LUBBOCK, Texas – He did it again. Senior Kurt Wilson followed up his dramatic steal of home on Friday night to defeat No. 2 Texas with a walk-off grand slam on Saturday to give No. 16 Texas Tech a 16-12 win and clinch the weekend series. Both wins for Texas Tech against Texas came in the 10th inning, both in front of sell-out crowds at Rip Griffin Park.
STOLEN BASE WINNERRRRRRRR OMG— Texas Tech Baseball (@TTU_Baseball) March 26, 2022
Texas Tech defeats Texas, @Kurtwilson14 wow!!!!!!!!! pic.twitter.com/tphFlRiUeQ
Every time Texas Tech needed an answer on Saturday, they delivered for the resilient win. Overcoming a four-run deficit in the bottom of the eighth, and a one-run deficit in the bottom of the 10th to ultimately improve to 13-0 at home.
The Longhorns battled too, rallying from a 7-2 deficit the Red Raiders built in the first inning as the home team exploded for seven runs. Tech saw its first eight batters reach base in the first before the Longhorns pulled their Saturday starter. But from that point, and until the seventh inning, Texas Tech did not record a hit. During that time, Texas started mounting its comeback behind its bullpen paving the way.
Texas scored two in the fifth, and three more in the seventh to tie the game, 7-7. All the momentum was with the visitors, and it culminated in the eighth as they took the lead, 11-7, scoring four more to cap a run of nine unanswered to pull ahead 11-7.
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KURT WILSON PLAYS HERO AGAIN!!!!!— Texas Tech Baseball (@TTU_Baseball) March 26, 2022
GRAND SLAM WALK-OFF TO BEAT TEXAS, 16-12!!!!! pic.twitter.com/ke4FsBQTnz
Wilson not only closed the door for the win, but he was also the catalyst that sparked the initial rally as he led off the bottom of the eighth with a triple (watch). He'd score a run thanks to a Hudson White sacrifice fly, while Easton Murrell (watch) and Cole Stilwell (watch) both provided two-out RBI base hits to tie the game, 4-4, capitalizing on a pair of walks earlier in the frame.
Texas threatened in the top of the ninth to pull back ahead, loading the bases with Bo Blessie on in relief but the junior worked out of the jam by getting the third out with a strikeout. The Longhorns jumped in front the next inning with a two-out RBI hit to centerfield, but it was nearly halted with a diving Dillon Carter catch. One run scored, and a second came close had not Carter thrown the runner out at home.
Down again, late in the game. A multi-base lead-off hit sparked the rally once again as Parker Kelly doubled down the left-field line (watch). Murrell made it on base being hit-by-pitch and then Stilwell manufactured the game-tying run on a fielder choice (watch), scoring Kelly who beat the throw home. Jace Jung drew a walk to load the bases which set the stage for Friday's hero to shine again on Saturday. Wilson smacked the game-winning home run over the right-field fence on a two-out, 1-0 count, to walk off for the win for the second-straight day.
In a no-decision start, Brandon Birdsell tallied seven strikeouts against no walks. Birdsell has tossed 31 strikeouts against two walks over his last three starts.
Head Coach Tim Tadlock
On the competitive relationship between Texas and Texas Tech…
"We knew it was going to be a dogfight. Whenever you enter a Big 12 baseball weekend series you show up on Saturday or on a weekend, and you know it's a good baseball series. The Big 12 is a good league. As far as these two teams go, I think they're both resilient. You saw that last night and today was a good example too."
On Brandon Birdsell…
"He definitely has got fastball command, he has above-average stuff and he's a workhorse. He's what you want to send out there on a weekend. Again, all these guys are going to keep getting better. Like I said last night we're only two months in as far as these guys getting on the mound. We're really just getting started."
On Kurt Wilson…
"In the ninth, he came up with a man on first base and no outs. We didn't try to bunt, which kind of tells you how I feel about him as a player. We weren't even entertaining bunting. We were probably a pitch late as far as starting the runner. Kurt hit a ball hard at the second baseman, which means the pitcher made a good pitch. We want to give our guys the freedom to grow as offensive players and as baseball players. Kurt is still coming along. He's been around our program, but he's still very young in relation to baseball. There's not a lot of guys who can play every infield position and every outfield position. I've mentioned it before, he reminds me of Chris Taylor of the Dodgers. As he matures, you're starting to see that toolset."
The Red Raiders finish their weekend series on Sunday at 2 p.m. against Texas. It would be the second sweep of the Longhorns since 2017.