, and they pitched out of some jams. We’ll work on some things. We’re glad Berglund put a good swing on the ball. He put a couple of good ones on him. And of course, Michael’s home run was big.”
Despite the successful night, double plays were a problem throughout the night as Texas Tech hit into three to bring their season total to 22.
The Red Raiders also allowed runners in scoring position in the final two innings. But clutch pitching from Mushinski and McMillon, who earned his third save, kept the Longhorns off the board.
Early on, the game looked like it would be a pitchers’ duel with Martin and Kingham both on their A-games.
Davis ended that quickly with a solo shot to deep left center field that gave the Red Raiders a 1-0 advantage in the third inning. However, Tate Shaw had a towering home run of his own in the bottom of the frame to tie the game 1-1.
Texas threatened to score in the bottom of the fifth, after two walks and a passed ball, but Martin stranded the two runners to keep it 1-1.
David Hamilton singled leading off the Longhorns’ sixth, but he was caught stealing by Berglund, and Martin struck out the final two batters.
Tech got the go-ahead run in the seventh. Hunter Hargrove was hit by a pitch leading off, and Berglund, doubled down the right-field line to give Texas Tech the 2-1 lead.
Martin was replaced by Mushinski after he allowed a one-out walk. Mushinski induced a fly ball and struck out a batter to end the threat.
“Vintage (Martin),” Tadlock said. “Went out and pitched very well, pitched ahead in the count, made pitches when he needed to. Pitched out of some jams.”
The Red Raiders ran into trouble in the eighth with a runner reaching second base with one out. But Mushinski struck out Hamilton and got a grounder from Kacy Clemens to end the threat.
Texas threatened again in the bottom of the ninth, when a runner reached third on a walk, a stolen base and an errant throw.
McMillon came in for Mushinski and struck out pinch hitter Michael McCann looking to end it.
“We got really good stuff in the back end of the game,” Tadlock said. “It’s just a matter of executing pitches and got a lot of trust and faith in those guys. We’re fortunate to have those types of arms at the back end of the game.”