LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) — Noah Sirift came home to play in an NCAA Super Regional, then raced home to score the winning run for Oklahoma State to force a deciding Game 3 between the Big 12 rivals for a spot in the College World Series.
Sirift, who grew up in Lubbock and used to go to Texas Tech games, scored on a wild pitch in the bottom of the ninth inning as Oklahoma State beat the Red Raiders 6-5 on Saturday night.
“This is definitely a momentum booster. This is exactly what we needed,” Sirift said.
“Winning this one definitely will give us momentum,” said Hueston Morrill, who went 3 for 3 and scored three times, including a two-run homer.
After entering the game in left field to start the ninth, Sifrit led off the bottom of the inning by drawing a walk from Clayton Beeter (0-3). The Red Raiders then made a pitching change, and Taylor Floyd walked two more batters to load the bases while throwing three wild pitches — all of them advancing Sifirt.
The last wild pitch ricocheted far enough from the plate for Sifrit to take off from third and safely dive in head-first to end the game.
“I’ve never been part of a wild pitch walk-off,” Colin Simpson said. “It’s a cool feeling. Walk-offs are always a great feeling. … It’s different kind of walk-off. We’ll take them how you get them.”
Ben Leeper (4-3) allowed an unearned run while pitching the final 1 1/3 innings for Oklahoma State.
Texas Tech (43-18) will try Sunday to get to the College World Series for the fourth time in six seasons. The Cowboys (40-20) are looking for their first trip to Omaha since 2016, which was their 20th CWS in school history.
The Red Raiders were in the same position last season during their Super Regional at home, when they beat Duke in the opener before losing 12-2 in Game 2. They rebounded to win the clincher 6-2.
“One game to go to Omaha, everybody would sign up for it,” Tech first baseman Cameron Warren said.
“These kids, they want to go to Omaha, they want to go so bad they can’t stand it,” coach Tim Tadlock said. “You gotta go out and win innings. I think that would probably be the experience, any time we have been in a three-game series going into Sunday, you know it’s going to be a barn burner from the get-go and embrace that and get ready to go.”
Dru Baker drove in two runs for the Red Raiders, with a solo homer in the seventh and an RBI single an inning later.
Oklahoma State led 5-4 after Simpson hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth. Tech got even in the ninth, taking advantage of an error and an infield single before Brian Klein’s sacrifice fly.
Texas Tech had won eight consecutive games against Oklahoma State, including a three-game series sweep in the regular season and the Red Raiders’ 8-6 win in Game 1 of the Super Regional on Friday night.
“We don’t talk about it. Last year was last year, the regular season is the regular season,” Oklahoma State coach Josh Holliday said. “It’s only something if you choose to talk about it, and we don’t. Every game’s its own game.”