LUBBOCK, Texas – The No. 9 Texas Tech baseball team clinched the program’s third trip to the College World Series during the last five seasons on the heels of a 6-2 victory over Duke at Dan Law Field at Rip Griffin Park in Monday’s winner-take-all game three of the NCAA Lubbock Super Regional.
The Red Raiders (44-18) sprinkled in a balanced offensive attack that featured seven extra base hits sparked by a trio of home runs. Freshmen Gabe Holt, sophomore Brian Klein and sophomore Josh Jung, the top three hitters in the Texas Tech lineup, each notched multi-hit performances. The trio was a combined 8-for-14 with a pair of home runs and four RBI, led by Jung’s four hits.
Ahead 4-2 in the bottom of the eighth inning, the Red Raiders tacked on a pair of insurance runs. Junior Cameron Warren belted a leadoff double into the left centerfield gap and advanced to third base on a textbook sacrifice bunt courtesy of junior Cody Farhat.
Two batters later, Holt delivered a clutch two-out single through the right side to score Warren and make it 5-2. Then, Jung cranked a RBI single of his own to right field to extend the advantage to 6-2.
The Blue Devils (45-18) put the opening two batters on-board to begin the ninth inning. However, the Red Raiders turned to senior southpaw Dylan Dusek to record the final three outs. He induced a trio of ground outs, the first getting Duke’s lead runner in a rundown between third base and home plate. The all-important 27th out came on a comebacker to Dusek to send the 4,474 fans into Rip Griffin Park into a frenzy.
Junior right-handed pitcher Davis Martin went 3.0 innings in his 16th start of the year on Monday afternoon. He was charged with just one run on three hits and two walks, while striking out four. He stranded six Blue Devils on the base paths over the first third of the contest.
He was relieved by fellow junior RHP Ty Harpenau, who worked 3.0 innings, giving up a run on four hits and a walk, punching out three. The Arkansas native improved to 7-2 with the victory. Sophomore RHP John McMillon tossed 2.0 big innings for Tech, allowing two hits & two walks, while striking out two in game.
For the first time in the series, the Red Raiders struck first, doing so with their first hit of the game in the bottom of the third. Holt cranked a 3-1 pitch over the right field wall with one out in the frame for his sixth homer of the season and Tech’s 80th of the year for a 1-0 lead.
However, Duke tied the game in its next trip to the plate in the top of the fourth inning. Crabtree began the frame with a double, then got over to third after a groundout to put two away in the frame. An infield single from Herron would bring him home and even the score at one.
It didn’t stay tied for long, as senior Michael Davis uncorked a two-run homer in between the videoboard & Coca-Cola sign in right-center field for a 3-1 lead. His 12th dinger of the season brought in senior Zach Rheams, who began the frame with a book-rule double that bounced over the right field wall.
In the sixth inning, Duke made it a 3-2 game as a two-out double from Cheek extended the inning, then a triple from Herron to right field brought the Blue Devils within one. Sophomore Brian Klein wiped it out in the seventh with a solo homer of his own to right field, pushing the lead back to two at 4-2.
The insurance runs in the eighth inning were all Tech needed to punch the ticket back to Omaha. The Red Raiders will face the winner of Auburn and Florida at a time and date to be determined at TD Ameritrade Park.