Blair Leads Tech To 17-7 Route Of Northern Illinois
Feb. 12, 2005
LUBBOCK, Texas - Senior shortstop Cameron Blair had a career-high five hits and logged four RBI to lead Texas Tech to a 17-7 win over Northern Illinois on Saturday afternoon at Dan Law Field.
The win improves Texas Tech to 3-0 on the season while Northern Illinois fell to 0-2.
Northern Illinois raced out to a 4-0 lead in the top of the first inning as the Husky bats were relentless against Tech starter Dustin Richardson. Richardson gave up four earned runs on five hits including a two-run homer by Mike Santoro and was chased away before recording a single out.
Sophomore Randy Gattis replaced Richardson in the first inning and settled Tech down as he held the Huskies scoreless over the next four innings. Gattis was making his first appearance since a season-ending blood clot ended his 2004 season at the Minute Maid Classic in Houston. Gattis earned the win in the season opener last year against Campbell and then suffered a blood clot just prior to his start against Houston at Minute Maid Park. He suffered the same blood clot in 2003 (true-freshman season) but an off-season surgery this past summer has made his pitching future extremely optimistic. Gattis pitched six innings of relief allowing one run on four hits and struckout a career-high five batters to move to 1-0 on the season.
Down 4-0 in the bottom of the fourth, the Red Raider offense went to work when third baseman Joey Callender picked up a two-out single to give Tech runners at first and second. Freshman designated hitter Josh Wilson reached earlier in the inning on a throwing error by Northern Illinois shortstop Greg Larsen. Senior second baseman Carey Avants walked to load the bases and center fielder Cody Fuller plated the first two runs of the game with a two-RBI single to center. Tech quickly reloaded the bases and Cameron Blair launched his fourth career grand slam to give the Red Raiders a 6-4 lead. The home run was the first of the season for the Preseason All-American from Dallas.
Texas Tech scored eight runs in the next two innings including seven in the sixth to take a 14-5 lead. Freshman first baseman Chris Richburg and Callender each hit two-RBI singles in the sixth while the offense cranked out six total hits in the frame.
Redshirt freshman David Steffey made the most of his one at-bat when he entered the game in the eighth as the designated hitter. Steffey pounded a two-run homer over the left field fence to give Tech the 17-5 lead.
Brandon Hodge (0-1) suffered the loss for Northern Illinois as he gave up seven runs on six hits in 4 1/3 innings of work. Third baseman Jake Blair led the offense with a 2-for-4 day at the plate along with two RBI.
Texas Tech will go for the three-game sweep on Sunday afternoon as the two teams are schedule for a 1 p.m. series finale.
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