FRISCO, Texas – Texas Tech baseball held a 3-2 advantage after nine innings, but the Texas Rangers Futures Camp plated five runs in the 11th and 12th to claim a 7-3 decision on Sunday afternoon at Dr. Pepper Ballpark to split the two-game fall series.
The Red Raiders led through nine of both 12-inning contests. On Friday, Tech carried a 4-2 lead into the extra portion and closed out a 4-3 win. Using wooden bats for the weekend, Tech outscored the Rangers prospects, 9-5, over the first 22 innings of the exhibitions.
Tech used five familiar faces on the mound through the first nine innings before turning to some newcomers. Junior right-hander Bryce Bonnin started and struck out four, allowing a hit and a walk. Sophomores Mason Montgomery, Clayton Beeter and Micah Dallas split the next six innings before junior Ryan Sublette worked a scoreless ninth.
A total of 15 pitchers received work over the weekend, including nine on Sunday. Newcomers Derek Bridges and Riley Ramsey got work in the 10th inning before Connor Queen and Trey Garlett closed out the final two innings.
It was a big weekend for juniors Cole Stilwell and Braxton Fulford as both went deep. Stilwell had three of Texas Tech's five hits on Friday, including a dinger in the sixth that got the Red Raiders on the board. He also singled and scored in the eighth and added a base knock in the 12th.
Fulford, meanwhile, homered and tripled for Tech on Friday, driving in a pair of runs in the process. He started at catcher on Sunday and played through the sixth before turning it over to freshman Nate Rombach.
Former Red Raider Josh Jung started both games at third base for the Rangers. The No. 8 overall pick recorded a hit and a walk on Friday, but was held hitless on Sunday. Red Raider freshman Jace Jung made a terrific play in the hole at shortstop to take away a hit from his older brother in the first inning.
Tech got its first hit of the day in the fourth from freshman Dillon Carter, then put up its first run on Stilwell's home run in the sixth that tied the game at 1-1.
Trailing 2-1 in the seventh, Tech drew three free passes to load the bases with no outs. Rombach drew a one-out walk to tie the score at 2-2. The Rangers recorded the second out via strikeout, then called the inning because of pitch count.
Tech strung together some two-out magic to take the lead in the eighth. Stilwell started it with a single, junior Cody Masters then walked and sophomore Dru Baker found a hole to bring in Stilwell. With runners at the corners, the Rangers again called the inning due to pitch count.
Leading 3-2 in the bottom of the ninth, the Rangers put two on base for the top of the order. A sharp fly ball was sent to right center, but sophomore Max Marusak flew over from right field to make a diving grab that preserved the Red Raider lead.
Tech pitchers combined to strike out 5-of-7 Rangers at one point, spanning from the fifth to the seventh. Beeter was responsible for three of those during the fifth and sixth, then Dallas opened the seventh with consecutive strikeouts.
ABOUT THE RANGERS FUTURES CAMP
Tech is one of five collegiate programs to play against the Texas Futures Camp, which is in its first year and runs in conjunction with Texas' Arizona Instructional League program in Surprise, Ariz. The Rangers' squad consists of roughly 40 minor leaguers, including former Red Raider Josh Jung.
The Rangers Futures Campers entered the weekend after a 12-inning duel with TCU on Tuesday that ended in a 3-3 tie. They defeated Dallas Baptist, 12-2, and Grayson County, 8-1, last week.
The Red Raiders return to Lubbock to resume fall practices as well as the annual Red & Black Series. Date and times for the five-game set will be announced in the coming weeks.