ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Dillon Carter’s two-run triple proved to be the difference as No. 2 seed Texas Tech jumped out to an early lead and held off No. 7 seed Kansas State 5-3 in the first round of the Big 12 Tournament on Wednesday.
Texas Tech advances to play the winner between No. 3 Oklahoma and No. 6 West Virginia on Thursday. Kansas State will play the loser on Thursday in the double-elimination tourney.
Texas Tech (38-19) took advantage of three Kansas State (27-29) errors to score three runs in the bottom of the second inning. Kurt Wilson doubled with one out and moved to third on an infield single by Hudson White. From there, the Wildcats had three miscues that led to a 3-0 deficit.
Carter, the No. 9 hitter who came in batting .198, drilled a two-out triple in the bottom of the sixth inning to increase the lead to 5-0.
Tech starter Mason Molina (2-5) cruised through the first six innings before running into trouble in the seventh. Cash Rugely led off the inning with a walk. Nick Goodwin doubled with one out and Cole Johnson singled to score Rugely. Molina struck out Josh Nicoloff for the second out, but Kaelen Culpepper followed with a two-run double to get the Wildcats within two.
Andrew Devine replaced Molina, who struck out 10, and induced Justin Mitchell to hit a comebacker to the mound to end the threat. Austin Becker pitched the ninth to earn his second save.
Connor McCullough (3-4) was saddled with the loss for K-State. He allowed five runs — three earned — on eight hits and two walks in six innings.
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