I'm really not surprised to see the Red Raiders left out of
the tournament once again this season. Texas Tech head coach Dan Spencer
insisted Tech's fate was set before the Big 12 Tournament but if that is the
case, then the 0-2 exit in Oklahoma City had very little to do with the selection
In the end there were three things during the regular season that had a major impact on Tech's fate:
3. Road Sweeps at Kansas State and Oklahoma
Getting swept during conference or non-conference play is
always a buster for bubble teams when it comes to this time of year. Let's face
it, I can understand the toughness of Oklahoma. The Sooners outscored the Red Raiders 29-7. They
are a solid hitting team - No. 1 in team hitting in Big 12 and top 40 in
country - and have a solid staff of pitchers led by senior Michael Rocha (10-3,
1.82 ERA, 78 Ks). OU is a solid sleeper team that could surprise some people
and make another trip to Omaha. Kansas State played better down the stretch and
won its games at the tournament - which to me still matters in your resume.
2. Sunday Losses at Texas, Missouri
This was Texas Tech's best chance to show the rest of the
world it can hang with a super team like Texas and close a road series out at
Missouri. We all thought this would be the season Tech would change its road
woes after beating Baylor in two of three in Waco to start the conference
season - nearly sweeping the Bears. But it was just oh so close in Austin.
After dropping a Friday game 4-1, Tech outlasted Texas for a 2-1 win in Game 2
then shut down the Longhorns for 7 innings on Sunday before UT exploded for
three runs in the 8th. It was Tech's best chance to win a series at UT for the
first time since 2001. Then the wheels came off once again to eighth-place Missouri.
I'm one of those who thinks Tech is somehow cursed in
any sport when visiting Columbia. It just never works out. Tech once again held
a 3-0 lead for 6.5 innings before Missouri exploded for three runs in the
bottom of the seventh and a walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth. The
three runs in the seventh came on one base hit and four walks.
1. TCU Sweep in Lubbock
Like I said, getting swept is never a good thing and its
even worse when a team does it to you on your home turf. Once again, Tech had
the chance to prove it can play with the big boys but could mount very little
against the Horned Frogs. Tech never commanded a game in the series, coming
close in the Saturday game with a 6-6 tie in the 5th before TCU pulled away.
The Horned Frogs outscored Tech 15-1 in the other two games.
I can tell you that with losing only Nick Popescu and hopefully gaining back healthy pitchers next year, 2012 will likely be the most talented and well-seasoned teams for the Red Raiders in recent memory. Barrett Barnes and Jamodrick McGruder will be in their third years and the chances for freshman pitchers David Paiz and Duke von Schamann to play this year will hopefully pay dividends for Tech next season.