By Ty Parker
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – No. 11 Texas Tech baseball received strong outings from Erikson Lanning and John McMillon, but was unable to crack reigning National and Big 12 Pitcher of the Week Alek Manoah as it fell, 2-0, in the series opener at West Virginia on a wet Friday night at Monongalia County ballpark.
The Mountaineers (21-12, 5-5) recorded both runs with timely two-out singles, one in the first and one in the third, that would prove to be enough as the Red Raiders (22-10, 5-5) were held to four hits on the day.
Manoah (5-2), who struck out 11 in 8.0 scoreless innings at No. 23 Oklahoma State last Friday, kept the nation’s No. 10 scoring offense at bay with 15 strikeouts in the complete game win. It marks the first shutout and highest strikeout total for Tech this season, which entered the weekend averaging over 11 runs per game in its last six games.
Sophomore Gabe Holt had three of Tech’s four hits on the day. He singled in the fourth, sixth and ninth, but was erased by a fielder’s choice on two of the three occasions. In the sixth, his two-out single was followed by a pop up to end the frame.
Senior Cameron Warren was the lone Red Raider to get into scoring position on Friday, connecting on a deep two-out double to left center field to lead off the ninth. A fielder’s choice from Cole Stilwell, a strikeout from Josh Jung and a ground out from pinch hitter Cody Masters would end the threat.
Manoah’s effort overshadowed what was a stellar night by the Red Raider pitching staff. McMillon was outstanding in relief, recording six strikeouts over 3.2 innings of no-hit ball. It marked his highest strikeout total of the season and his longest outing of the season.
Lanning (0-1) had a bounce back effort from last Sunday against Kansas as he worked into the fifth inning and kept the Red Raiders in the game despite Manoah’s performance. He gave up two runs on six hits with four strikeouts.
Unlike the Red Raiders, the Mountaineers were able to stack their hits on top of each other in the first and third to push across runs. In the first, three two-out hits got the job done as a double from WVU’s Darius Hill was followed by back-to-back singles for the first run of the game. In the third, Hill made the second out of the inning on a fielder’s choice, moved to second on a walk and scored on a base hit from Paul McIntosh to make it 2-0.
The Red Raiders got their leadoff man aboard for the first time in the eighth and did so again in the ninth. Warren hammered a double deep to the gap in left center, his ninth of the year. He was stranded there, however, as the bottom third of the lineup all went down on strikes.
Holt led off the ninth with his third hit of the day. Designated hitter Cole Stilwell then hit a bloop behind the first baseman, but Holt retreated to first to prevent a double play, and as the ball bounced off the glove and into shallow right, the second baseman threw Holt out at second for a fielder’s choice. With two away, Masters came in to pinch hit and hit a chopper to first for the final out.
Texas Tech will look to even the three-game set on Saturday. First pitch is slated for 3 p.m. CT on Mountaineers.TV and the Texas Tech Sports Network.