Josh Jung stymied No. 9 Oklahoma State’s comeback to hand the Cowboys an 8-6 loss to No. 8 Texas Tech in the best-of-three opening game of the NCAA Super Regional on Friday afternoon at Rip Griffin Park in Lubbock, Texas.
The Cowboys (39-20) must win Saturday to keep their season alive when they play the second game of the series at 5 p.m., televised on ESPNU. An OSU victory would force a winner-take-all Game 3 against Tech (43-17) at the same time Sunday for a trip to the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska.
OSU trailed by three runs, cut the deficit to one then fell behind four before trimming the lead to one again in the seventh inning. Jung, who was selected No. 8 overall by the Rangers in the MLB Draft, hit a solo home run to center field for a 7-5 lead in the seventh. He then saved Tech’s lead in the eighth with an incredible diving play on a rapid grounder to throw out Alix Garcia.
Whatever the Cowboys did, the Red Raiders seemed to have an answer.
Even OSU ace Jensen Elliott, who allowed one run or less in five of his last seven starts, struggled. He allowed six runs — four earned — on seven hits, walked four and struck out two in four innings.
Dylan Nuese hit a two-run single with the bases loaded in the second the Cody Master followed in the third with a solo home run for a 3-0 Tech lead.
Trevor Boone cut the deficit to 3-2 with a two-run single to center field in the fourth off Tech freshman starter Micah Dallas, who struck out nine in five innings.
Tech scored three runs in the fourth to go up 6-2, including two runs off an error by Boone in center field that would’ve ended the inning at 4-2.
Alix Garcia hit a solo homer in the fifth then delivered an RBI single in the seventh, followed by Hueston Morrill’s two-out RBI single to left field to pull the Cowboys within one.
Then Jung took over at the plate and in the field and showed why he was a top-10 pick in the draft. Three Red Raider pitchers — Dane Haveman, Taylor Floyd and John McMillion — finished the game.