By Ryan Lackey
LUBBOCK, Texas – Texas Tech scored five runs in the first two innings and received solid pitching from starter Trey Masek en route to an 8-2 victory over Kansas State Saturday afternoon at Rip Griffin Park.
With the win, the Red Raiders finished their season at 29-26 overall and 7-17 in Big 12 Conference play. The Wildcats dropped to 26-29 on the year and were also 7-17 in conference play but earned the final berth in the 2012 Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship due to the series win over Texas Tech.
Bo Altobelli started things for Tech in the first inning as he pulled a two-out, two-RBI double just inside the third base bag and down the left-field line against Wildcat starter Matt Wivinis (1-3). In the second, Wivinis put two runners on with one out when Jamodrick McGruder homered to right-field to put the Red Raiders up by five.
That was all the runs that Masek (2-4) would need as he kept the Wildcats off the scoreboard through the first six innings, allowing just three hits during the span. K-State finally got to the right-hander in the seventh when Jon Davis and RJ Santigate led off with a single and a walk, respectively. Masek was then lifted for Brennan Stewart, who saw Dan Klein double down the left-field line to score a run before a Kyle Speer fielder’s choice plated the second run.
Masek worked six-plus innings, allowing two runs on four hits with two walks and three strikeouts.
“We just didn’t get a good start,” head coach Brad Hill said. “We had to try to battle back and we weren’t locked in as we needed to be. The focus just wasn’t quiet there. I thought Masek did something the other two guys couldn’t which was he got the ball in on us. He got some fastballs in for strikes and he got us out as he was throwing in. You saw some guys really start to fly open and heads starting to pull off the pitch.”
The Red Raiders were led offensively by Reid Redman and Brennan Moore, who had two hits piece. McGruder’s three RBI led all hitters, while Altobelli also drove in two runs.
K-State was led at the plate by Davis, who was 3-for-4 with a run scored to finish the three-game set 6-for-12. Wade Hinkle also recorded a multi-hit game by going 2-for-4.
Despite going 0-for-4 in the contest, sophomore Jared King won the Big 12 batting title with a .378 average. King is the second Wildcat in the last three years to win the batting title after Nick Martini hit .420 during the 2010 regular season.
“Congratulations go out to him,” Hill said of King. “The last three weeks he’s been phenomenal for us. It’s a great honor to be a sophomore in the league and go win the batting title. That’s a pretty big deal.”
King entered the day eight points ahead of Texas A&M’s Tyler Naquin, who went 1-for-5 Saturday at Oklahoma State. Naquin finished the regular season with a .373 mark.