Red Raiders Score Six In The Ninth, Stun No. 2 Missouri 15-11
March 30, 2008
LUBBOCK, Texas - Doug Thennis' walk-off grand slam capped a six-run bottom of the ninth that gave the Texas Tech Red Raiders a dramatic 15-11 series-clinching win over the second-ranked Missouri Tigers in front of a crowd of 2,643 at Dan Law Field on Sunday afternoon.
The win moves Texas Tech's overall record to 14-12 and the Red Raiders now stand at 4-5 in Big 12 play, which puts them in a tie for fifth-place with Oklahoma State. Missouri drops to 20-4 and 4-2 in Big 12 play and has now lost consecutive games for the first time this season.
The Red Raider offense exploded in the final three innings of the game as Tech put up 11 runs over three innings on nine hits. Three Red Raiders ended the afternoon with multiple-RBI games with Doug Thennis leading the way with a career-high six.
Trailing 11-9 in the bottom of the ninth, the Red Raiders began another ferocious rally as Missouri freshman reliever Tyler Clark walked left fielder Taylor Ashby and then gave up a single to shortstop Chris Hall. Junior second baseman Willie Rueda then tied up the game with a two-RBI triple to the gap in left-center field. The triple marked his first of the season and gave him four RBIs on the afternoon. Missouri Head Coach Tim Jamieson elected to load the bases to set up a possible double play but Thennis put a dramatic end to the game with a towering grand slam home run over the left field wall that gave the Red Raiders a 15-11 win.
The Red Raiders, who trailed all the way until the seventh inning, erased Missouri's 7-4 lead in the bottom half of the seventh with a three-run outburst that was capped by designated hitter James Leverton's game-tying two RBI single up the middle. Junior right fielder Roger Kieschnick was hit by a pitch with one out in the inning and was moved over to third thanks to a double by freshman catcher Monk Kreder. Thennis drove Kieschnick home with a single to center and then moved over to second on the throw by Tiger center fielder Ryan Lollis. Leverton then laced a hard hit two-RBI single up the middle that knotted the game for the first time at 7-7.
Missouri answered Texas Tech's three-run rally in the top of the eighth as the Tigers took advantage of an unusually shaky outing by Tech closer Zach Stewart. Missouri put up four runs in the inning, three coming with two outs, and collected six hits off the junior right-hander who doubled his season total of runs in that one inning. The four-run inning gave Missouri an 11-7 lead.
Texas Tech scratched away at the Missouri lead in the bottom half of the eighth as the Red Raiders closed the gap to 11-9 thanks to an RBI double by sophomore third baseman Joey Kenworthy and an RBI single by Kieschnick. Tech had the bases loaded with just one out in the inning but Clark came in out of the Tiger bullpen and ended the threat by striking out Tanner Rindels and Leverton.
Missouri jumped out to an early 4-0 lead in the top of the first inning in what turned out to be a rough outing by freshman RHP Chad Bettis. Bettis gave up four runs in the first inning in his second-straight outing and ended the afternoon having given up a season-high seven runs (six earned) on nine hits and walked three over 4 1/3 innings.
Zach Stewart picked up the win in relief for Texas Tech as he rebounded from Missouri's rally in the eighth and pitched a perfect ninth to improve to 2-0 on the year. Tyler Clark fell to 1-1 after giving up six runs on three hits and three walks over one inning.
Texas Tech returns to action on Tuesday evening as the Red Raiders will play host to the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Islanders in a two-game midweek series. First pitch is set for 6:05 p.m. on Tuesday and 3 p.m. on Wednesday.
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