UNLV jumped out to a 7-1 lead
and rode the hot bat of Xavier Scruggs who had two home runs and the Rebels held
off Texas Tech 9-8 on Tuesday night at
Earl E. Wilson Stadium in
The loss moves the Tech losing skid to five games as the Red Raiders dropped to 17-20 overall. The win snapped a four-game losing streak by UNLV as they improved to 15-19.
The Red Raiders did something in the first inning that they had not done since the first day of April – scored a run. Roger Kieschnick drove in Willie Rueda with a hard hit RBI single to right field that gave Texas Tech its first lead in over seven days. Rueda led off the game with a single to center and moved into scoring position on a groundout by Doug Thennis.
Texas Tech’s lead would last past the bottom of the first as the Rebels rattled Tech starter Lorenzo Douglas for three hits and two walks and grabbed a 5-1 lead. Rebel catcher Michael Brenly delivered the crushing blow in the inning as he blasted a grand slam home run over the right field wall.
UNLV pushed its lead to six runs in the bottom of the second thanks to a two-run home run by first baseman Xavier Scruggs. The home run was the 10th of the season for Scruggs.
Texas Tech whittled away at the UNLV lead with a pair of single runs in the third and fourth innings. Willie Rueda made the score 7-3 in the top of the fourth when he collected his third hit of the game, a bases-loaded single through the right side that scored Chris Richburg. Richburg led oft the frame with a double to the gap in left center. Tech had the bases loaded with just one out for Joey Kenworthy but Kenworthy flew out to right and it turned into a double play as Rance Roundy was able to throw out Taylor Ashby who tried to score from third.
Ashby turned around and made it a two-run ballgame (7-5) in the top of the fifth inning as he laced a two-RBI triple to the gap in right-center field. Ashby’s triple scored Thennis who led off the inning with a walk and Richburg who reached on an infield hit.
Monk Kreder, who pinch hit for catcher Jeremy Mayo in the fifth, pulled Tech to within one run as he drove in Jason Seefeld from third base with an RBI single through the left side that made the score 7-6 in favor of the Rebels.
UNLV’s Xavier Scruggs ended the five inning scoring drought for the Rebels as he blasted the first offering from Tech reliever Owen Brolsma over the right field wall for his second home run of the game and gave the Rebels an 8-6 lead. Brolsma was replaced after giving up the home run as Tech went for its closer Zach Stewart who they hoped would halt any future scoring. Stewart, however, would allow a double to Braden Walker and Walker would then score on a RBI single by Rance Roundy that made the score 9-6.
Sophomore shortstop Chris Hall gave the Red Raiders a chance in the top of the ninth as he delivered a two-out, two RBI single up the middle that pulled the Red Raiders within one at 9-8. Rueda however grounded out in the next at-bat with runners at second and third to end the game.
Texas Tech will try and earn a series split on Wednesday afternoon as the two teams meet for a 3 p.m. (CT) first pitch at Earl E. Wilson Stadium.