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Double-T Nation Daily Diatribe :: 04.22.10

Red Raiders Win Series, Up Next . . . Kansas:  Texas Tech (22-19) has now won 4 games in a row and yesterday, the Red Raiders shutout Alabama A&M 3-0 behind strong pitching from Brennan Stewart (4.0 IP; 2 H; 0 ER; 1 BB; 4 SO), Colt Farrar (4.2 IP; 2 H; 0 ER; 1 BB; 4 SO) and Chad Bettis (0.1 IP; 0 H; 0 ER; 0 BB; 0 SO).  Bettis got his save on 1 pitch, but earned his 7th save of the year.  3B Nick Popescu (3-4; 3 RBI) was the offense yesterday, driving in all three runs.  Head coach Dan Spencer thinks his team is playing well:

"I think we're playing pretty well. I think it all comes down to how good of a start we get on the mound. If we get a pretty good start, you've got a dogfight on your hands. If we don't, we're going to be trailing and chasing then in to the part of the bullpen that pitches when we're behind like they did Saturday here against Oklahoma. When we get a pretty good start, we've got a pretty good chance to do something. We need to be good offensively early. We were last night, we were at times against Oklahoma this weekend but we need to take a little pressure off that starting pitcher and really execute offensively to give him a little room to breathe with a two, three run lead. Those are nicer to pitch with."

LAJ's George Watson and DT's Adam Coleman both recap yesterday's win.  Here's Watson:

Farrar, one of Tech’s more effective relievers as of late, followed with 42/3 innings of relief to improve to 2-1 on the year. He allowed two hits, walked one and struck out four, coming out after giving up a two-out single in the top of the ninth.

Bettis came in and on his first pitch got Steven Wimpeye on a weak comebacker; his toss to first tied him with former Red Raider Brad Ralston for the school’s career saves mark with 14.

"I wasn’t expecting to throw just one pitch but it’s how it worked out," Bettis said. "To be tied with one of the greats … it’s a great experience and an honor, really. I just hope I can keep it rolling into the weekend and keep it going the rest of the year."

And Coleman:

But while the recent surge has some believing Tech is playing its best baseball right now, Tech utility player Barrett Barnes said this team has to stay motivated as the Big 12 Conference race thickens.

"We definitely gotta keep momentum because we control our own faith," he said. "We keep winning, we’ll be in the position we need to be in. So it’s all up to us to stay focused and hungry, go out there this weekend and get this Kansas series."

National Love:  It seems as if the success that Spencer and his crew are having as of late is starting to be noted nationally as Yahoo! Sports Kendall Rogers has this about the post-season prospects for Texas Tech:

Texas Tech – After making waves at Oregon State a few seasons ago, coach Dan Spencer decided to try his hand at Texas Tech. Well, Spencer is making his presence felt in a big way this season. The Red Raiders still only are three games above .500 at 22-19, but have a solid RPI of 39 and a winning record in the Big 12. Tech still has work to do to make a regional, but at least it is making progress.

Red Raider Draft Prospects:  SB Nation has a new blog, MLB Bonus Baby, and I just happened to click on over and it just so happens that they are discussing the state of Texas pitching prospects.  MLB Bonus Baby's Andy Seiler thinks that Bettis is a late 1st early 2nd round pick, Brett Bruening is a 7th to 12th round pick, and Bobby Doran is a 5th to 8th round pick.  Here's an interesting bit on Bettis:

A pair of outings last weekend sum up his usage, throwing 31 pitches in a Saturday game, then coming back the next day for a 4 inning save and 64 pitches. That borders on pitcher abuse, and the team that drafts Bettis will have to be careful with his workload early in his career. Bettis' long-term role is in question, as he has the delivery of a starter but the pitch mix of a closer. He works in the 92-94 range with his fastball as a starter, but can bump that up to 95-97 out of the bullpen, and he complements that with a slider that gets above-average grades.

I'm no pitching expert, but I thought the same thing when Bettis essentially had back-to-back outings, but being mostly ignorant when it comes to baseball, I kept my mouth shut.  This works both ways, Spencer doesn't want to develop a reputation of over-working pitchers, but he's also got a job to try and keep. 

Here's a bit on Bruening:

The best way to describe Bruening is wild. He can hit 97 on the radar gun, but when he starts, he can't throw strikes when he throws any harder than 90-92. His curveball can be wicked when he finds his release point, but it's more common that it dives out of the strike zone well before it reaches the plate. However, the raw stuff is undeniable, and he has shown real flashes of dominance, and some scouts feel he's getting closer to figuring it out.

And a bit on Doran:

Rather than using a traditional power arsenal, Doran relies on a heavy 90-92 mph fastball that gets a good number of groundball outs, and he complements it with a solid-average curveball and an average vulcan change. He commands all three pitches in the bottom of the zone, and even though he doesn't get a large number of strikeouts, he gets enough to think that he'll miss his share of wooden bats. Hitters generally get a good read on his stuff, though, and he's been very hittable when his command is off.

There's a lot more that I didn't post.  Lots of good stuff, go read the whole thing.

Hawaiian Hitman:  LAJ's Courtney Linehan writes about ILB Sam Fehoko and his Maori culture, which was on full display during the spring game.  Fehoko's family, who are described as being very giving in the story, are the real deal as they were on full display last year as well.  

After giving away all the leis, headbands, lava-lava and assorted necklaces, Vili called his sons together near the north end zone. Vili performs as the Warrior at the University of Hawaii, and has appeared at the Pro Bowl, on Jimmy Kimmel Live and on ABC’s "Full House."

On Saturday, he and his three youngest sons performed a haka, the Maori term for traditional dances, called "Ka Mate."

Hakas have become popular warm ups for Polynesian athletes. A rugby team in New Zealand has performed Ka Mate for decades, the University of Hawaii football created a haka in the native Hawaiian language and the Euless Trinity High School football team, which has several athletes of Polynesian decent, performs Ka Mate at its games.

"It’s to prepare young men to go to battle, to go to war," Vili said. "Ka Mate means ‘to kill.’ We performed it as an honor for our son and his football team."

Draft Hopefuls:  DT's Adam Coleman writes that a handful of Red Raiders are hopeful they get drafted as the NFL Draft starts tonight:

But this year, Carter and Wall have arguably had the most exposure to scouts. Both players were invited to the NFL Combine back in February in addition to participation in Tech’s Pro Day in March. Others have had to rely on just Pro Day and constant training.

ESPN’s Scouts Inc. has Wall as the 25th best cornerback and Carter as the 13th best guard. But Howard believes Sharpe also could get drafted this year, keeping up with his former teammate on a regular basis. ESPN’s Scouts Inc. has Sharpe as the 22nd best defensive end and Byrnes is the 27th best center.

Everyone think a good thought for these guys as they hope to start their career and lives.