By Wendell Barnhouse | firstname.lastname@example.org
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Top-seeded and regular-season champion Texas will not be playing for the Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Championship. Texas Tech made sure of that.
The fifth-seeded Red Raiders received an outstanding pitching effort from starter Chad Bettis and reliever Bobby Doran plus a two-homer, three RBI effort from Barrett Barnes to knock off the Longhorns, 4-2, Thursday.
It was the second loss for Texas in their four-team pool. That means that the Longhorns’ final game Saturday against Texas A&M will be just another game for UT before it embarks on its NCAA tournament journey.
“You have a real bullet,” Texas Tech coach Dan Spencer said of Bettis, who seven hits and two runs in 7.1 innings of work. “You run him out there and he can keep you around. You aren’t going to get 8 to 10 (runs), you have to beat them (Texas) 4-2 or 3-1. Chad gave us a chance and we knew he would.”
Bettis was coming off a four-game suspension.
“I was really amped up that first inning to get out there and Spencer told me before the game to take a couple of deep breaths and make sure my front side was closed,” Bettis said.
Barnes, who had a two-run first-inning homer in Texas Tech’s regular-season victory over Texas in Lubbock, got the Red Raiders on the board with a deep drive to left field in the bottom of the first. The Big 12 freshman of the year then capped a three-run fifth inning with a two-run blast to left. Both dingers came off UT starting pitcher Taylor Jungmann.
“I was trying to lay off the breaking ball. I know he has a good breaking ball and was just trying to get my foot down and keep my front side closed,” Barnes said. “We try to go on the field every day with a lot of confidence, knowing we can beat anybody in the nation if we play good, pitch good and have good at bats.”
Texas had its best chance in the top of the eighth. With the bases loaded and one out, Kevin Keyes faced Texas Tech’s Bobby Doran, who relieved Bettis after he allowed back-to-back singles. Keyes chopped a fielder’s choice grounder to third that scored one run. Kevin Lusson struck out, stranding runners at first and third.
“I think this is the first time since the first series of the year that we’ve lost back to back games,” said Texas coach Augie Garrido, whose team is now 46-10 for the season. “I think in this game there was separation in the game becase of how Bettis pitched. He pitched extremely well.”