LUBBOCK (AP) – Two days. Two games. No runs allowed.
Dylan Dusek turned in his fourth consecutive scoreless start and Texas Tech advanced to the College World Series for the first time with a 1-0 victory over the College of Charleston on Sunday.
Dusek (8-0) worked five-plus innings, gave up three hits and walked one as Texas Tech (45-20) swept the best-of-three series with back-to-back 1-0 triumphs over the Cougars. Cameron Smith, Dominic Moreno and Jonny Drozd combined to work the final four innings for the Red Raiders.
“When I get home later this evening, I’m sure it will hit me,” second-year Texas Tech coach Tim Tadlock said.
Adam Kirsch’s RBI double in the fourth inning was the game’s lone run. It marked the Raiders’ third straight shutout in the postseason and fourth in their past five outings.
Bailey Ober (10-3) took the loss for College of Charleston (44-19), scattering six hits in eight innings.
“This was another tough loss, especially to end the season,” College of Charleston coach Monte Lee said. “Give Texas Tech a lot of credit. Dusek and their bullpen and one of the best catches I’ve seen in 14 years as a head coach was the difference.”
In the fourth, Tyler Neslony led off with a single to center. With one out, Kirsch laced a double down the right-field line that brought Neslony home.
“I was just trying to get on with no outs and give us a chance to score,” Neslony said. “One or two runs are tough to get — especially this late in the year.”
The Cougars pushed the tying run to second base in the sixth and seventh innings, but Tech withstood the threat each time, needing a spectacular diving catch from center fielder Devon Conley in the right-center field gap that preserved Tech’s lead and ended the seventh.
“It was full extension,” Conley said of his catch. “I saw the ball go up, and we had just shifted that way. I saw the ball was hit pretty hard, so I just put my head down, ran and fully extended. It landed perfectly in my glove. It was huge. It kept us in the lead.
“It was a do-or-die situation.”
Added Dusek: “I saw that and I was not expecting it to happen. That’s how awesome it was. It was one of the greatest catches that I’ve ever seen.”
Dusek left after surrendering a single to Blake Butler to open the sixth. Smith came on and allowed a single by Brandon Murray, putting two on for the Cougars for the first time in the game. Smith, though, got Carl Wise to line out to center field and then struck out the next two hitters to end the threat.
“Our pitching staff had a little to do with it today,” Tadlock said. “They had Wise up in the sixth with two on, and he hit it square but right at someone.”
No Cougars baserunner reached third base in the game.
“Our two starting pitchers were outstanding in this series,” Lee said. “But give Tech credit. They made big pitches when they had to make them and made big plays in key situations when they had to. Give their staff a lot of credit. This was probably the best defensive club we’ve played all year and the best pitching staff we’ve faced.”
The game was delayed 90 minutes at the start by lightning and rain.
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