#30 Kansas (24-13) started the season with a no-hitter against Air Force. Unfortunately, Texas Tech (17-23) is not Air Force. Shaeffer Hall, the pitcher who threw the no-hitter did not last long in the opening game of the 3-game series. After beginning the game with a 4-0 advantage, the Red Raiders cut the lead to 1 run in only 3 batters. It was a common theme all night. Kansas would score, then Tech would answer back in the bottom half. After the final out was recorded, Texas Tech found themselves with 15 runs on a season-high 21 hits and another conference win against a ranked opponent.
Kansas set the tone for the game early on. With 2 outs in the 1st, Kansas followed a Brian Heere walk with 4 consecutive hits to jump out to a quick 4-0 lead. Tech would answer back. In his first at bat since re-injuring his hamstring against Texas A&M, Willie Rueda singled to lead off the Red Raiders. The Red Raiders would then connect on back-to-back home runs by Joey Kenworthy and Chris Richburg to cut the lead to 4-3.
Texas Tech starter Brian Cloud set down the Jayhawks in order in the 2nd, before Texas Tech continued their offensive pace. A Michael Reed lead-off double and Garrett Totten sacrifice would set up Willie Rueda’s RBI double. Taylor Ashby would bring Rueda home on an RBI single before Shaeffer Hall could retire his 3rd batter.
Kansas 3B Tony Thompson would not let the Jayhawks fall easily. With 1 out and 1 on in the 3rd, Thompson delivered a Brian Cloud fastball far beyond the right field wall to regain the lead at 6-5. Texas Tech would not be outdone. Scott LeJeune’s lead off double marked the 3rd consecutive lead-off hit for the Raiders. After 3 straight singles by Justin Berry, Michael Reed and Garrett Totten, Willie Rueda ended Shaeffer Hall’s night with his 3rd hit, a 2-run single to the left field corner. A Taylor Ashby SF gave Tech a 9-6 lead that they would not relinquish.
All was quiet until the top of the 6th inning. Kansas 1B Preston Land hit a line drive home run to left field to bring the Jayhawks back within a run. As was the theme on the night, Tech answered back in the bottom half. Jeremy Mayo started the inning with a single, and would end the inning on a strikeout. Between Mayo’s 2 at bats, Texas Tech collected 6 runs and 5 more hits, highlighted by Taylor Ashby’s 2-run single with 2 outs.
Kansas added 2 more runs on Raider reliever Robert Kilcrease in the 7th. After Louis Head struck out 2 batters, the ball was handed over to Tech closer Chad Bettis. Bettis’ threw 2 1/3 scoreless innings to end the game with under 30 pitches, leaving the door open for another appearance later on in the weekend.
Tony Thompson was the star of the game for the Jayhawks. Thompson started the game with a double and a 2-run home run, but ended with 2 strikeouts. On the night, he finished 2 for 5 and increased his Big 12-leading RBI count to 47. Willie Rueda took the star honors for the Red Raiders. Rueda was 4 of 6 with 3 runs and 4 RBIs after missing the last 7 games with a hamstring injury. Taylor Ashby also drove in 4 runs, while every single Red Raider hitter collected at least 1 hit. With 25 runs and 34 hits between the two clubs, it was not a night for either pitching staff.
The Red Raiders and Jayhawks continue their series on Saturday at 5:00 pm in Lubbock, Texas at Dan Law Field.