Tech Baseball Looks to Build on Historic Year

Expectations are high following the Red Raiders first ever appearance in the College World Series last season. RaiderPower.com takes a look at who is returning, the newcomers and the season schedule.

Texas Tech baseball opening day is this weekend and it is total fever pitch in Lubbock, Texas.

The Red Raiders are starting the 2015 season with their first College World Series appearance under their belt, leading to high preseason rankings and record ticket sales.

Let’s flashback to this summer when the Red Raiders went on their historic postseason run. It started with wins against Columbia and Miami in Florida during the regional round sending them back to Lubbock, where the super regional round was held. The stands at Dan Law Field were filled with 4,800 fans, which helped Texas Tech sweep No. 10 Charleston and put them on the road to Omaha.

Ultimately, the Red Raiders fell to No. 2 TCU, and No. 4 Ole Miss pushing them out of the championship, but they still made history with the appearance.

The trip to Omaha put the Tech baseball program on the radar nationally and since they have received high rankings in the polls for this upcoming season. The Red Raiders received the highest preseason ranking in school history from Baseball America by coming in fifth.

They have received high rankings across the board coming in No. 9 by Collegiate Baseball, No. 12 by Perfect Game, No. 13 by USA Today and No. 16 by D1baseball.com. Tech was picked to finish fourth in the Big 12 behind TCU, Texas, who also made CWS appearances last season, and Oklahoma State.

The atmosphere at Dan Law Field is expected to be better than ever as Texas Tech sold out its season ticket allotment for the first time.

With crowds nearing almost 5,000 at the end of the season, Texas Tech fans have made "The Law" a tough place for opposing teams to play. Last season Texas Tech finished 45-21 overall but won 33 of the 37 of games played in Lubbock.

Along with all the new fans there will be lots of new faces on the field this season. Texas Tech’s head coach Tim Tadlock and staff did a impressive job acquiring new talent to the team which has 17 newcomers, 11 of which are junior college transfers.

Perhaps the most notable newcomer isn't a new face to Tech fans at all as Red Raider quarterback Patrick Mahomes will split time this spring as an outfielder on the diamond and signal caller on the gridiron in spring practice.

Mahomes, who could see some time on the mound as well, was a four-year starter at Whitehouse High School, where he was an all-state selection twice and tabbed all-district every year. He batted .400 with three homers at the plate and tossed a no-hitter on the mound as a senior.

The recruiting class as a whole was ranked 13th by Collegiate Baseball matching the highest ever ranking for Texas Tech and 23rd in the nation by Baseball America. It was also the top recruiting class in the Big 12. With a mixture of newcomers and the CWS veterans, expect players to be rotating positions all over the field.

The most notable returner who has hauled in a slew of honors since last season is Eric Gutierrez, who batted .302 last season with 12 homers, 58 RBIs, a .539 slugging percentage and .399 on-base. He has been named to four preseason All-American teams. He was named first team All-American by National Collegiate Baseball Writers’ Association, Collegiate Baseball and second team all-American by Perfect Game and D1Baseball.com

In addition,, Gutierrez broke the home run derby record this summer in Omaha after belting 52 dingers.

Overall, the returner’s positions will stay similar to last year. You can expect Gutierrez at first, Bryant Burleson at second, Tim Proudfoot (batted .309 with a .990 fielding percentage) to the right of him at shortstop, and most likely Ryan Long (.212, 22 RBIs) at third since the graduation of Jake Barrios.

Burleson returns for his senior season as the Big 12 active leader in games played (167), at-bats (600), hits (160), doubles (45) and total bases (219).

Junior Tyler Nelsony is another big bat in the lineup, who despite missing significant time last season due to injury, batted .375 with four home runs, six triples, 12 doubles and 34 RBIs in 43 games played.

Catcher is where you will likely see the most rotation.

Last season’s starting catcher, Hunter Redman, signed with the Dodgers. You can expect a rotation at the position between junior Tyler Floyd, who started 18 games last season, and junior transfer Nick Marshall who is more reliable hitter and can get on base. Tadlock has even been experimenting with putting Burleson behind the plate as well.

Starting on the mound, I predict you will see senior lefty Cameron Smith, who I always referred to as Ol’ Faithful for his success as a relief pitcher, but took on a starting role towards the end of the season. Smith finished with an 8-3 record in 2014 to go along with a 2.79 ERA and 44 strikeouts in 67.2 innings pitched.

Dylan Dusek, who returns after a stellar freshman season (8-0, 1.94 ERA, 38 K’s in 78.1 innings pitched) which included Coral Gables Regional MVP honors, will be a major cog once again.

Junior Johnathan Tripp (0-1, 2.73 ERA, 16 K’s in 26.1 innings pitched), sophomore Ryan Mosley (1-2, 2.84 ERA, 41 K’s in 50.2 innings), who had starts in regional and the CWS and junior righty Dominic Moreno (4-5, 3.14 ERA, 56 K’s in 66 innings) will also be heavy in the rotation.

Texas Tech is stacked with talented guys on the mound. In addition to the ones mentioned above expect to see senior Corey Taylor (5-3, 2.61 ERA, 32 K’s in 48.1 innings), juniors Dalton Brown (2-0, 4.05 ERA, 17 K’s in 20 innings), and Justin Bethard (0-0, 4.60 ERA, 17 K’s in 29.1 innings) among others to be relied upon from the bullpen.

First pitch is set for 2 p.m. Friday against San Francisco, followed by a double header Saturday and the final game of the series on Sunday. Ryan Moseley will be the sixth underclassman to start for the Red Raiders on Opening Day since 1987. Other probably starters for the series include junior college transfer Quinn Carpenter and Dylan Dusek.
2015 Texas Tech Baseball Schedule
Date   Opponent Notes
2/13/2015 vs San Francisco  
2/14/2015 vs San Francisco  
2/14/2015 vs San Francisco  
2/15/2015 vs San Francisco  
2/17/2015 vs Nevada  
2/20/2015 vs Northern Illinois Brooks Wallace Memorial Series
2/21/2015 vs Northern Illinois Brooks Wallace Memorial Series
2/21/2015 vs Northern Illinois Brooks Wallace Memorial Series
2/22/2015 vs Northern Illinois Brooks Wallace Memorial Series
2/22/2015 at Abilene Christian  
2/26/2015 vs Sacramento State  
2/27/2015 vs Sacramento State  
2/28/2015 vs Sacramento State  
3/1/2015 vs Sacramento State  
3/6/2015 at Cal State Fullerton  
3/7/2015 at Cal State Fullerton  
3/8/2015 at Cal State Fullerton  
3/10/2015 vs New Mexico State  
3/11/2015 vs New Mexico State  
3/13/2015 at San Diego State  
3/14/2015 at San Diego State  
3/15/2015 at San Diego State  
3/17/2015 vs Oral Roberts  
3/18/2015 vs Oral Roberts  
3/20/2015 at Oklahoma*  
3/21/2015 at Oklahoma*  
3/22/2015 at Oklahoma*  
3/24/2015 vs New Mexico  
3/27/2015 vs Kansas*  
3/28/2015 vs Kansas*  
3/29/2015 vs Kansas*  
3/31/2015 at New Mexico  
4/2/2015 vs Texas Christian*  
4/3/2015 vs Texas Christian*  
4/4/2015 vs Texas Christian*  
4/7/2015 at Oral Roberts  
4/10/2015 vs Baylor*  
4/11/2015 vs Baylor*  
4/12/2015 vs Baylor*  
4/17/2015 at Kansas State*  
4/18/2015 at Kansas State*  
4/19/2015 at Kansas State*  
4/21/2015 vs Abilene Christian at Midland, TX
4/24/2015 vs Oklahoma State*  
4/25/2015 vs Oklahoma State*  
4/26/2015 vs Oklahoma State*  
4/28/2015 vs Grand Canyon  
4/29/2015 vs Grand Canyon  
5/1/2015 at Texas*  
5/2/2015 at Texas*  
5/3/2015 at Texas*  
5/5/2015 vs California  
5/5/2015 vs California  
5/14/2015 at West Virginia*  
5/15/2015 at West Virginia*  
5/16/2015 at West Virginia*  

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