By Rachel Caton
LUBBOCK, Texas – The No. 18 Bears battled down the stretch and it took extra innings, but held on to defeat No. 22 Texas Tech 11-10 in 11 innings on Thursday night.
The Bears (26-10, 9-3) took the lead for good in the top of the 11th inning, as Richard Cunningham brought home the go-ahead run on a one-out RBI single.
On the mound, the Bears were led by reliever Kyle Hill who was outstanding, tossing a career-high 3.1 innings in relief, including striking out a six, also a career-high mark in relief.
Overall, the Bears tallied 11 runs on 14 hits, with five extra base hits. For the second-straight game the Bears did not outhit their opponent, but still took the win. Outfielder Mack Mueller was outstanding on the day, going 2-for-4 with a career-high five RBIs. Both of his hits were for extra bases as he brought home the third run of the second inning on an RBI double and then delivered a huge two-out grand slam in the bottom of the third, his first as a Bear and second homer of the year.
The Bears jumped out to a 9-3 lead after plating three in the second, four in the third and two in the fourth inning. The three runs in the second came off an RBI single by Cole Haring, a sac fly by Bissonette and an RBI double from Mueller. The four runs in the third came off Mueller’s two-out, full-count grand slam and the two in the fourth came off another big fly, this time as Wendzel delivered a two-run homer.
However, the Red Raiders were not going to go down easily, and battled back with four of their own in the fifth and one in the sixth to make it a 9-8 BU ballgame.
In the top of the seventh the Bears added one more on their third home run of the day, this time a solo shot by Haring.
In the eighth the Red Raiders added two on RBI doubles by Dylan Neuse and Josh Jung, despite a play earlier in the inning where it looked as though Gabe Holt was caught off the bag at second and picked off, but after an umpire review the call of safe was upheld.
Hill entered for the Bears and closed out the eighth inning before tossing three more scoreless innings, including striking out four-straight at one point over two innings. He would finish the game with a career-best six strikeouts in relief en route to his sixth win of the year.
With Hill earning the win, Red Raider reliever John McMillion took the loss as the game-winning run Nick Loftin was his responsibility. Cunningham hit his RBI single off lefty reliever Dane Haveman.
Game two of the series at Texas Tech is set for 6:30 p.m. CT on Friday, April 19 in Lubbock. The game will be televised live on FS1.