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Red Raider Hardball | 2012 Texas Tech Baseball Preview

"We need to do a better job of making sure ... so you’ve got to kick the door down. We needed to do more."
- Dan Spencer
On making the NCAA Tournament.

Head coach Dan Spencer is in his fourth season and I'm afraid that this might be the make-or-break season for Spencer. I'm torn on that subject because I like Spencer as a coach and I think he's done things the right way. I think he's invested in this program and although Spencer was not the man with the money making the new renovations possible, I do think that if you give credit to anyone for having a vision of a better facility, then look no further than Spencer, who probably spent numerous hours selling this project and seeing that Dan Law Field and Rip Griffin Park are improved. Of course seeing those improvements obviously benefits Spencer, but I get the feeling that Spencer spent a lot of time seeing this project from its infancy to fruition.

LAJ's George Watson has lots of good stuff to preview the season, the last two links are from today:

I'd also add that the official site has a media supplement (PDF) that has a ton of information if you want to know about each player.

I'd also add that games start today at 4:00 pm and the team is playing in the Red Raider Classic (PDF) against Missouri St. and Tennessee Tech throughout the weekend.

I'd also add that there isn't a professional writer who wants this team to succeed more that Watson and I'm afraid I'm in the same boat. I really don't want to see Spencer leave this program because I'm afraid that if he doesn't get to the NCAA Tournament that he won't get past this year. This almost feels like Pat Knight's last year, i.e. he had better make the NCAA Tournament or he loses his job. I don't know that's fair, but that's exactly what may happen. Just like every season, the success of this team will greatly depend on the pitching success. Last year, this team almost entirely relied on freshmen pitchers RHP David Paiz, RHP Trey Masek and RHP Duke von Shamann and came awfully close to making the tournament. This year, LHP Daniel Coulombe, who was injured last year and required Tommy John surgery, LHP Rusty Shellhorn, a Washington St. transfer, and RHP Shane Broyles, a JUCO transfer from Temple College. Add in closer RHP John Neely and you have what might be the deepest staff that I can recall in recent years.

And the offense should be even better, led by All-American candidate OF Barrett Barnes. 2B Jamodrick McGruder is no slouch and the return of DH Scott LeJeune should help the offense tremendously. Seniors 3B Reid Redman, C Bo Altobelli and 1B Stephen Hagen should help round out a lineup that should be dominated by a bunch of returning players who should see significant playing time this year.

I'm usually a bit reserved in openly cheering for a coach, but I am doing this with Spencer. I want him to succeed and I want this team to get into the NCAA Tournament and make a great run. I know that we all want our team to win, but in this case, I want this team to win because despite not having the best overall record, I think that Spencer is the right person for this job. So this is one coach where I feel like I have a vested interest and I don't know what I'm going to write if the season doesn't go well. It seems we've all had to read about seasons not going too well for too many teams. The last link from Watson, he had this to say and it's time:

In a way, it almost has to happen this year. With the right combo of experience, talent and depth, like I said, if it doesn't happen this year, then when? After the top talent in 2012 is gone via the draft and you're left with inexperienced sophomores and juniors? The time is now. Tech knows that, and I think that's been reflected in the tone during workouts.