LUBBOCK, Texas – Texas Tech secured the series win against Sam Houston on Sunday at Rip Griffin Park, winning the game three rubber match 10-8. The Red Raiders slugged their way to the series victory against a hot Bearkats offense, scoring in double-digits both on Friday and Sunday to clinch the win.
Spearheading the production was Zac Vooletich who went 7-for-12 on the weekend, capping it with a 3-for-4 day on Sunday. The last of his season-high three RBI performance was manufactured on an infield single, advancing the Red Raiders' lead, to 10-8, giving reliever Brandon Beckel an insurance run to work with to finish the game in the ninth.
"He's really taking advantage of the opportunity he's got," said head coach Tim Tadlock on Vooletich's production. "When you've got the opportunity and you hit we try and find you a place to stand. He's the one clearly right now that you go 'he's swinging the bat really well right now, he's got to be in the lineup.'"
Vooletich owns a 14-game hitting streak after the weekend and has pushed his season batting average to .414 for the season. In his 16 starts in 2023, he owns a .438 average.
“I'm just grateful that things are falling in place for me right now," said Vooletich. "Because I know it isn’t always like that. I'm just fortunate to be in there to help my team out.”
Beckel tossed the final 2 2/3 innings, earning his fourth save this season. The junior entered a 9-7 contest in the top of the seventh, and inherited a runner on second base, needing two outs. The Bearkats struck for one of its two hits against the reliever during his outing on the first at-bat, narrowing the lead to 9-8, before he recorded the final two outs of the inning.
After a sluggish day at the plate as a team on Saturday, leading to the Red Raiders' 9-3 loss, Tech's offense came out on fire scoring more runs in the first inning than it did the previous day. The Red Raiders plated four runs in the first inning, the fourth time the Red Raiders scored four or more runs in an opening frame this season.
Tech needed that outburst as SHSU answered the next half-inning with three runs. The Bearkats scored again in the top of the third to tie the game, 4-4, but a pair of solo home run blasts from Kevin Bazzell and Ty Coleman put Tech back in front, 6-4, after three innings. Bazzell blasted his 452 feet on the first pitch over the left field fence. Coleman took a 3-2 offering 424 feet over the same fence.
The Red Raiders never trailed in Sunday's game, unlike in Friday's win or on Saturday. After Tech broke the 4-4 tie in the bottom of the third, they would lead the rest of the way despite the Bearkats' best efforts. SHSU scored 27 runs in the series, outscoring Tech by two, 27-25, in the three games.
While Taber Fast got the start on Sunday, Josh Sanders (2-0) was on the mound when the Red Raiders took the 6-4 lead in the third to earn the win. Ryan Free, Bo Blessie, and Derek Bridges followed Sanders before Beckel closed the game.
Coupled with the 12-10 opening night win against SHSU on Friday, the Red Raiders improve to 21-1 this season when scoring 10 or more in a game.
On Tuesday, Texas Tech will give it another try to finish a game versus Abilene Christian. The action begins at 4 p.m. as the teams will resume its April 25 contest that was suspended in the fourth inning in Abilene due to lightning. At the conclusion of the resumed game at 4 p.m., the two will play their originally scheduled game at either 6:30 p.m. or 30-45 minutes after the conclusion of game one, similar to a doubleheader. That contest is a make-up for weather that did not allow the two to play in Lubbock on April 4.
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