Baseball Preview: LaSalle

As the Red Raiders play LaSalle this weekend here is what Coach Tadlock had to say before the start of the three-game series.

A prize goes to the person who can name where LaSalle University is located without looking it up. A bonus prize if you can name their mascot. Tim Tadlock didn't know that earlier in the week, either.

"No disrespect to them, but when I got a call this week asking where LaSalle was, I had to ask because I didn't know."

And while, the location for the LaSalle Explorers campus might not be well known, this team is squarely on the mind of the Red Raiders.

"They're 1-3, but they just got through playing a series at NC State, who has one of the best rotations in the country," said Tadlock.

Tech is looking to get healthy and get going at the plate this weekend after a 1-4 Florida road trip. The highlights of which were a 9 inning, 8 strikeout , 100 pitch performance by right hander Trey Masek on Sunday versus UConn, (a game Tech lost 1-0) and a 6 run sixth inning on Tuesday against FIU that helped earn the Red Raiders their only win on the road trip.

Consistency may be the theme of the weekend for the Red Raiders, as with some games on the Florida trip, the Red Raiders failed to pitch well, but then when Tech did pitch well, the bats did not come through. And while fielding is always part of the equation, Tadlock felt pretty good about how the Red Raiders fielded the ball in Florida, especially given the rough terrain that the Texas Tech infield saw in the Sunshine State.

"I thought we fielded well for the shape those fields were in," said Tadlock. "On a few of those (chances), you'd have better luck if we went out in the parking lot and I hit grounders to you. That's not an excuse for the results, though, both teams had to play on the same field."

Battles are still shaking out all over the diamond, especially in the infield, where Jake Barrios and Tim Proudfoot continue to make it a tough choice when filling out the lineup card. Proudfoot leads the team in home runs and plays stellar defense while Barrios is a nationally ranked prospect, also has a solid glove, and collected his first hits of the season in Tuesday's win. Complicating the matter in the infield is  the fact that the team's best average and on-base percentage is second baseman Bryant Burleson and third baseman Alec Humphries has delivered multi-hit games in the opportunities he's been given.

The outfield is also seeing competition, but one standout has been freshman Devon Conley. "(Conley) is a true center fielder," said Tadlock. "We knew going to these parks in Florida, we would have to cover a lot of ground, especially in Miami (FIU). Devon can cover gap to gap. He did very well."

Friday will see Dominic Moreno on the hill for Texas Tech and while Tadlock did not want to reveal his staff for the rest of the weekend, it was confirmed that Texas Tech will use a regular weekend rotation and not save any particular starter for the midweek trip next Tuesday and Wednesday to defending national champion and 10th ranked Arizona.

Conference play is only a couple of weeks away for the Red Raiders, so these next couple of weekends are  extremely important, but Tadlock indicated that it's not quite time to lock in on a lineup just yet.  Look for lots of players competing for playing time to get their opportunities against the LaSalle Explorers.

Stat of the week: Texas Tech is 5-0 when leading a game after 6 innings.

Schedule: Friday 6:30 p.m., Saturday 6:30 p.m., Sunday 1:00 p.m. Dan Law Field at Rip Griffin Park

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