Texas Tech will open the postseason in Lubbock this weekend after being named the No. 5 national seed by the NCAA selection committee. They will host the No. 2 seed Dallas Baptist, No. 3 seed New Mexico and No. 4 seed Fairfield.
Texas Tech will open the postseason in Lubbock this weekend after being named the No. 5 national seed by the NCAA selection committee.
The Red Raiders will take on Dallas Baptist, New Mexico and Fairfield in the friendly confines of Dan Law Field for a shot to advance in the NCAA tournament.
The regional begins with Texas Tech (41-16) hosting Fairfield at 2 p.m. Friday followed by Dallas Baptist and New Mexico who will face off that evening at 6 p.m. The weekend tournament is double elimination and the victor will go on to face the winner of the Charlottesville regional in the Super Regionals.
Now the breakdown of each team Texas Tech could possibly face this weekend.
Let’s start off with Texas Tech’s first opponent, Fairfield, the No. 4 regional seed. This will be the first meeting between the Red Raiders and the Stags in program history. Fairfield is making its first postseason appearance in program history after winning the MAAC Championship last weekend. The Stags wrapped up the regular season with a 32-24 overall record.
Fairfield beat Siena 18-2 in the title game to claim its first ever NCAA tournament berth and also set the MAAC record for the most runs and hits (19) in a conference championship game. The Stags also clinched the MAAC regular season title after finishing with a 17-7 conference record.
Fairfield will face Texas Tech, the No. 5 national seed and regional host, after struggling to an 0-5 record against ranked opponents in the regular season. The Stags were swept by No. 6 North Carolina in a three-game tilt in March before dropping a two-game mid-week series to No. 8 North Carolina State just days later.
Fairfield is led by senior outfielder Jake Salpietro, who was named Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week by College Baseball News due to his outstanding performance in the MAAC tournament. Salpietro also added NEIBA Division I Player of the Week honors.. He hit .692 (9-for-13) with seven runs scored and five RBI in his final MAAC tournament appearance.
DALLAS BAPTIST (41-17)
Dallas Baptist, the No. 2 regional seed, punched its NCAA postseason ticket by winning the Missouri Valley Conference tournament last weekend. The Patriots also secured the regular-season title by a two-game margin after finishing 15-5.
Dallas Baptist won the conference tournament in dramatic fashion with a 4-3 walk off win over Missouri State to send them on the road to Omaha. This will be their third-straight and sixth overall NCAA tournament appearance. The Patriots, who joined the Division I ranks in 2004, first qualified for the tournament in 2008, and have since made five trips in the last six seasons (2011, 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2016).
Texas Tech has met Dallas Baptist a total of 23 times since the start of the 2004 season and Tech is 15-8 all-time against the Patriots. The last time the Red Raiders played the Patriots was in two midweek games in 2014 and Texas Tech won both of them outscoring them 23-7 in those games.
But before Texas Tech, the Patriots will play New Mexico, who they swept in a three-game series earlier this season in Albuquerque when the Lobos were ranked No. 24. That game will take place 6 p.m. Friday.
NEW MEXICO (38-21)
New Mexico, the No. 3 regional seed, is no stranger to Texas Tech baseball. The two teams have faced off 113 times. In fact, the Lobos are tied with Rice as the Red Raiders’ most common non-conference opponent in program history.
New Mexico clinched its postseason appearance after winning the Mountain West Conference tournament. The Lobos run-ruled Nevada 14-4 in the championship game and outscored their three tourney opponents 23-8 overall, but it could have been a lot worse. They only used four pitchers in the tournament, keeping their staff fresh for the Lubbock regional.
The Lobos are no stranger to the postseason, either. They will be making their sixth appearance in the NCAA tournament and fifth since 2010. The Lobos last took part in the NCAA regionals in 2013 which capped a four-year run of postseason play. That last appearance they took part in the Fullerton regional and were a tough out, only losing by a single run in the 13th inning of their elimination game.
This season Texas Tech faced New Mexico three times, taking two out of the three, but the Lobos won the most recent matchup in April, snapping Tech’s 10-game winning streak.