LUBBOCK, Texas —- The road to Omaha is full of twist and turns and there are plenty of potholes in that road that both teams need to navigate to reach the banks of the Missouri River and the state of Nebraska.
East Carolina University did their best but could not outlast Texas Tech University, Saturday afternoon at Rip Griffin Field, it took 13 innings but the Red Raiders extended their season by defeating the Pirates 3-1, under the Texas blue sky and wind-swept Dan Law Field.
Texas Tech two-stepped elimination by scoring two runs in the top of the 13th inning, from getting the desired help from Big 12 Conference Player of the Year, Red Raiders senior first baseman Eric Gutierrez. Stepping up to the plate and stuck in a batting slump, he took a look over the situation and with the bases loaded, he delivered.
Gutierrez waited patiently for East Carolina University’s pitcher Sam Lanier’s pitch that caught just enough of the plate and Gutierrez singled up the middle scoring Tyler Floyd from third base and Orlando Garcia racing home from second base and slid across the plate.
“The last pitch was a fastball outside and he got a good swing off of it,” Lanier said after the game. “He is a good hitter.”
East Carolina University baseball coach Cliff Godwin watched from the third base coaches box in the 12th inning. He watched his team load up the bases and with a chance to walk off into the sunset with the first Pirate’s victory of a Super Regional and upset the Red Raiders.
Godwin and the Pirates got a little taste of some Texas Tech determination, the same thing that East Carolina did to Texas Tech Friday night.
Stepping into the spotlight for the Texas Tech University baseball coach Tim Tadlock and for the Red Raiders, relief pitcher Robert Dugger, he worked five innings and worked out of jam to get the Red Raiders the win. Dugger faced 19 Pirates and stuck out five, walking two and he only giving up two hits before earning his most important victory of his career.
Texas Tech opened the scoring in the game in the fourth inning by scratching out one run to take the lead only to lose the lead in the sixth inning when the Pirates scored the tying run.
Both starting pitchers, Red Raiders Steven Gingery and ECU’s Jimmy Boyd battled each other in a old fashion pitching duel before turning the game over to their respective bull pens.
Tadlock called on relief pitchers Hayden Howard, Ryan Moesly before he placed the ball in the hand of Dugger and doing their job, Howard and Moesly kept the Pirates off of the scoreboard.
Looking for some more magic from Friday night, Godwin call on Friday night’s hero relief pitcher Matt Bridges and he responded by facing seven batters and striking out two before being lifted for Pirates bull pen stopper All-American Joe Ingle.
Ingle showed way he is an All-American, as he worked five innings but walked five, striking out six and only giving up one hit before being replaced by Lanier.
The offense for the Pirated did managed to spray 12 hits against the Red Raiders but hitting into four double plays and stranding 14 runners on the bases did not please Godwin.
“You can’t go through the back door to get to Omaha,” Godwin said. You have to go through the front door tell everybody you’re coming.”
The final game of the Lubbock Super Regional is scheduled to start Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. (CT) and once again their will be a full house expected inside Dan Law Field at Rip Griffin Park.
Well everybody knows that when the afternoon sun set just beyond the Texan horizon only one team will be going to Nebraska.
Godwin and the Pirates are hoping that they can make a little more history by winning just one more game in Texas and stay on the highway toward Omaha.
About the Author
Written by Mel Suiter
Graduated from Eastern Michigan University in 2002 and have been working as a beat writer for The Ypsilanti Courier covering Eastern Michigan University football and men's basketball during my school career and after graduation.
I like the Mid-American Conference and the rest of the mid-major conferences.