ARLINGTON, Texas – No. 3 Texas Tech baseball carried a one-run lead into the ninth, but faltered late as No. 6 Arkansas rallied with a five-run frame to claim the 13-9 win on opening day at the College Baseball Showdown in Arlington.
More than 16,000 fans were on hand at Globe Life Field to witness a shootout between the Red Raiders and Razorbacks, one that saw six lead changes from the fifth inning on.
A three-run home run from Lubbock native Braxton Fulford swung the lead in favor of the Red Raiders (0-1) in the bottom of the seventh, giving Tech a 9-8 lead it would maintain until the ninth. The Razorbacks (1-0) threw the final blow, however, scoring five runs on four hits in the final frame.
The game began as a pitcher’s duel as both teams were scoreless going into the fifth. Texas Tech starter Patrick Monteverde was strong in his Red Raider debut, pitching a shutout over 4.0 innings of work. The graduate transfer from Seton Hill allowed just one hit and two walks while striking out five.
Arkansas starter Zebulon Vermillion was able to match Monteverde through four innings before the Red Raiders knocked him out of the game in the fifth. Tech erupted for five runs in the frame as junior college transfer Braydon Runion led off with a double, shortstop Kurt Wilson drew a walk, and then four consecutive Red Raiders hit safely to gain a 5-1 advantage.
Infielder Cal Conley received the start at third base and was part of a trio who led the Red Raiders offensively. Conley and Fulford finished with three RBI each, while outfielder Dru Baker went 2-for-3 with a double and reached base four times.
Arkansas’s Casey Opitz led the Razorbacks offensively with three runs scored. He reached base four times, going 1-for-3 with three walks, including a lead-off walk. He would end up coming around to score the tying run on an RBI single from Jalen Battles, who gave the Hogs a boost from the nine-hold with team highs of three hits and three RBI.
Tech reliever Andrew Devine received his first career loss, allowing four runs in the ninth. Arkansas closer Elijah Trest picked up his second career win with 3.0 innings of work, allowing one run on two hits.
The Red Raiders continue the State Farm Showdown with an afternoon tilt against No. 6 Ole Miss on Sunday at 3 p.m. Preseason All-American Micah Dallas will be on the mound going up against right-hander Gunnar Hoglund for the Rebels.
INSIDE THE OLE MISS SERIES
Sunday’s meeting will be the third all-time between the Red Raiders and Rebels, who have split the first two matchups. It will be the second time the two teams have met in an MLB stadium with Minute Maid hosting their battle in 2017. The programs met for the first time at the 2014 College World Series as the Rebels survived an elimination game.