OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Packing away the uniforms for the final team rarely evokes positive emotions. Texas Tech, though, can take some solace from the end of its 2013 season.
The eighth-seeded Red Raiders (26-30), in their first season under coach Tim Tadlock, closed it out with an 8-2 victory Saturday over No. 5 seed Baylor (27-28) in the final day of Pool One play in the Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Championship. The game was meaningless for both teams as each had already been eliminated from playing in Sunday's championship game.
But Tadlock believed his team still had something for which to play.
"I am pretty optimistic," he said "I thought we could make a run this year. We are putting the pieces together for next year and we are going to try to put together the best team possible. It's really unusual to win your last game and have your season end. It's an odd feeling for all of us. We aspired to win this tournament. This year wasn't our year, but we will be ready to go next year."
Sophomore shortstop Tim Proudfoot, the No. 9 hitter in the Red Raiders' lineup, had five RBI – all with two outs.
"He's aggressive and he swung the bat decent when we played them out there," Baylor coach Steve Smith said of Proudfoot. "He got himself out a few more times. I think he got a few better pitches to hit today and hit the ball over our head one time. He had a good day."
Baylor staked starting pitcher Austin Stone to an early lead with a run in the top of the second, but left the bases loaded. Center fielder Devon Conley tied it in the bottom of the third. His triple into the right field corner was misplayed by Baylor's Nathan Orf, allowing Conley to score without a throw home.
The Bears regained the lead in the top of the fifth but Texas Tech took control in the bottom of the fifth against Stone. Proudfoot and Bryant Burleson had run-scoring singles.
The Red Raiders added two runs in the sixth – Proudfoot had a two-run double - and three more in the eighth. Starter Matt Withrow, a freshman right hander, allowed two hits over five innings while Jonny Drozd worked the final four innings to pick up his first save.
"I was trying to be too perfect early throwing strikes," said Withrow, who walked five. "Obviously it showed by not throwing strikes. I told myself I was going to go out there and start throwing strikes, and that really helped out a lot. Games like this you've got to learn from. I know I need to throw strikes."