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Red Raiders advance to Super Regional


For the third time in program history, the No. 9 Texas Tech baseball team clinched its spot in the super regional round of the NCAA Tournament.

The Red Raiders (42-17) finished off the 2018 Lubbock Regional with an 11-6 victory over Louisville (45-19) to claim the four-team opening round pod. Tech also defeated New Mexico State, 9-6, in the first game and the Cardinals, 10-4, to sweep a regional for the first time in the school's 69-year baseball history.

It was also the first time the Red Raiders have scored nine or more runs in each of their first three postseason games of a season, doing so behind 11 hits in-front of a season's best 4,628 fans on Sunday night at Dan Law Field at Rip Griffin Park. Four Red Raiders put together multi-hit bids at the plate sparked by a banner performance from senior Zach Rheams, the regional's MVP. He ripped a career-high four hits with two dingers and a career-best five RBI. 

Junior right-handed pitcher Davis Martin put together a strong performance in the regional final, tossing 5.0 innings against the Cardinals. He finished the night with two runs charged on five hits, walking one & striking out another to improve to 7-5 this season.

The Red Raiders struck first in the opening frame with four runs for a 4-0 lead. The first three Tech hitters reached base in the frame, as freshman Gabe Holt & sophomore Brian Klein began the inning with a hit-by-pitch and walk, respectively. With runners on the corners, sophomore Josh Jung smoked an RBI single to right field to bring home the first run of the night.

Shortly after, Rheams uncorked a moonshot over the right field wall for a three-run homer and a 4-0 lead. The dinger was Rheams' second of the regional and 15th this season and is the most by a Red Raider in a single season since Roger Kieschnick's 17 in 2008.

It was the most runs in the first inning of a postseason game by the Red Raiders since 2001, when Tech played Temple in the Fullerton Regional.

Junior Cody Farhat kept the foot on the gas in the second inning with a solo homer of his own, his fifth of the year, over the Red Raider bullpen to make it 5-0. In the fourth, a pair of singles by Holt & Klein put two on base for Jung, who sent a grounder to the third baseman looking to turn a double play. However, Holt flashed the speed & heads-up baserunning and sprinted home on the play to push the lead to 6-0.

Tech posted another run in the fifth inning thanks to Farhat's sacrifice fly for a 7-0 advantage. Rheams opened the frame with a double down the left field line, then moved to third on an error in the outfield to set up Farhat's sacrifice.

Louisville put its first run on the board in the fifth inning with its own sacrifice fly coming from Mann. A pair of back-to-back singles from Fitzgerald & Snider put runners on the corners to allow Mann to drive in the first run of the night.

The Red Raiders countered with a run of their own in the sixth to score for the third-straight frame. Holt kicked off the inning with a double down the right field line & Klein followed with a walk. Then, the duo pulled off the double steal, making it easy for Holt to score on an RBI groundout from Jung. Rheams roped an RBI single to center field after the groundout to increase the lead to 9-1.

Louisville scored runs in each of the next three innings behind a sacrifice fly from Lavey in the sixth, an RBI single from Campbell in the seventh, a two-run homer from Snider and a single from Wyatt in the eighth to make it 9-6.

Texas Tech fired back and put a bow on-top with a two-run ninth as Rheams uncorked a solo shot on a 2-2 offering down the right field line for his second homer of the game. He is the fourth player in program history with two long balls during an NCAA Tournament game. Junior Cameron Warren laced a double into the left centerfield gap and came around to score on a Farhat RBI single for the final margin of 11-6.

The Red Raiders await the winner of No. 8 Georgia and Duke on Monday to find out if they'll travel to Athens for Super Regional action.

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