OKLAHOMA CITY – No. 5 Texas Tech baseball dropped a 7-2 decision to No. 15 TCU and then followed with a 7-2 loss to Kansas State to take its exit at the 2021 Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship in Oklahoma City.
The Red Raiders (36-15) and Horned Frogs (38-16) returned to the diamond for a 9 a.m. start Friday after their second-round matchup was postponed on Thursday evening. The Frogs gained an early 2-0 lead in the first and rode a strong start from left-hander Russell Smith (7-3), who struck out 10 in 6.0 innings of work.
The defeat sent Tech to the loser's bracket where Tech faced a quick turnaround against the Wildcats (33-22). K-State went in front with a pair of solo shots in the third and followed with a five-run fourth to create distance with a 7-0 lead.
Patrick Monteverde (6-3) was solid in his start against TCU, working through a few unfortunate breaks. Only two of his four runs allowed were earned, both of which came in the first inning. The Horned Frogs took advantage of a pair of miscues in the field to score two runs in the third for a 4-0 lead.
Easton Murrell had two of Tech's four hits against TCU, leading off the fifth with a double and scoring on a Nate Rombach two-run home run that cut the Frog's lead in half. It marked the third-straight game Rombach had homered and his fourth-consecutive multi-RBI game.
The Red Raiders threatened again in the eighth, but TCU closed it out with 3.0 scoreless innings of relief from Garret Wright and Haylen Green and added three insurance runs in the seventh and eighth frames as they advanced to Saturday's semifinal round to await the winner of the Red Raiders and Wildcats.
In the second game of the doubleheader, K-State's Cameron Thompson opened the scoring with a solo dinger in the third and followed with a two-out, three-run double an inning later to help K-State gain a 5-0 advantage. Dylan Phillips also homered for the Wildcats in the third.
Trailing 7-0 in the fourth, Tech battled back with a pair of runs in their half of the inning as Cole Stilwell hit a one-out double to right that Murrell and Rombach drew a bases-loaded walk. Tech, however, left the bases loaded in the inning and finished just 2-for-12 with runners on base.
K-State's got 8.2 combined innings out of starter Kasey Ford (5-2), who allowed two runs on one hit in 3.2 frames, and reliever Tyler Eckberg, who added 5.0 scoreless innings, before Eric Torres came on for the final out. While the Red Raiders were held to just one hit through the first eight innings, they drew nine free passes against the Wildcats, but failed to take advantage.
Right-hander Micah Dallas (4-3) had given Tech four consecutive quality starts heading into Friday, but allowed six runs on four hits over 3.2 innings against the Wildcats. He gave way to Andrew Devine and Ryan Sublette in the fourth as Sublette, Chase Hampton, Brendan Girton and Connor Queen kept the Wildcats in check the remainder of the game.
No. 5 Texas Tech will return home to prepare for the NCAA Tournament. The 16 regional sites will be announced on Sunday, May 30, at 7:30 p.m. CT. The full bracket will be revealed Monday, May 31, at 11 a.m. on the Division I Baseball Championship Selection Show on ESPN2.
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