By Ty Parker
LUBBOCK, Texas – Sophomore Cody Masters drilled a bases-loaded single up the middle with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to push No. 18 Texas Tech baseball to a 3-2 walk-off win over No. 18 Baylor Friday night in front of a sold out crowd at Rip Griffin Park.
The Red Raiders (24-13, 7-7) trailed 2-1 in the eighth before a walk to sophomore Gabe Holt with the bases loaded evened the score, setting up Masters for his heroics in the ninth. The win leveled the three-game set at one game apiece and pulled Tech back to .500 in Big 12 play.
Freshman Micah Dallas matched a terrific start from Baylor’s Paul Dickens as the two went toe-to-toe through six innings. Dallas scattered five hits and one earned run while striking out five and walking three.
The Bears (26-11, 9-4) started the scoring in the second as a leadoff double led to a run on a wild pitch. After Tech tied it at 1-1 in the bottom half of the frame, Baylor regained the lead in the third when the leadoff man reached on an infield error and came around to score.
Dallas settled in and worked though the sixth before handing off the baton to junior Taylor Floyd (3-3). Floyd shutout the Bears over the final three innings, scattering four hits with no walks and two strikeouts to take the win.
Tech tied it in the eighth with a two-out rally that started with a walk to designated hitter Cole Stilwell. With Dru Baker in to pinch run, pinch-hitter Cody Masters singled to put runners on the corners. Sophomore Braxton Fulford drew a walk to load the bases, setting up the RBI walk from Holt.
Floyd worked around two Baylor hits in the ninth to keep it a 2-2 game going to the bottom half. Junior Josh Jung ripped a one-out single into left and moved to second on a walk to sophomore Dylan Neuse. With two away, Baker hit a grounder to the left side of the infield, and Neuse hustled out a throw to second to load the bases for Masters.
In a full count with the runners on the move, Masters got around on an inside fastball to send a base hit up the middle and bring in Jung for the winning run. It marked Tech’s second walk-off of the season and second in Big 12 play with junior Brian Klein hitting a walk-off single against for a 5-4 win against Kansas on Apr. 5.
Masters finished with two hits in his two at bats after being brought in as a pinch hitter in the eighth. Five other Red Raiders registered hits on the day, including doubles from junior Brian Klein and freshman Max Marusak. Holt, Neuse and Stilwell all drew two walks as Tech finished with 11 on the night, it’s most in a Big 12 game this season.
The Red Raiders and Bears will meet once more on Saturday at 2 p.m. to decide the three-game series, presented by Texas Farm Bureau. Tech will send junior right-hander Caleb Kilian (4-2) to the mound while Baylor will counter with freshman right-hander Blake Helton (1-1). After the game, fans are invited to take part in a postgame Easter Egg Hunt on the field, presented by UMC Children’s Hospital.