Despite an early 3-0 deficit, the BatCats roared back with seven unanswered runs to knock off #3 Texas Tech 10-7 on Friday night. Sean Hjelle overcame a three-run first inning for the Red Raiders to throw seven strong innings and pick up his fourth win of the season.
Texas Tech’s explosive offense struck early. The Red Raiders took advantage of an error by Luke Heyer to get a man on with no outs in the first. TTU is not a team you can allow to reach for free. Josh Jung served a two-run double with no outs in the first before Cameron Warren singled to score the Raiders’ third run of the inning.
Like they have all season, UK responded to the early deficit. Kole Cottam hit his fifth home run of the season to drive in a pair in the second. UK had great plate appearances all evening and was able to manufacture runs against a great TTU pitching staff. Troy Squires doubled and came around to score on a balk and a wild pitch as the Cats tied the game at three after three innings.
Martin’s day would be over after three, but the Cats kept the offense rolling against the bullpen. UK loaded the bases with no one out and Heyer at the plate. The senior third baseman gave UK their first lead on a sacrifice fly. Tech’s bullpen was able to get another out, but they could not fend off a two-out rally by the BatCats. Cottam worked an incredible at-bat before taking a pitch the other way and doubling in two runs.
With a 6-3 lead, Hjelle settled in. The 6’11” righty retired the last ten batters he faced as he completed seven strong innings against the top offense in the Big 12. In his fourth start of the season, Hjelle struck out six and allowed only six baserunners in seven innings.
UK would add a run in the seventh and three in the eighth to take a 10-4 lead headed into the bottom of the ninth. The Cats weren’t the only team tonight that would make an attempt at a comeback. After loading the bases with one out, Michael Davis delivered a two-run single to right for Texas Tech’s second and third runs of the ninth. Jimmy Belanger used three pitchers to record the first two outs of the inning before turning to Chris Machamer against Brian Klein. Machamer slammed the door with a strikeout to end the game and give UK a 10-7 win over Texas Tech.