Texas Tech Athletics

TEMPE, Ariz. – Texas Tech battled out of an eighth-inning jam with a triple play and scored two runs in the top of the ninth to win a wild 7-5 season opener against 16th-ranked BYU on Thursday night at the Tempe Sports Complex.

With the score tied at 5 in the eighth, following an intentional walk to put runners on first and second, relief pitcher Kermitria Ward got pinch hitter Tiffa Messerschmidt to pop her bunt up to the mound. With both runners taking off on contact, Ward was able to throw to Raven Richardson at first for the second out and then Richardson went to shortstop Taylor Powell for the third and final out.

The Red Raiders trailed early after a Katie Manuma two-run homer in the second inning gave the Cougars an early 2-0 lead.

After leaving runners on in each of the first two innings, the Red Raiders tied the score a half inning later off a Logan Hall bases-loaded single down the left field line and another bases-loaded RBI from Holley Gentsch off a walk.

The Red Raiders took the lead in the fifth off another Gentsch RBI, this time from a single through the left side that scored Cydney Allen from third. The inning appeared over the next at-bat, but an Ashley Hamada fly ball was dropped by the BYU center fielder, scoring Gentsch and Sandy James, who drew a walk earlier in the inning.

With freshman Brittany Talley still in the circle late in the game, BYU chipped away at Tech’s lead, scoring a run in the sixth before Delaney Williard crushed a two-run home run with two outs in the bottom of the seventh to tie the game.

Playing under the international tiebreaker rule, Tech squandered a scoring opportunity in the top of the eighth with three quick outs, but used the triple play to bail itself out of a jam in the bottom of the inning.

The Red Raiders did not let another opportunity get away in the ninth. With one out in the inning, Stephanie Drewry joined Hamada on the basepaths after a walk. After a wild pitch moved the duo to second and third, Emily Bledsoe scored Hamada on a fielder’s choice grounder to first, while a wild throw to home allowed Drewry to come all the way from second for the second run of the play.

This time around, Ward did not allow BYU back in the game, forcing three ground balls to earn her first collegiate victory.