AUSTIN — Jacob Patterson found himself in a tough position Saturday afternoon against Big 12 rival Texas.
After Patterson relieved Steven Gingery, who went six innings strong, he struggled on the mound and put two runners in scoring position in a one-run game.
But Patterson, a left-handed pitcher out of Garland, collected himself and struck out the top of the order as No. 4 Texas Tech defeated No. 21 Texas 2-1 at UFCU Disch-Falk Field to secure a series win.
“We have a lot of confidence in all these guys, when we put them in games,” Texas Tech head coach Tim Tadlock said. “We were fortunate (Patterson) was the guy because he has so much perception (difficulty to read pitches). Might even had some help with the shadows. He executed some pitches. He’s a tough match-up for both (sides of the plate).”
With the victory, Texas Tech (16-4 overall, 2-0 conference) recorded its second Big 12 road win. That road conference win total is more than the football, volleyball, soccer and both basketball teams combined.
The Red Raiders’ baseball team has a chance for the series sweep with a 1 p.m. Sunday contest against the Longhorns (13-8, 0-2) scheduled to be shown on the Longhorn Network.
Gingery, who improved to 4-0 on the mound with the win, ran into trouble early on. But the southpaw calmed down in the third inning and turned in a stellar pitching performance that included five strikeouts, yielding two hits and allowing zero earned runs.
The defensive efforts from the Red Raiders certainly helped Gingery during his six innings of work, which was highlighted by an incredible catch from Ryan Long at the warning track and a heads-up defensive play from Michael Davis.
“I definitely didn’t have my best stuff today, didn’t really have much command of fastball,” Gingery said. “But I think I settled in and really helped my team win today. They played great defense behind me today, so I’m thankful for that. I think our defense is the best in the league, if not one of the best.”
Texas Tech’s Clay Koelzer got the start at catcher and performed well enough behind the plate to have Tadlock consider splitting catchers during the weekend series.
“Koelzer has been doing a good job catching. We’ll start splitting those guys and catching one I would think,” Tadlock said. “(Koelzer) is a competitor and did a great job behind the plate today.”
The Red Raiders got runners in scoring position early on, but Texas starting pitcher Morgan Cooper was able to put a zero on the board in the first inning.
Texas Tech was not so fortunate in the bottom half of the frame as two walks, coupled with an error by Gingery, allowed the Longhorns to take the 1-0 lead after one complete.
Gingery continued to show control issues as he hit to batters, but escaped without allowing a run in the second inning.
The Red Raiders took the lead in the bottom of the second thanks to an RBI single by Josh Jung and a clutch two-out single by Michael Berglund that gave Texas Tech a 2-1 advantage in the third.
“Basically, I was just looking for a good pitch to hit, and he threw a fastball pretty elevated and I was fortunate enough to get the hit and get the run in,” said Berglund, who was the designated hitter.
Gingery, a sophomore pitcher, returned to the mound rejuvenated with a lead and retired six straight batters to maintain the slim lead after four complete.
“Really thought we were fortunate to get through the first the way we were,” Tadlock said. “(Gingery) didn’t have great feel in the first, but after the first, obviously, he might’ve been a little bit effectively-wild today. But he’s always a competitor and stuck it in there. He did good.”
After the Longhorns first hit put a runner in scoring position, Michael Davis caught the Texas base runner heading home on a base hit and Clay Koelzer tagged him out in the rundown to end the fifth inning.
Patterson replaced Gingery in the seventh and ran into trouble after giving up a hit and a costly fielding error, but came back to retire the next three batters via strikeouts to preserve the lead at 2-1.
Patterson ran into trouble again in the eighth inning when the Longhorns put a runner on second with two outs, but Jose Quezada came on in relief and forced a groundout to end the inning.
Quezada had no problems in the ninth as he retired the final three batters to give Texas Tech the victory.