With a slim lead in hand heading to the bottom of the seventh inning, the Red Raiders big bats were coming to the plate looking to add some insurance against No. 18 St. John's on Friday night.
Following a single and a walk, Barrett Barnes came to the plate with a chance to give Texas Tech that insurance and he did with one of the most exciting plays in baseball – the inside-the-park home run.
"I thought I was going to pass out actually," Barnes said. "I lost gas, I lost all my steam coming around third. Actually almost fell and ate it, but fortunately enough I stayed on my feet and I got in and got those three runs."
The junior's three-run home run, his first career inside-the-park home run, proved to be the difference in the game as Tech (4-1) went on, with the help of closer John Neely, and beat No. 18 St. John's (1-3) 4-1 at Dan Law Field at Rip Griffin Park to kick off the 2012 Brooks Wallace Memorial Classic.
As previewed, the fans got to take in a good ole pitching duel as both teams sent their aces to the hill: Kyle Hansen for the Red Storm and Duke von Schamann for the Red Raiders.
Both pitchers lived up to the hype that surrounded the game as both starters went deep into the game and helped their bullpens out.
von Schamann (2-0) came out and essentially repeated the performance he put on display on Opening Day.
The sophomore went seven innings, for the second-straight game, gave up no runs on three hits and struck out five.
At one point in the game after giving up a leadoff triple to Anthony Iacomini, von Schamann settled down setting down 13-straight batters before that streak was broken up in the fifth inning.
"Yeah it was another solid start for me, " von Schamann said. "I had a little better command at the start of the game than I did last week, so I think that helped me out a lot. I think I threw less pitches than last week, and it gave me a lot of confidence when out hitters got that first run in the bottom of the first inning. There's nothing better as a pitcher when your teams scores in the first inning.
"So I was just out there trying to throw strikes and it worked out for us."
So far this season von Schamann in his two starts now has gone a whopping 14 innings giving up just one run, which was unearned, resulting in an ERA of 0.00 and has 11 strikeouts while allowing just one free pass.
On the other side Hansen did not have a bad start going six innings giving up just one run, unearned, and gave up just four hits, walked two and struck out seven.
Hansen (0-2), like von Schamann, figured out the Red Raiders batters setting down 11 in a row at one point.
The bullpen is what ended up costing the Red Storm as Brendan Lobben came into the game, replacing Hansen, but could not keep Tech off the base pads or the scoreboard.
After a single by Tim Proudfoot and walk issued to Jamodrick McGruder, the Red Raiders had something cooking with their best hitter coming to the plate.
With an opportunity to give Tech some much-needed insurance, Barrett Barnes delivered with a three-run inside-the-park home run making it 4-0 Tech.
"Yeah we needed a big hit at the time, we had a lot of guys on base," Barnes said. "Gotta give credit to their pitcher, he dealt the whole night. He had good stuff, he located he made good pitches. But they brought that lefty in, I got into a good count, got a good pitch and I connected with it."
Tech would not score another run in the game and looked as though it was going to cruise to a big upset victory.
But St. John's still had some fight left in them as after a leadoff single in the ninth inning, Tech head coach Dan Spencer was forced to go to his bullpen and brought out John Neely.
Neely started off shaky giving up back-to-back singles to load the bases with no outs and it got no better as he walked in the Red Storm's first run of the ball game.
With the bases loaded and still no outs Neely was able to calm down getting back-to-back strikeouts and then got Frank Schwindel to groundout to bring the game to an end and notch the 4-1 win for the Red Raiders.
"It's not the way you want to draw up the ninth, but we'll take it," Spencer said. "It's a good win against a good club on a Friday night against a good arm. And obviously Duke (von Schamann) did his thing. He matched the guy pitch-for-pitch, gave us seven strong and gave us a chance."
The Red Raiders will try and extend their winning streak to three on Saturday as they face Northern Illinois with first pitch set for 5 p.m. at Dan Law Field at Rip Griffin Park.