Getting the weekend started off on the right foot was key for the Red Raiders heading into their first non-conference series since playing a two-game series against Florida Gulf Coast earlier this season.
With Houston coming to town, a team that the Red Raiders defeated 10-4 back on March 4th in the final day of the Houston College Classic, this was another chance for the Red Raiders to notch some wins.
Tech was able to do just that on Friday night at Dan Law Field at Rip Griffin Park with a 15-4 win.
"I think it's a big win, I mean I think every chance you get to play and especially when you open a series, it's a big win," Tech head coach Dan Spencer said. "I'm real proud of our guys, they scratched a couple of runs in the first and our guys jumped right back on it … we didn't let it fester at all, offensively our guys did a good job, a real good job, and then John (Neely) settled in and gave us the innings we needed."
After the first inning, where both teams were able to get on the scoreboard, both pitchers settled down and got into a grove.
The Red Raiders (20-15) were able to break Houston starting pitcher Matt Hernandez (0-2) of his grove in the fourth inning as Tech was able to push three across to take a 6-2 lead.
With the lead in hand, John Neely (3-4), who was making his sixth start of the year, was able to put in a good start giving up just three runs on four hits while allowing just two walks and notching two strikeouts.
Houston (12-19-1) was able to notch a few more runs in the game, but not enough to overcome the Red Raiders potent offense.
Tech was not done scoring as in the eighth inning, Tech catcher Bo Altobelli, who finished the game 2-for-5 with five RBIs, walked up to the plate with the bases loaded and launched one to left field to blow the game wide open with a grand slam – his second of his career.
"This is what we needed, and we talked about this all week," Altobelli said. "We came out here and did our job for nine innings, pitching staff did theirs, we did ours. Complete team win, this is what we needed right now at this point in the season."
The Red Raiders now turn to the rest of the weekend and on Saturday have one of their best starters going – Duke von Schamann.
The sophomore enters the game notching two wins and a no decision in his last three outings, with two of those being complete games.
Along with von Schamann set to go on Saturday the Red Raiders are looking for their first three-game winning streak since March 20-23 when Tech took down Florida Gulf Coast and the series opener against Oklahoma.
With the momentum his team has right now having Duke going is good, Spencer said, but the rest of the team needs to do their jobs as well to get the win.
"I think our momentum is pretty good right now if your going to say it's your next day starter," he said. "So we like Duke (von Scahmann), we count on Duke obviously and maybe at times too much. But Duke's a competitive guy and he's going to pitch well and it's our job make sure that we take care of the ball's that we're supposed take care of and that we score some runs for him."
Being down in the first inning and coming back is good for the team Tech left fielder Brennan Moore said and burying a team offensively was also good for their confidence.
"It's good, because people have been criticizing a little bit that when we get down it's been hard for us to win and that was kind of the pattern early in the season," Moore said. "It's good for morale to know that we got down early today and we answered and we seemed to answer every time they scored.
"So it's good for our mentality and good for our team to know that we can handle a little bit of adversity now and hopefully we roll through the rest of the weekend and play like we played tonight."
The Red Raiders will be back on the diamond on Saturday to take on Houston with first pitch set for 5 p.m. at Dan Law Field at Rip Griffin Park.