LUBBOCK, Texas –Stephen F. Austin led by a run in the ninth inning with two outs when Texas Tech sophomore first baseman Eric Gutierrez scored the game-tying and winning runs with a two-run double to left field giving the 26th-ranked Red Raiders a 5-4 come-from-behind victory Thursday afternoon at Jaycees Field.
The victory gives Texas Tech its eighth consecutive victory, marking the program’s longest win streak since the 2002 Red Raiders won 16 straight games.
Tech started the ninth-inning rally with back-to-back singles by left fielder Zach Davis and second baseman Bryant Burleson – who made his 100th career start in the game – with one out. After an infield pop up gave the Lumberjacks two outs, Gutierrez provided the game-winning heroics with a double to left field scoring both runs and giving the Red Raiders a one-run lead, 5-4.
It marked Gutierrez’ third game-winning RBI of the season.
Senior left-handed pitcher Jonny Drozd threw a scoreless ninth inning to record his second save of the season. Drozd ended the game fielding a sharply hit grounder up the middle and flipping to first base to Gutierrez for the final out of the game to leave two SFA base runners on base.
Freshman left-handed pitcher Ty Damron (1-0) earned his first career win while ending an SFA rally in the eight with a bases-loaded strikeout against the only batter he faced in the contest.
Gutierrez went 2-for-5 with a pair of RBI and senior right fielder Adam Kirsch went 2-for-4 with a double to extend his hit streak to eight games. Five other Red Raiders had a base hit in the game, including senior catcher Mason Randolph who hit his first home run of the season (4th career) with a two-run shot in the third inning to tie the game.
SFA scored two runs in the first inning off Red Raider starting pitcher Johnathon Tripp with three hits and two walks. Tripp, who made his first start of the season, took a no decision throwing two innings allowing two runs on four hits with two walks allowed.
A total of five Red Raider relief pitchers combined to allow two runs in seven innings of work. Sophomore right-handed pitcher Justin Bethard (3.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 SO) made his season debut and junior right-handed pitcher Nick Pettus (2.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 SO, 1 BB) made his career debut as the pitcher that immediately followed in relief of Tripp.
With the score tied at two following Randolph’s homer in the third, Tech took a 3-2 lead on freshman designated hitter Matt Broadbent’s sacrifice fly in the sixth inning. SFA answered immediately scoring a run in the bottom of the sixth with its own sacrifice fly from Brett Thornell.
SFA took a 4-3 lead in the eighth an on RBI single from Thornell, giving Tech one last chance to keep its win streak alive.
It marked the 11th come-from-behind win of Tadlock’s two-year tenure with the Red Raiders. It marked Tech’s first win when trailing after eight innings since 2011.
The Red Raiders will now shift their focus on three upcoming games at the Houston College Classic at Minute Maid Park. Tech’s next game is set for Friday, Feb. 28 at 12:05 p.m. against the Houston Cougars (7-0) in the first game of this year’s Houston College Classic.