(Photo Courtesy of Texas Tech Athletics)
Heading into the Big 12 Championship, The Big 12 has more than likely 3 confirmed regional seeds in Texas, TCU, and Texas Tech. Amongst those Texas is the only team that has truly solidified its place as a National Seed. Both Tech and TCU have an uphill climb to get them in the National Seed conversation. Texas Tech stepped one step closer of a National Seed with a massive win over the Baylor Bears
Texas Tech jumped out to an early lead and got a terrific start from Mason Montgomery to secure an 11-4 victory over Baylor in the first round of the 2021 Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship on Wednesday morning in Oklahoma City.
Montgomery (4-3) struck out 11 and allowed just two hits over five scoreless frames. The sophomore left-hander struck out the side in the first and the fourth before exiting the game with an 8-0 lead. It marked the most strikeouts ever by a Red Raider in a Big 12 Championship game as Tech pieced together the final four innings with five different arms out of the bullpen.
Dru Baker and Nate Rombach led the Red Raider attack offensively, combining to go 7-for-9 with six RBI and five runs scored. Baker set the tone from the start with a leadoff home run in the bottom of the first that led to a 3-0 Red Raider lead after one. He added a single in the second and an RBI double in the third to start the day 3-for-3 with two RBI and three runs scored in the first three innings alone. He finished 4-for-5 with three RBI, three runs, and two stolen bases.
The Bears got on the board in the sixth, but Tech responded as Murrell led off with a walk and scored on an RBI single from Baker.
Jack Pineda and Jared McKenzie combined for four of the Bear’s seven hits as Baylor trimmed the Tech lead to five with a three-run seventh. Tech, however, got two runs back in the home half of the frame thanks to a Rombach RBI single and a Carter groundout that scored Murrell.
Freshman starter Cam Caley (2-2) took the loss for the Bears, allowing three runs in 1.0 innings. Six different pitchers saw time for the Bears on Wednesday.
The No. 3-seeded Red Raiders (36-13; 14-10) have now won three of their last five openers at the championship and advance to the winner’s side of their bracket where they’ll take on No. 2 TCU and No. 7 K-State on Thursday at 4 p.m. The No. 6-seeded Bears (31-19; 11-13) will face the loser of the Frogs and Wildcats.