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Red Raider Hardball | Texas Tech Takes on Baylor

Baylor (14-7, 3-0) vs. Texas Tech (12-8, 0-3)
Official Site Notes: Here
Location: Ferrell Field | Waco, TX
Radio: Affiliates
Date Start Time Texas Tech
Starting Pitcher
Starting Pitcher
3.16.12 6:35 pm Duke von Schamann (RHP)
(2-2, 1.23)
Josh Turley (LHP)
(1-0, 1.59)
L, 4-9
3.17.12 3:05 pm John Neely (RHP)
(2-1, 3.86)
Trent Blank (RHP)
(5-0, 1.55)
L, 3-4
3.18.12 1:05 pm TBA
L, 1-8
LF - Brennan Moore | CF - Barrett Barnes | RF - Jamodrick McGruder
SS - Tim Proudfoot | 2ND - Bryant Burleson
3RD - Reid Redman | 1ST - Scott LeJeune
C - Bo Altobelli
DH - Kevin Whitehead

*Click on the score for boxscore.

BASEBALL THOUGHTS | Who else is a bit shocked that Neely is starting the second game? Neely was this team's closer last year and started one game earlier this week, I think against Alabama A&M, and only went one inning, and then was replaced by David Paiz. I'm not sure what to think and I don't know if this is the right time to try to stretch out Neely to a starter, or maybe Spencer is just wanting to get Neely some work. I don't know. I know that Rusty Shellhorn and Shane Broyles have fallen off a bit after their quick start and don't forget that hard-luck starter Daniel Coulombe hasn't played since early in the year . . . Freshman SS Tim Proudfoot is unbelievable, hitting .323/.405/.569, has a .961 fielding percentage, has only 2 errors for the year and has started every game. Fellow freshman 2B Bryant Burleson is struggling a bit, but he's coming on as well and has played better as of late, .255/.340/.383, but I'm imaging that he's playing mainly because of his defense, .985 fielding percentage . . . For the year, this staff has 137 strikeouts to just 35 walks. Last year, the staff had a walk to strikeout ratio of 51%, while this year, it sits at 25%. It's just been non-conference play, so it should be taken with a grain of salt, but it's been better . . .

LAJ's George Watson's preview after the jump and scores will follow the jump after the games are played.

A BETTER TEAM | LAJ's George Watson writes how the team believes that they are simply a better team than they were last year:

The numbers would bear that out. Going into the weekend — thanks to a pair of drubbings of Alabama A&M on Tuesday and Wednesday — the Red Raiders (12-5, 0-0 in Big 12) lead the conference in both batting average (.310) and ERA (2.42). Going into conference play last season, Tech had the same batting average but ranked third, and was ninth in ERA at 4.78, almost 21/2 runs higher than this year.

Tech enters the weekend with the second-best record in the conference behind only No. 10 Texas A&M (14-4). But the Red Raiders were 12-6 at this point a year ago, then turned around and struggled in Big 12 play, going 12-15. All season, however, the players have said this year’s team is different, and now comes the first chance to prove it when the games begin counting for real.

"I’m really confident in just about the whole team," outfielder Barrett Barnes said. "Right now we’re at the top of our game. We’re going to go out there and play Red Raider baseball and I think if we do that for nine innings, for three days, we should be very successful."

Go read the whole thing, excellent stuff from Watson, as always.

Game 1 |Texas Tech 4, Baylor 9 (official site)

Dang. Texas Tech's best pitcher, Duke von Shamann wasn't his normal self (5.0 IP | 10 H | 6 ER | 4 BB | 2 SO) and as LAJ's George Watson notes, von Shamann is working on 4 days rest and now I really do hope that head coach Dan Spencer has something up his sleeve in starting John Neely today. I'm nervous about that. 1B Scott LeJeune and 3B Reid Redman both had two hits while CF Barrett Barnes had a homerun and 2 of the team's 4 RBI.

LAJ's George Watson has a recap, but I think I enjoyed his more unfiltered thoughts on the game (I write this every year, but I think Watson is terrific at his job):

It's obvious Tech is going to have to win these next two games offensively, and the problem with that is Baylor Saturday starter Trent Blank is a right-handed version of Friday starter, left-hander Josh Turley, who baffled the Red Raiders for most of the night other than Barrett Barnes' rocket home run over the center-field wall.

But for any offense to have a chance, the pitching's got to be there. The mound was a strength the first two weeks of the season with four solid starters. Since then, Daniel Coulombe has been shelved the last three weeks with a sore reconstructed left elbow, right-hander Shane Broyles and left-hander Rusty Shellhorn have struggled, and now Duke. That does not bode well for the rest of the series.

Game 2 | Texas Tech 3, Baylor 4 (official site)

Surprisingly former closer John Neely was pretty good (4.1 IP | 4 H | 1 ER | 1 BB | 6 SO) and Baylor scored in the bottom of the 8th inning, in part by an error by Jamodrick McGruder and reliever Jerad McCrummen giving up a couple of hits. The other interesting thing is that former starter Rusty Shellhorn closed out the game so maybe he and Neely have switched roles. SS Tim Proudfoot (2-4) and 1B Scott LeJeune (2-3) had a multi-hit game. Texas Tech does not need to be swept and I don't have a clue who is going to start today. That's not a good sign.

Game 3 | Texas Tech 1, Baylor 9 (official site)

Son of a son. When Watson wrote after the first game that he was concerned about the Saturday and Sunday starters, he wasn't lying. I mentioned this above, but head coach Dan Spencer, 15 or so games into the season, started former closer John Neely and then yesterday, starter Rusty Shellhorn couldn't get out of the third inning (2.2 IP | 4 H | 4 R | 2 BB | 2 SO) while quasi-closer Trey Masek wasn't terrific either (4.0 IP | 3 H | 4 ER | 1 BB | 6 SO). Losing one or two games isn't that big of a deal, especially on the road, but to get swept in convincing fashion doesn't bode well. I thought that the starting pitching had somewhat founds its way, but now, it appears to be the same as in previous years, a good starter in Duke von Shamann and then the rest is up for grabs. And the offense, after exploding for 46 runs in 2 games against Alabama A&M, thought that it might wake up a bit, scored 8 runs over three games. Maybe this will change with Oklahoma coming in for the weekend series who was swept on the road by Texas this weekend as well, but I'm not real confident.

One other note, maybe it's time to give David Paiz, Jamen Parten or Jared McCrummen a shot at starting on Saturday or Sunday. If Spencer has lost faith in Shellhorn or Shane Broyles, you would think that right before conference play would not be the time to work on who is going to be the starter, but Spencer has to adjust on the fly here and Paiz might be the best bet.