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Big 12 Tournament: Texas Tech Stays Alive With 10-5 Win Against Cincinnati

 Matt Tallarini  |    May 24th, 2024 11:05am EDT

Texas Tech starter Ryan Free threw 6.2 innings to earn his sixth win of the season and keep the Red Raiders season alive. (Photo Courtesy of the Big 12 Conference)

Arlington, Texas – The tenth-seeded Texas Tech Red Raiders beat the No. 5 seed Cincinnati Bearcats 10-5 on Thursday at Globe Life Field  and kept their season alive to play on Friday against Oklahoma State.

Texas Tech (33-25) is No. 60 in the RPI, and will have to win the Big 12 Conference tournament in order get in the NCAA tournament’s 64-team field for the 2024.

Red Raiders senior Ryan Free kept his composure on the hill, throwing 6.2 innings and allowing four hits, three earned runs, two walks, and four strikeouts, firing 66 of his 95 pitches for strikes to 27 batters to earn his sixth win of the season. 

The Red Raiders got on the board first in the top of the first inning when designated hitter Kevin Bazzell drove a ground-rule double that bounced over the right field wall, scoring center fielder Gage Harrelson for the first run of the game. 

A few batters later, junior third baseman Cade McGee whacked a single to third base and sophomore left fielder Damian Bravo came into score to extend the lead to 2-0. 

Then Owen Washburn lifted a sacrifice fly to left fielder Hunter Jessee and center fielder Gage Harrelson scored to make it 3-0. 

In the top of the second, Tech scored five runs, starting with Bravo lifting a sacrifice fly to right field, scoring Tracer Lopez coming to score for the fourth run of the game. 

Cincinnati’s Michael Conte walked two consecutive batters with the bases loaded, issuing free passes to Cade Mcgee, pushing Will Burns across for the Red Raiders’ fifth run, and then to Owen Washburn, sending Gage Harrelson home. 

Dylan Maxcey then drove a two-run single into right, scoring Gavin Kash and McGee to give Texas Tech an 8-0 lead. 

“He’s caught really great for me and the team. It’s just a blessing to have him behind the plate and another guy Bazzell behind the plate too. Both of those guys are really good behind the plate. They have great bats too,” Free said of Maxcey during the post-game press conference. 

Texas Tech head coach Tim Tadlock only had to make one pitching change, bringing in freshman reliever Parker Hutyra. 

“The guys did a really good job just getting ready for the game. Prepared and with a quick turnaround we knew it was going to be a challenge,” Tadlock said. “It’s a lot easier to play great when the guy on the mound goes out and kind of dictates how things are going to go. I thought Free was really just commanding the game and commanding everything you need to do to be a starting pitcher. He kind of showed why we moved him into that role,” 

Hutyra quieted the Cincinnati bats, throwing 2.1 innings, allowing one hit, two earned runs, two walks, three strikeouts, facing 10 batters and throwing 44 pitches. 

Hutyra got Cincinnati junior third baseman Kerrington Cross to strikeout swinging to end the game in the bottom of the ninth inning, keeping Texas Tech’s NCAA tournament hopes alive with the 10-5 win.  

“Obviously, a tough one for us. A couple of fairly soft contact base hits and then it snowballed a little bit. But true to our guys, we didn’t implode. We didn’t melt down,” Cincinnati head coach Jordan Bischell said. “Guys stepped up and kept us in the game and really a couple of plays away from being in it.” 

Cincinnati senior Alec Jones hit his first multi-home run game of his collegiate career, knocking a two-run home run in the bottom of the seventh inning and a two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth. 

Cincinnati finished 32-25 in Bischell’s first season with the program. 

The Bearcats are No. 55 in the RPI and cling to sliver of hope to playing in the NCAA tournament. The field will be announced on May 27 during the 2024 NCAA Division I College Baseball Championship Selection Show on ESPN2 at 12 p.m. EST.

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Matt Tallarini
Matthew (Matt) Tallarini is the Founder and Chief Correspondent for the World Baseball Network. Matt played semi-professional baseball with the Pelham Mets in Pelham, New York for four years, including the 2018 Semi Pro World Series. During the pandemic, Matt began engaging with international baseball, as a way to keep connected to the sport. Matt created the World Baseball Network and its signature website, WorldBaseball.com as a way to promote and inform similar likeminded fans about the players, teams and leagues innovating the sport of baseball and feeding into Major League Baseball (MLB). As a result of Matt’s efforts, World Baseball Network is now the benchmark standard for international baseball coverage, including MLB, MiLB, NCAA, Korea, Japan, Caribbean, Baseball United, WBC, WBSC and more. In a short time, Matt has interviewed a who’s who of global baseball legends and coaches. These include: Former Yankee closer Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera; Hall of Famer Trevor Hoffman; former Yankee Luis Sojo veteran of four Yankee World series teams; Mickey Callaway former MLB manager; Paul Mainieri LSU National Championship coach; Eric Holtz manager Team Israel of the 2020 Olympics; Ian Kinsler former MLB player and now Israel national team player; Harold Ramirez of the Tampa Bay Rays formerly with the Indians and Cubs; Joey Meneses of the Washington Nationals; and Mike Cameron current USA Baseball advisor former-MLB outfielder. Matt Tallarini is 2015 graduate of Mitchell College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Science and a 2022 graduate of Iona University with a Masters in Finance. Since its inception, Matt has been the Chief Correspondent for World Baseball Network. Matt has interviewed and interacted with many international players and coaches including former Yankee closer Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera, Hall of Famer Trevor Hoffman, former Yankee Luis Sojo veteran of four Yankee World series teams, Mickey Callaway former MLB manager, Paul Mainieri LSU National Championship coach, Eric Holtz manager Team Israel of the 2020 Olympics, Ian Kinsler former MLB player and now Israel national team player, Harold Ramirez of the Tampa Bay Rays formerly with the Indians and Cubs, Joey Meneses of the Washington Nationals, Mike Cameron current USA Baseball advisor former-MLB outfielder. Matthew is 2015 graduate of Mitchell College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Science and a 2022 graduate of Iona University with a Masters in Finance.