Texas Tech is 12-4 through there first 16 games and it has definitely been a roller coaster full of highs and lows for the Red Raiders the past three weeks.
First, take note that as of Thursday No. 13 Texas Tech still leads the conference in wins (12), batting average (.304), on-base percentage (.393) and doubles (43).
Texas Tech started off strong by getting to consecutive series sweeps against San Francisco during opening weekend and then Northern Illinois. Their only loss in that two-week period was to Nevada, a midweek game in between the two series.
Although, the issue with baseball season starting in February is the cold weather. That plagued Texas Tech’s third scheduled series against Sacramento State. They were able to squeeze one of the four games in, which Texas Tech won 4-3.
Heading into March is when the Red Raiders started to struggle. After five days off due to bad weather Texas Tech played Abilene Christian, who had lost their first six games. That game ran all the way until the 16th inning.
After scoring in the fifth inning against the Wildcats the Red Raiders were shut out for a consecutive ten innings. Finally, after ACU scored in the top of the 16th, Tech felt some pressure and brought Hunter Hargrove and Ryan Long off the bench to pinch-hit. It worked. Ryan Long came up and hit one to the left field wall for a walk off RBI.
In that game Texas Tech had seven pitchers and seven guys come off the bench to aid the offense.
Following the game coach Tim Tadlock said it was understandable the guys would be rusty and he was happy to have that momentum to go on the road to Cal Fullerton.
The road trip was a rough one for the Red Raiders. This was the first time they had ever traveled to the West Coast and they were swept by Cal State Fullerton.
The Red Raiders faced some tough pitching in California. They were only able to get a total of 21 hits and 7 runs through those three games. Tadlock mentioned the Titans had an impressive fastball command.
RHP Johnathon Tripp said that trip was not only a learning experience for the young guys but even the experienced guys on the team.
“We have never gone out west, there is a different style of play,” Tripp said, “and we got to enjoy it, but we learned a lot over there and will incorporate it into our game.”
Texas Tech came back to Lubbock and swept New Mexico State in a two-game midweek series. It wasn’t all that pretty though. Texas Tech was still not producing offensively the first game, which ran into 12 innings. They finally beat the Aggies after walk off RBI from Zach Davis. They had a total of eight hits, which turned into four runs.
The next game Texas Tech had a four-run inning, which hadn’t happened in three weeks. That inning is what ultimately pushed them ahead of the Aggies to win 7-4. Although they did miss out on two bases loaded opportunities and another scoring opportunity with runners on the corners.
Eric Gutierrez, who has had a total of two hits since facing Sacramento State, finally broke his slump with a 2 RBI double in the second game against New Mexico State. His batting average stands at .316.
Texas Tech has had some younger guys step up, which has been a bright spot in this struggling offense. One of those is freshman Michael Davis who has started five games this season. He average is .333 and he has had a total of eight hits, six runs in the seven games he has played.
Davis came up big in the second game against New Mexico. He hit a 2 RBI single in the second inning to push Tech ahead and then he started the sixth inning with a double.
Also, newcomers Cory Raley and Quinn Carpenter have stepped up to the plate and produced good stuff. They average .440 and .417 respectively. Raley has been leading off the lineup and Carpenter batted in the five hole on Wednesday night.
The Red Raiders have only had four players with 15 or more starts through 16 games this season. This really speaks to the depth of this team, which has really shown throughout the entire season thus far.
Watching Texas Tech so far you can tell there is a sense of competition between the players and Tim Tadlock will simply put in the guys who are producing at the plate. This lineup is constantly changing, compared to last year’s.
Texas Tech will take these two wins and carry that momentum back to the West Coast this weekend. They will play a three game series against another top-30 ball club, San Diego State.
The Aztec’s are 14-3 and have only suffered losses to New Mexico in Albuquerque and the second game of the series against UC Riverside.
This will be the perfect opportunity for Texas Tech to go get a solid road win to pick the season back up to the point where it started. Coach Tadlock said they are going to take a lot of what they learned at Fullerton and take it one day at a time.
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