Paiz, Pitching by Committee Guides Texas Tech Over UNLV
March 1, 2011
LUBBOCK, Texas - Freshman David Paiz pitched five innings and recorded two RBI at the plate and seven Red Raider relievers led the way in Texas Tech's 9-4 midweek victory over UNLV on Tuesday evening at Dan Law Field.
The win marked Texas Tech's third win in a row and lifts the Red Raiders to 8-1 overall on the season. It is the ninth time in school history Tech has started 8-1 and the first time since 2005. UNLV (7-2) drops its first road game of the season.
Paiz threw 65 pitches in his first career start for Tech, where he allowed three runs on five hits but struck out two and had only two fly-ball outs while getting numerous Rebel batters to groundout. The win marked Paiz' second of the season, as he picked up a win in his first collegiate appearance in relief against Northwestern (2/20).
Paiz then handed off to a bullpen that featured seven pitchers in the game's final four innings.
Texas Tech jumped on starting UNLV pitcher Brandon Rainford for a run in the first inning and two in the second inning to grab a 3-2 lead. Senior Nick Popescu drove in Jamodrick McGruder for the game's opening run and then McGruder and freshman Andre Wheeler drove in runs in the second inning.
McGruder was the main offensive catalyst for Tech going 1-for-3 with a walk, hit-by-pitch and three runs scored with three stolen bases. Popescu finished the game 2-for-4 with two RBI and Wheeler - in his first career start in right field - went 2-for-4 with a run scored and RBI.
UNLV reliever Max Javate was saddled with the loss pitching 3.0 innings allowing four runs on three hits with one strikeout and one walk allowed.
The Tech bullpen had four right-handed pitchers and three left-handed relievers. Only Aaron Corwin (sixth inning) and John Neely (ninth inning) allowed a base hit as five of Tech's seven relievers combined pitched to 10 consecutive Rebels without allowing a base hit. In fact, Neely retired the first four batters he faced before giving up a single up the middle just before ending the game with a ground out to Popescu at second base.
After the Rebels tied the game at 3-3 in the fifth inning, Texas Tech answered immediately with four runs in the bottom half of the inning. Shortstop Kelby Tomlinson led off the frame with a walk and then three consecutive singles by Barrett Barnes, Popescu and Stephen Hagen started the rally. After Kevin Whitehead laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance the runners, Paiz drove in the fourth and final run of the inning to give Tech a 7-3 lead.
These two teams will be back at it Wednesday afternoon to complete the two-game midweek series with a 1 p.m. first-pitch at Dan Law Field.