Photo By Steven Chapman

Texas Tech Opens CWS Against Big 12 Rival TCU

Texas Tech will open the College World Series against TCU for the second time in three years when the Big 12 rivals square off 2 p.m. Sunday in Omaha (Neb.).

The Red Raiders are back in Omaha, Nebraska for the College World Series under coach Tim Tadlock looking to claim its first ever national baseball title.

Texas Tech opens the fray against in-state, in-conference, in-whatever else you can think of rival TCU 2 p.m (CT) Sunday at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha and will air on ESPNU. RaiderPower.com will also be providing updates throughout the Red Raiders' run.

Following Tech's matchup with TCU on Sunday, the Red Raiders will play either Florida or Coastal Carolina, the other two teams in their bracket, on Tuesday in their second game of the CWS. The winner of that double-elimination, four-team bracket will face the victor of the other bracket, which consists of Oklahoma State, UC Santa Barbara, Miami (FLA) and Arizona, in a three-game series for the national championship.

Tech announced Friday that freshman lefty Steven Gingery (4-2, 3.25 ERA in 62.3 innings pitched), who started Game 2 of the Super Regional series last weekend allowing just one run on five hits, two walks with five strikeouts in five innings of work, will start Sunday.

Redshirt freshman right hander Jared Janczak (7-3, 2.40 ERA in 75 innings pitched) will take the hill for TCU.

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Super Intense Super Regional

Clutch pitching, and timely offense is sending Texas Tech to its second College World Series appearance in the last three years. After dropping Game 1 of their three-game Super Regional series against East Carolina last weekend, the Red Raiders won two consecutive games, including an 11-0 shut out in the winner-take-all contest on Sunday. 

After the Red Raiders dropped the first game 8-6 to the Pirates, coach Tadlock dramatically switched up the lineup the following game. He moved Eric Gutierrez to the two-hole due to his offensive slump and it worked. Gutierrez came through with the most timely hit of the postseason, a two-out, two-RBI single up the middle in the top of the 13th inning to win an epic Game 2, 3-1. 

That caught the Texas Tech offense on fire. Many were reminded what the team is capable of at the plate during the Red Raiders’ 11-0 rout in the deciding game Sunday as they ran through seven East Carolina pitchers, after getting past their starter one out into the game. 

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Without the magic on the mound in the Super Regional, Texas Tech’s season would be over. Many were pleasantly surprised by Robert Dugger’s five shutout innings in Game 2 to buy the Texas Tech offense time to get the clutch hit from Gutierrez. Duggar only allowed two hits and tied his career high of five strikeouts. 

It continued with freshman Erikson Lanning who gave his best and longest start of his short career on Sunday. With all hands on deck in the bullpen, many thought Lanning would go for no more than four or five innings. Instead, he gave Tech seven shutout innings and sat down six batters, a career-high. 

Once more, Texas Tech’s pitching staff is headed to Omaha with some momentum as the Red Raiders held East Carolina scoreless through the final 16 innings of the series and only allowed one run through the last 25 innings. 

Familiar Foes

TCU who has become Texas Tech’s baseball rival is headed to Omaha for the third consecutive year and fourth time in the last seven years. They beat No. 4 national seed Texas A&M in the winner-take-all game 4-1. 

The Horned Frogs got off to a good start in College Station with a 8-2 victory in the first game of the series. Redshirt-freshman Jared Janczak threw just over six shutout innings and freshman Luken Baker added a three-run homer to give him some run support. Baker is the one to watch on the TCU offense as he has hit five home runs in just the postseason and nine overall. 

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The Aggies bounced back the next day and put up three runs on the Horned Frogs and survived for one more game with a 7-1 win. Texas A&M scored five off of six hits and two walks against starter Mitchell Traver and then tacked on three more on the three-man bullpen effort by TCU. 

It all came down to Sunday and the TCU pitching staff was ready to finish it off. It was a combination of Brian Howard and Durbin Feltman on the mound who put the Horned Frogs in the position to win. Howard threw an absolute gem striking out eight and only allowing one run on two hits through seven innings. He ended strong retiring 16 of his last 17 batters. 

It was tied in the seventh inning, the Aggies started to meltdown. They handed the lead to TCU with a bases loaded walk, after one of the runners got on base due to an error. Then a sac-fly and a wild pitch let them score two more.

Feltman came in to relieve Howard and retired all six batters he faced in order to get his eighth save of the season and ultimately send TCU to the College World Series...again. 

Series History

There is no doubt that these conference rivals are very familiar with each other. The regular season series between these two teams in Fort Worth was a defining moment for both of them. 

Texas Tech came up big and was able to take the series after battling back on Sunday to get a 3-1 win despite getting beat in second game of the series 13-6. It marked the fifth conference series win and seventh win against a top 10 team this season.

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In the first game of the series Davis Martin, who will most likely take the hill in Omaha, had one of the biggest moments so far as a Red Raider. He threw six and a third innings holding TCU to three runs on two hits and two walks and struck out three. Robert Dugger came in relief only allowing one more run and Texas Tech won 7-3. 

Pitching and defense is what ultimately led to the series win over the Horned Frogs. In the final game Ty Damron started on the mound for the Red Raiders and put up five shutout innings before allowing the only run TCU would get in the game. That brought out Hayden Howard who limited TCU to just one hit, despite no run support while he was on the mound. 

The powerful Texas Tech offense was quite limited by the TCU pitching staff as well. They scored their three runs in the third and fifth inning on a total of six hits, three of which came from Tyler Neslony. He ended that series with a .636 average (7-for-11).

The two teams also met up in the first round of the College World Series in 2014.  Texas Tech fell to TCU 3-2 despite holding a 2-1 lead for the majority of the game. The Horned Frogs pulled off a win after scoring two runs in the bottom of the eighth and hold off a possible rally by Texas Tech. The Red Raiders were eliminated the next game by Ole Miss who defeated them 2-1 in an elimination game.

The Big 12 conference is a pitching rich conference, and that will not change as they head to Omaha. The player to watch on the mound for the Horned Frogs is freshman righthander Jared Janczak who leads the team with a 2.40 ERA, but you can’t forget about TCU’s electric bullpen. Right handers Durbin Feltman and Brian Trieglaff have 1.76 and 2.41 ERAs respectively and are capable of shutting any game down. 

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