Before the season started first baseman Eric Gutierrez alluded to this being a big year for Texas Tech baseball, and said the last time he felt this confident in his team is when they made the trip to Omaha.
This program is seeing some of those lofty preseason goals come to fruition.
Texas Tech (24-9; 11-1) made history this weekend on their tough five-game road trip against the No. 5 and No. 16 teams in the country. The Red Raiders move to 11-1 in conference play having won the last 10 games in Big 12 play marking the longest streak in program history.
The Red Raiders split a two-game series with No. 5 Florida State in Tallahassee, making their timely scheduling look genius. Tech dropped the first game to the Seminoles 10-1, after the Seminoles bullpen came through with 5.1 shut out innings in relief. In that game the Florida State pitching staff combined for 10 strikeouts and only one walk.
Texas Tech’s offensive struggle would end there. They went on to beat the Seminoles 8-4 the following day, marking their fourth win over a top ten opponent. Texas Tech’s bats got hot early as they were able to score five runs in the first innings, and even kept it going in the bottom of the ninth where they pushed their lead to six runs after a home run from Eric Gutierrez.
Michael Davis hit two doubles in the contest and that would spark him for the rest of the road trip. Davis was honored as the Big 12 Player of the week after he hit 11 RBI on the week, and closed the Oklahoma State series with a .500 average (6-for-12) which included two doubles and a team-leading nine RBI.
“He’s hot right now. We see someone like that and we try to buy in to that and say hey let’s do my job,” Gutierrez said.
After splitting the series with the Seminoles, the Red Raiders are now 6-3 in midweek games this year.
Texas Tech continued their road trip straight to Stillwater for another challenging Big 12 series. Before the three-game tilt commenced Oklahoma State was right behind the Red Raiders in the conference standings and ranked No. 16 compared to Tech who was ranked No. 19.
The Red Raiders made history by sweeping the Cowboys for the first time ever, and marking the longest streak in conference play by this program and the fifth longest in the conference. They started their third straight Big 12 sweep with a 5-1 win in the series opener.
Needless to say, confidence is really high following the successful trip. Even right-hander Ryan Moseley, who has been struggling with confidence in his command all season, was finally able to get 4.2 shut out innings in relief Friday and perhaps get back on track. Many players agreed it was good to see the old Moseley back on the mound.
Tyler Floyd said Moseley’s slider is “for sure big league stuff” and if that he can get in the strike zone it’s is hard to hit. He added he was excited to see the old Moseley that he is used to catching come back.
Moseley relieved freshman starter Davis Martin who continues to have good consistent outings. He leads the team with a 1.70 ERA right now after going for 4.1 innings only allowing one run on seven hits, one walk and recording six strikeouts.
The offense kind of busted open for the rest of the series in the seventh inning after scoring three runs, but coach Tim Tadlock said the pitching is what got them going this series.
“The pitching really set the tone for the whole deal…Moseley gets out of the bases loaded deal and right after that it’s funny you get a couple big hits when you needed it…Without Davis Martin and Ryan Moseley doing what they do you don’t have a chance to do that,” he said
The next day Tech was able to clinch the series with an 8-2 win over Oklahoma State. The offense hit a season high of 17 hits as 11 different players, including all nine of the starters were able to record a hit.
Designated hitter Cory Raley led the team going 4-for-5 with four RBI including an RBI triple in the ninth to score Tanner Gardner all the way from first. This marked the second time this season; third time in his career he has recorded four hits in a game.
The Tech pitching staff continued to do work and through two full games only allowed three runs. Steven Gingery came up with a solid start once again only allowing one run on five hits and recorded four strikeouts. The bullpen came through again as Robert Dugger and Hayden Howard only allowed one more across the plate on four hits
This team kept rolling through this series and scored nine runs in the first four innings of the final game of the series, run ruling Oklahoma State 15-5 for the series sweep.
Michael Davis had a big day as he recorded seven RBI in the contest, which is the most for a Red Raider since Chris Richburg against Dallas Baptist in 2007. He cleared the bases twice, once in the third and again in the six with two outs.
Tadlock joked when asked, “That is a big day, isn’t it?” He continued to say that Davis made adjustment throughout the weekend that lead to his success on Sunday.
The offense was hot all the way up and down the lineup. Cory Raley continued hitting the ball hard on Sunday and got one out of the park, marking his fifth homer this season. Tyler Neslony and Eric Gutierrez also had multi-hit games finishing 3-for-5 and 3-for-4 respectively.
This offense broke a season high for hits (18), which they had set the day before with 17 hits and bumped their season high runs to 15.
“Kind of last year we were relying on two or three guys to get big hits, but now we are getting big hits in the 7 or 8 hole, and means if the top guys are hitting, which isn’t that often it seems like. One through nine we are really putting good at bats together,” senior catcher Tyler Floyd said.
This marked Tech's first ever sweep on the road against a nationally-ranked opponent during Big 12 play. This team, rightfully so, was very excited about the successful road trip, but now that their home they know it’s back to business.
Next up, Texas Tech will host Sam Houston State for a two-game mid-week series beginning Tuesday and then take on San Diego State in a three-game tilt this weekend. The last time they faced the Bearkats was on February 24 where they came back from a 3-0 deficit to go on and beat them 11-6 in Huntsville.
“More than anything you know their guys are really looking forward to coming up there and really it’s a little set up for us,” Tadlock said. “We need to make sure we are on top of our game coming off the weekend where we are feeling really good about it, at the same time understand we have to show up tomorrow.”