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Red Raider Hardball :: Texas Tech Sweeps Red Raider Classic

Date Start Time Texas Tech
Starting Pitcher
Starting Pitcher
2.19.10 4:00 p.m. Chad Bettis
(W, 1-0)
Malcom Thomas-Jacksonville St.
(L, 0-1)
W: 8-3
2.20.10 4:00 p.m. Brett Bruening
(W, 1-0)
Bobby Brosnahan-Michigan
(L, 0-1)
W: 4-2
2.21.10 11:00 p.m. Louis Head
(W, 1-0)
Travis Smith-Michigan
(L, 0-1)
W: 18-5
2.21.10 2:00 p.m. Brandon Petite
(W, 1-0)
Kevin Elwell-Jacksonville St.
(L, 0-1)
W: 11-8
LF - Michael Reed (Sr.); CF - Taylor Ashby (Sr.); RF - Barrett Barnes (Fr.)
SS - Joey Kenworthy (Sr.)     2ND - Garrett Totten (So.);
3RD - Nick Popescu (Jr.)                                  1ST - Stephen Hagen (Jr.)
C - Jeremy Mayo (So.)
DH - Scott LeJeune (So.)

*Click on the score for boxscore. Texas Tech series preview (pdf).

The Games: Game 1 vs. Michigan :: Another solid starting pitching performance from sophomore P Louis Head (5.0 IP; 2 H; 1 R; 0 ER; 2 BB; 2 SO) and JUCO transfer Justin Cooper in his first action as a Red Raider was a little shaky out of the pen, although he only gave up 1 earned run and he did earn his first save of the year, but he also had a 17 run lead (4.0 IP; 5 H; 4 R; 1 ER; 1 BB; 3 SO). Offensively, it's a question of who didn't contribute to the 18 runs, which included 8 runs in the 5th inning alone. DH Scott LeJeune had 3 hits and 5 RBI (3-6; 2 R; 5 RBI; 1 HR) and 3B Nick Popescu had 4 hits and 2 RBI (4-5; 3 R; 2 RBI). LF Michael Reed was perfect on the day, going 5 for 5 (5-5; 4 R; 3 RBI; 1 HR) and also chipped in a home run as well.

Game 2 vs. Jacksonville St. :: A hodge-podge pitching group helped finish the season sweep of Jacksonville St. and Michigan. P Jordan Stern (4.0 IP; 2 H; 0 ER; 4 BB; 3 SO) finished the day with a pretty good line and left the game with a 9 run lead, but the bullpen (and this is the case with almost every bullpen) is young and got some good work figuring things out. Freshman Brandon Petite (2.1 IP; 3 ER; 3 BB; 2 SO) struggled a bit but got the win. Fellow youngsters freshman Scott Erzinger (0.1 IP; 1 H; 2 ER; 1 BB; 0 SO) and sophomore John Neely (1.0 IP; 2 H; 1 ER; 1 BB; 1 SO) helped to get the ball off to closer Jay Johnson (1.1 IP; 1 H; 2 ER; 1 BB; 1 SO) earned his second save of the year. It was a collective effort at the plate with 7 players having at least 1 RBI. 3B Nick Popescu (2-3; 2 RBI; 2 BB) and C Bo Altobelli - in his first game as a Red Raider - (1-3; 2 RBI) led the offense.

Recaps: LAJ's George Watson and DT's Adam Coleman have recaps for the last two games of this series. The LAJ also has some great photos over the weekend. Here's Watson on Sunday's action:

The first two games of the season tested the Texas Tech baseball team’s top-end talent, and it came through to the tune of two victories.

Sunday’s doubleheader was going to test its depth, and for the most part the Red Raiders excelled in that area as well. Tech earned two more wins with victories of 18-5 over Michigan and 11-8 over Jacksonville State in the final day of the Red Raider Classic, getting solid offensive performances from several players, some who had not yet played.

On the mound, though, Tech (4-0) was not as sharp the deeper it got into its staff. Some were erratic but effective enough to give up minimal runs. Others were just as erratic but nowhere near as effective.

And Coleman highlights the play of freshman RF Barrett Barnes, who per LAJ's George Watson was named the MVP for this weekend's tournament:

It was enough to allow the Tech hitters to jump out to a substantial lead, and most of the offense came from the freshman Barnes.

The Fort Bend Austin product went 3-for-4 with two home runs and six RBIs. The performance was a special one, too. Barnes is the first freshman to go yard on opening day since Roger Kieschnick in 2006. He also was named the Red Raider Classic’s Most Valuable Player.

Teammates appreciated the freshman’s standout play. It even got Barnes a shaving cream pie in the face while doing interviews with the media on Friday.

Watson also had some more candid thoughts in his blog, Short Hops and sounds very confident about the pitching:

It is evident from this weekend that Tech will be able to run out a starting rotation that will compete with anyone in the conference — and I mean anyone, even Texas. Chad Bettis (Friday), Bobby Doran (Saturday) and Louis Head (Sunday) combined for 20 innings of work and allowed just three earned runs. That equates to a 1.35 ERA. They all worked both sides of the plate and each had solid command of 3-4 pitches. That will get it done in most leagues.

The top end of the bullpen is also solid. I liked the work by Brett Bruening over three innings in a Saturday game that was tied from the third through the eighth inning. Jay Johnson will make an effective closer for the Red Raiders as he already has two saves in three appearances. And Justin Cooper was effective as most of his hits and runs allowed came at the end of a 4-inning stint.

Official site Post Game Quotes:

On the test his pitching depth had today in games three and four:
"I thought (Jordan) Stern did a good job, they didn't score. He pitched around some jams. He wasn't very efficient though so that got us in an inning earlier. Brandon (Petite), being a first-timer, wasn't very efficient either. He got some people out for us though and did a good job. Same with Scott (Erzinger), he walked a guy. It was just the combination of giving the opponent too many base runners. We hit too many guys too. I think John (Neely) was amped up and throwing the ball all over the place a little bit. But if you look back at how many runs they scored, which was eight, I know we had eight or ten runners for base on balls or hitting someone so we'll clean that up. I thought our pitching staff did a great job of that the last three games by really minimizing the efficiency issues. The other teams really had to get a hit to get on base. That's how you have to play. We played good defense this weekend. I think the pitching will clean up now that some of them got experience, like Brandon (Petite) and (John) Neely. Those guys are reliable guys and they will be."

[Note by Seth C, 02/22/10 6:17 AM CST ] Fox 34 with some video of Saturday night's win over Michigan: