By Ty Parker
LUBBOCK, Texas – No. 11 Texas Tech utilized a 13-run fourth inning and five strong innings from Caleb Kilian to secure the series victory over Kansas Saturday afternoon following a 19-4 rout at Dan Law Field at Rip Griffin Park.
The Red Raiders (21-8; 5-3), who sent 17 hitters to the plate in the fourth alone, matched the school record for most runs in an inning en route to claiming their second-straight Big 12 series win. Tech previously plated 13 runs in the third inning of a 22-7 victory over Western Illinois on Feb. 20, 2005. It marked the most runs in an inning by the Red Raiders in a Big 12 contest.
The victory, the largest ever in the now 70-game history versus the Jayhawks (15-15; 1-7), gives Tech the series win over Kansas for a fifth-straight season. The Red Raiders have now won 12 of the last 13 meetings with the Jayhawks entering Sunday’s series finale.
Tech scored four runs via a bases-loaded walk or hit by pitch during the fourth, chasing Kansas starter Ryan Zeferjahn (3-2) in the process after he allowed nine runs (seven earned) off five hits and four walks. Jayhawk reliever Hunter Freese did not fare much better, immediately giving up a two-run single to Brian Klein and a RBI single to Cameron Warren.
Klein finished 3-for-4 at the plate with three RBI to lead the Red Raiders, his 13th multi-hit outing and seventh multi-RBI game this season. He started the afternoon with a RBI single in the opening frame to push Tech to an early 2-0 lead. Gabe Holt scored Tech’s first run earlier in the frame after a failed pickoff attempt allowed him to scamper home from second.
Josh Jung drove in three runs in the fourth alone, the first via a bases-loaded walk before drilling a two-run double to the gap in right center. Jung, one of eight-consecutive Red Raiders to reach safely in the inning, followed a two-run single from Cole Stillwell that sent Kansas back to the bullpen in place of Freese.
Warren, meanwhile, capped Tech’s day at the plate with a towering home run to left field in the fifth that marked his eighth long ball already this season. It followed a triple from Klein, who came all the way around to score after Kansas left fielder Brett Vosik bobbled the ball near the wall.
The Red Raiders had six starters drive in at least two runs as Braxton Fulford was 2-for-2 with two RBI, while Tanner O’Tremba added a two-run double in the eighth off the bench. Dru Baker was also 2-for-6 as one of five Red Raiders with two or more hits, joining Holt (2-for-4), Klein, Warren and Fulford.
The effort offensively was more than enough for Kilian (4-2), who held Kansas scoreless over the first five innings to earn the win. Kilian surrendered only two hits during that span before Kansas connected on four against the right-hander in the sixth, paving the way for reliever Connor Queen.
Queen escaped a bases-loaded jam as part of a strong performance as he retired all six Jayhawks he faced. Mason Montgomery and Ryan Keesee each threw a scoreless inning of relief to close out the victory.
The Red Raiders will look for their first Big 12 series sweep Sunday afternoon. First pitch is set for 1 p.m. on TexasTech.TV.