Game 1: Texas Tech wins 9-7 (W: Patterson, 1-0)
Game 2: Texas Tech wins 15-6 (W: Mushinski, 1-0)
Game 3: Texas Tech wins 13-5 (W: Dusek, 1-0)
Game 4: Texas Tech wins 9-7 (W: Damron, 1-0)
Texas Tech baseball lived up to the offseason hype opening with a four-game sweep of San Francisco in front of record-breaking crowds.
The Red Raiders put up big offensive numbers throughout the weekend that ultimately put them ahead of the Dons. In fact, Texas Tech belted 10 or more hits in four straight games for the first time since 2009.
The Red Raiders also posted 46 runs on the board this weekend. The highest scoring game was the second game of the series on Saturday when Texas Tech scored 15 runs, due in large part to a seven-run inning in the bottom of the eighth. Also important to note, Tech produced an eye-popping eight doubles in that contest.
The biggest contributor to the offense was Eric Gutierrez. The junior first baseman reached base safely 16 times out of 19 plate appearances. It was to the point that if there was a guy on base and Gutierrez was up you could almost bet the runner would score, or at least advance. He ended the weekend with a .750 average, three doubles and four RBI.
Another guy who showed his consistency at the plate was Stephen Smith, the lead off in all four games for the Red Raiders. Smith, most notably, walked four times in the third game alone. He said after the game that there was no method behind that and that he was simply not thrown a strike. On the weekend though he had two doubles, seven RBIs to go along with a home run in Game 1.
Now the defense, this is where Tech spiced things up. There were different rotations throughout the weekend in the infield that worked out nicely for the Red Raiders once they got the Opening Day jitters out.
It was a little rocky on Opening Day as Tech committed three errors, which cost them three runs. Starting on day one was Gutierrez on first, Burleson at second, Proudfoot at short, Long at third and Floyd behind the plate. There were over throws at first and little mistakes. This crew did turn a double-play to end the game, though.
On Saturday, freshman Michael Davis came in to play third base and had the most impressive newcomer performance of the weekend. He turned in a fine infield performance but really produced at the plate giving him the starting spot in the next two games. On the weekend he contributed five hits, five runs, including a home run and five RBI.
Another newcomer worth mentioning is Cory Raley, who started the last two games of the series at second base for Burleson. This junior transfer pulled his weight in the lineup by batting .444, with a double, a triple and three runs scored over the weekend.
Another interesting position change that was mentioned before the season was Burleson behind he plate the second game on Saturday. Burleson committed the one error of the game. Starting pitcher Dylan Dusek said after the game that he though "Burley" did a good job back there and that he just needed to clean up a few things. Tyler Floyd’s has a good shot at locking up that position after his offensive performance in the series.
The pitching staff showed their potential as well. Best performance of the weekend goes to relief pitcher Corey Taylor who pitched back-to-back games.
In the first game on Saturday he came in as damage control following Mushinski and shut out San Francisco for two innings before he was pulled after Tech scored seven runs in the bottom of the eighth. He came in the next game and only allowed one run in the two innings pitched. Taylor accounted for three strikeouts in the four innings he pitched.
Both Dominic Moreno and Cameron Smith recorded saves. Moreno’s was in Game 1 after Jackson Lancaster allowed the Dons to score twice, making it a two run game. Smith’s came in the final game when he came in for Damron in the sixth and pitched three shut out innings, and then allowed some runs but in the end Tech still won.
Lastly, Red Raider Nation showed up and was rowdy for opening weekend. A whopping 4,375 fans showed up on Friday for Opening Day, and then 4,418 again on Saturday, which was only 14 tickets shy of a sellout.
Tech completed the four-game sweep with 12 players making their career debut, seven of those being freshman. At least through four games it appears the offseason hype surrounding its young talent and overall depth was not overstated.
Series Recap: Texas Tech Sweeps San Francisco
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