TUCSON, Ariz. – Texas Tech scored all five of its runs in the seventh inning to spoil a strong starting debut from Arizona freshman Tyger Talley as the visiting Red Raiders earned a two-game split with a 5-2 victory on Wednesday afternoon at Hi Corbett Field.
Trailing 1-0 after six innings, Texas Tech (8-6) was able to force Talley from the game when Eric Gutierrez led off the seventh with a single. Talley, who had no-hit the Red Raiders through five innings, had yet to allow a run, but with six-plus innings pitched had more than doubled his season innings pitched total (4.1) entering the game.
The Red Raiders knocked around the Wildcats' bullpen to tie, take the lead and eventually pull away. Nick Cunningham gave up three runs on two hits and a walk, while Stephen Manthei surrendered a run on two hits. Xavier Borde walked the only batter he faced, before Tyler Hale was able to stop the rally with Arizona trailing 5-1.
With three trips the plate left in the game, Arizona (11-4) seemingly had time to chip away at the deficit. However, reliever Jered McCrummen allowed just one ninth-inning run and scattered three hits over three innings pitched to earn his first save of the season.
Talley, who made his first career start and fourth total appearance, saw the best performance of his young career spoiled as Arizona's offense squandered opportunities to build on an early lead. In all, the Wildcats left 12 runners on base and struggled to a 3-for-13 mark with runners in scoring position.
The Wildcats plated the game's first run of Red Raider starter Johnathon Tripp in the third inning. Cody Ramer led off the inning with a single and later scored on Riley Moore's single to right field.
Arizona threatened to add to its lead in the fifth, but Tripp, who did not factor into the decision, worked out of a bases loaded jam against the heart of the Wildcats' order. With one out and the bases loaded, Tripp induced a harmless popup from Johnny Field and struck out Brandon Dixon swinging to end the threat.
An inning later, Tripp and reliever Andre Wheeler again wiggled out of a jam. Tripp allowed two one-out singles that put runners at the corners, before the lefty Wheeler took over. The Wildcats tried a safety squeeze with Ramer at the plate, but Wheeler fielded the bunt and cut down the run at the plate. The next hitter, David Lopez, struck out swinging to strand two more runners.
That set the stage for the five-run sixth inning. The Red Raiders scored their five runs on five hits against a total of six Arizona pitchers in the inning. Hale, who recorded the final out in the sixth, finished the game with 2.1 shutout innings, three strikeouts and just one hit allowed.
Wheeler (W, 1-0), who retired each batter he faced in the bottom of the sixth, earned the victory as the Red Raiders took the lead in the following half-inning. Cunningham (L, 0-2) took the loss for Arizona.
The Wildcats lone run in the ninth inning came when Dixon, who was 2-for-4 in the game, singled in Zach gibbons, who was also 2-for-4. Earlier in the game, Dixon extended his games reached base streak to all 15 games this season.
Arizona continues its 18-game homestand this weekend as it welcomes Columbia to Hi Corbett Field for a three-game set. The series begins on Friday at 6 p.m. (MST).