Despite Texas Tech coming off a College World Series run there were several question marks going into the 2017 season. One weekend in and the Red Raiders have come up with some impressive answers.
The Red Raiders opened the 2017 campaign by going 3-1 with two wins over Western Illinois and splitting a two-game series with Mississippi State in Starkville, MS.
Texas Tech crushed Western Illinois 15-1 in the season opener on Friday before clipping Mississippi State 5-2 later that night in front of over 10,000 Bulldogs fans at Dudy Noble Field. Solid starts from Davis Martin and Steven Gingrey got things rolling for Texas Tech.
Martin looked like he picked up right where he left off last season against Western Illinois as he only allowed two runs on four hits in six innings. He was backed up by Ty Harpenau and John McMillon who combined to allow just two hits the rest of the game. The three of them accounted for 13 strikeouts.
The solid pitching continued even as the competition increased with Mississippi State. Gingrey went seven innings only allowing one run on four hits and struck out eight batters. The bullpen continued to keep them in it only allowing one run on three hits the rest game.
You wouldn’t even know Texas Tech was replacing half of its offense after putting up a total of 20 runs on Friday. That effort was led by junior Hunter Hargrove who went 6-for-9 on Friday with three doubles, a homer, and five RBI. Newcomers Josh Jung, Grant Little and Michael Berglund accounted for a third of the hits on Friday.
The newcomer that really showed the most promise this weekend was Jung. He hit .466, including two doubles but also made fantastic plays at third base. In the first inning of the final game against Mississippi State he was involved in all three outs.
This pattern continued on Saturday as Ryan Shetter turned in a solid performance on the mound and Texas Tech put up 13 runs to defeat Western Illinois 13-5.
Michael Davis had a big game after going 3-for-5 and hitting a two-run homer in the seventh inning. Although, Davis did not account for one hit against the Mississippi State pitching staff.
In the first three games Texas Tech totaled 33 runs, an area where many people thought they would struggle. The pitching staff battled out of some jams and displayed confidence and composure. The final game of the series Texas Tech dropped it to Mississippi State 8-5 after not getting a quality start from Erikson Lanning.
Despite starting the game with a 4-0 lead, Lanning only lasted two and a third inning after allowing three runs on four hits. Junior transfer Jose Quezada came in relief and could not find the zone. He allowed three more runs in one and two-thirds of an inning.
Jacob Patterson and Parker Mushinski made an effort to shut things down and did so besides allowing a home run to Mississippi State’s Brant Blaylock. Hunter Hargrove tried to sway the momentum back to the Red Raiders with a home run in the eighth inning, but it didn’t work. The offense couldn’t find an answer for Mississippi State’s freshman reliever Riley Self who in the middle of the game retired ten straight batters.
While there are areas that the Red Raiders can improve, going 3-1 on the road is a solid way to start the season. Texas Tech will return home and host New Mexico State on Tuesday, which will start a six-game homestand.