By Ty Parker
MANHATTAN, Kan. — The No. 10 Texas Tech baseball team clinched its first Big 12 series win of the season, sweeping a doubleheader at Kansas State by scores of 11-4 and 4-3 on a cold and windy Saturday at Tointon Family Stadium in Manhattan, Kan.
After rainy weather forced the Red Raiders (18-6. 3-2) and Wildcats (11-16, 0-5) to reschedule Friday’s opener into a doubleheader Saturday, Tech outmuscled KSU on its way to a third-straight series win in Manhattan and sixth straight series win versus KSU overall.
The Red Raiders have now won seven in a row over the Wildcats and 13 of their last 14. Head coach Tim Tadlock improves to 16-6 against K-State while Tech now sits at an even 17-17 all-time in games played in Manhattan.
Tech pounded out 23 hits on the day, including 14 in the series opener. Trailing 2-0 through four, the red and black scored in each of the final five innings of the contest with three in the seventh to break a 3-3 tie and four in the eighth for a 10-3 cushion.
In game two, the Red Raiders once again battled out of an early hole with two runs in the third and two more in the fifth to go up 4-3. That’s where the margin would stay as junior left-hander Dane Haveman delivered a career-high three scoreless innings out of the bullpen and redshirt freshman closer Clayton Beeter struck out three in the ninth for his fifth save of the season.
Freshman right-hander Micah Dallas (3-0) got his second start of the season and gave up three runs on six hits over 6.0 frames for his third win of the season. In the nightcap, junior right-hander Caleb Kilian (3-2) yielded three runs on five hits over 5.0 innings to pick up his third straight win.
Junior Brian Klein went 4-for-7 on the day with two doubles and three of his team-high five RBI coming in the nightcap. Freshman designated hitter Cole Stilwell also compiled four hits on the day, while sophomore right fielder Gabe Holt and senior first baseman Cameron Warren also posted three hits each, respectively.
Holt had a three-hit game in the opener and was one of four Red Raiders with multi-RBI efforts. Junior Josh Jung drove in the tying run in the sixth with an RBI single to left and added an RBI in the eighth. Tech took a 3-2 lead in the sixth on an RBI single from freshman outfielder Max Marusak.
Holt broke a 3-3 tie in the seventh and gave Tech the Red Raiders the lead for good with an RBI single to center in the seventh. Stilwell and Klein pushed across two more in the frame with base knocks.
Tech poured it on in the eighth as three of the first four batters got hits, loading the bases where the Red Raiders displayed their patience en route to three RBI base on balls. Sophomore left fielder Cody Masters, who brought in Tech’s first run of the game on a sac bunt in the fifth, capped off a four-run eighth with an infield single that made it 10-3.
Stilwell and Klein provided the majority of the offense for Tech in the nightcap as the duo combined to go 6-for-8 with three doubles, three RBI and three runs scored. Trailing 3-0 in the third, Klein followed a Stilwell hit and a Jung walk with a two-run double to left to make it 3-2.
Tech took the lead with two runs in the fifth with Stilwell and Klein doing damage once again. Stilwell got the rally started with a one-out double and scored on a Klein single to left. Klein would score the go-ahead run on a single up the middle from Warren.
The Tech bullpen took it from there. Haveman scattered three hits in three innings of work while striking out four to match his career high. Beeter came on to strike out the side in the ninth for his fifth save in his eighth-career appearance.
The Red Raiders and Wildcats will play the series finale at 1 p.m. on Sunday at Tointon Family Stadium. The game can be seen on ESPN3 and heard on the Texas Tech Sports Network. Following the series, Tech will travel to Albuquerque, N.M., for a two-game series Tuesday and Wednesday.