No. 2 Texas Tech pushed its winning streak to 10 games after sweeping a midweek series against Texas Southern in Lubbock. The Red Raiders defeated the Tigers 8-4 in a delayed game on Tuesday and then crushed them 14-7 on Wednesday afternoon.
The Texas Tech (24-4, 3-0 in Big 12) offense exploded against Texas Southern who coming into the series had a team ERA of 7.54 and teams were hitting .297 against them. In the two games the Red Raiders hit .447 against the Tigers and totaled 38 hits, 21 RBI and four home runs.
The guy with the most power at the plate was freshman John McMillon who hit a home run off the video board on Tuesday and then hit another home run on his first at-bat on Wednesday nearly in the same spot. Although, those are the only two hits he got in the series.
The middle of the lineup which consisted of Hunter Hargrove, Michael Berglund, and Connor Beck made noise in the second game going 9-for-16 at the plate with six RBI and no strikeouts despite not having Tanner Gardner. The fact that the Tigers committed seven errors and missed many balls in the outfield also helped.
“It was impressive,” Tadlock said about McMillon’s home runs. “He’s got real power. He’s a fun guy to watch.”
As mentioned earlier, it is impressive the offense put up such big numbers despite losing Gardner in the first game and Ryan Long in the second. Tadlock confirmed Gardner has a mild ankle sprain and Long dislocated his shoulder but the trainer popped it right back into place. He added that he expects to have them both back by the weekend.
“He’s an old soccer player so he’s had some sprained ankles. He’s had one every year since he has been here, so he recovers from them quicker than most people,” Tadlock said about Gardner. “We are pretty optimistic on it. He was walking on it today. Guys that can hit like him, most of them can hit on one leg.”
After playing questionable defense in last week’s midweek series, Texas Tech was able to get things back on track this week. They committed one error that came from behind the plate but other than that played clean defense. This helped out the guys on the mound both nights.
Texas Tech’s pitching staff on Tuesday was more solid than Wednesday. It started with Erikson Lanning who pitched three innings only allowing three hits. After the long rain delay Jose Quezada came to his relief and pitched two scoreless innings, which was followed by Ty Harpenau who had only allowed one run until the ninth inning where Texas Southern scored three.
It didn’t come that easy on Wednesday. Texas Tech threw six guys after starter Caleb Freeman came out of the game before a single out in the fifth. The sharpest of those were Jacob Patterson, Jake McDonald and John McMillon. The three of them combined only allowed one hit and struck out four.
Although, Texas Tech uncharacteristically walked three guys which the bases loaded in the fifth inning, which made it a one-run game. The offense came back and responded with nine runs in the next two innings, but Tadlock said those things happen to young pitchers sometimes.
Tadlock said he didn’t start the usual midweek guy, John Henry Gonzalez because they wanted to save him for the weekend against Oklahoma. He was surprised it took that many guys on Wednesday, but said it feels good to get those guys in a rhythm.
The Red Raiders will get back to conference play this weekend in Norman, which is good timing as Hunter Hargrove said after the game “everything is starting to click in the right direction.”