LUBBOCK, Texas – Texas Tech’s Gavin Kash hit a 486-foot walk-off home run on Friday night, lifting the Red Raiders past Kansas, 8-7, at Rip Griffin Park. For the second game in a row, the two teams entered the ninth inning tied, this time going 10 innings, and it was the home team that came out on top to tie the series.
“A big moment for (Kash) and our team,” the head coach said Tim Tadlock. “Big swing. You needed it and glad he did.”
Almost 24 hours after falling to Kansas via a home run in the top of the ninth in game one of the series, Kash returned fire Friday night to put Tech in position to take its fourth Big 12 home series of the season to be won on Senior Day Saturday afternoon. A win would also put the Red Raiders in a position to claim the No. 5 seed in the Big 12 Tournament, but can finish no worse than the No. 7 seed.
After producing just one run the night before, the offense was back to itself, scoring eight runs off 14 hits. Nolan Hester, Gage Harrelson and Austin Green each recorded three hits each while Zac Vooletich recorded a few hits.
In addition to Kash’s home run, Green and Dillon Carter both connected for home runs giving Texas Tech three long balls on an evening the wind blew to right field. The Red Raiders improved to 18-4 when recording two or more home runs in a game this season.
Tech built a 4-0 lead after the first three innings, helped by three runs scored with two outs in the bottom of the second that began with Carter’s sixth home run of the season, a solo homer, to spark the charge .
The Jayhawks scored four in the top half of the fourth, tying the game 4-4, but the tie was short-lived as Tech answered with a pair of runs in the bottom half to go back in front. The Red Raiders loaded the bases before KU could record an out in the bottom half of the fourth. With the bases loaded and no outs, the next two at-bats were a pair of sacrifice flies by Green and Kash that put Tech up 6-4.
In the fifth, both teams scored one point. Kansas hit a solo homer while Tech produced a run off a leadoff walk worked through Dylan Maxcey to make it 7-5 after five innings were completed. It was the top of the eighth when the Jayhawks tied the game, again with a home run, this time a two-run shot that tied the game 7-7. In total, seven home runs were hit in the windy Friday night, four by KU.
Trendan Parish had a short 3 2/3 inning start, but was supported by a strong bullpen effort in between Ethan Coombes, Ryan Free and Kyle Robinson. Coombes was first in line before Free stretched the longest of the group. He threw four innings while striking out five without issuing a walk. Free did allow two runs, which was the home run KU used to tie the game in the eighth.
“I thought Coombes came in and executed some pitches,” Tadlock said. “Free probably had three pitches that he didn’t execute. One of them went out of the ballpark and one of them was one to right on an 0-2 count. I thought it was the best he hit the ball in a few weeks passed.”
Kyle Robinson threw a scoreless top half of the 10th before Kash ended the game in the home half. Robinson’s record moves to 1-1 with the win.
Texas Tech concludes its series against Kansas on Saturday at 2 p.m. A senior ceremony to celebrate its six-member class will begin at approximately 1:45 p.m.