You already saw my top plays for 2014, now it's time to look at the best players for 2014. But before I do so, I totally forgot one of the most iconic plays in 2014, Texas Tech's goal vs. Auburn. I finally found the video and going to get them the attention they deserve.
Honorable Mention: Alli Murphy hits 44-yard Free Kick to send Tech to first ever Sweet Sixteen
Last year in the NCAA tournament, Tech was a game away from the Sweet Sixteen, but fell short to A&M in a shootout. This time around, they faced a hungry Auburn team, also looking to get to the Sweet Sixteen. Auburn scored early in the match, but Paige Strahan's goal and Lauren Watson's great defense kept the score tied from the 31' to 87' minute. That's when the most remarkable thing happened. On a free kick, Alli Murphy fired the ball deep in Auburn's territory. The goalie was away from the goal line, and Murphy kicked the ball right over her hand for the winning goal with 3 minutes left to play. You literally can't put that in a better stop. There's no room between the glove and crossbar. Just a simply amazing goal by Murphy. That goal brought Tech to the Sweet Sixteen, the furthest Tech had ever gotten. What a remarkable season the Women's Soccer team had.
Now back to the Top Players of 2014:
10. Chris Sadberry - Left Handed Pitcher
Chris Sadberry comes in at #10, a JUCO pitcher that came to Tech looking to contribute and ended up being the ace for the Red Raiders down the stretch. In 18 games played this year, Sadberry started 17 games, with the Red Raiders winning 11 out of the 17 times he started this year. That included clutch performances against Columbia (5 IP, 5 H, 2 ER) and College of Charleston (8 IP, 4 H, 0 ER) in the Regional and Super Regional. He would be named 2nd Team All Big XII and become a valuable member for the Red Raider squad. After the Regionals in Miami, Sadberry was drafted with the 2nd pick in the 6th round by the Miami Marlins. He's now a Single A (Full) pitcher in the Marlins system, the Greensboro Grasshoppers to be specific. He has a 2.65 ERA with a 4-1 record, 29 K's and only 7 BB's. Glad Sadberry is doing well in Greensboro.
|Chris Sadberry||Appearances||Innings Pitched||Record||ERA||AVG||Walks||Strikeouts|
|Junior-LHP||18 (17 starts)||95.0||5-3||3.03||.256||25||65|
9. Bradley Marquez - Wide Receiver
Bradley Marquez comes in at #9, having a strong senior campaign and having a never quit attitude. He had 821 yards on the year and caught 10 TDs passes. While the Tech was switching through QB's throughout the season, Marquez stayed a consistent, catching balls for all three QB's. During the Central Arkansas game, he 11 passes for 184 yards and 2 TDs, helping the Raiders get out of bad stretch and escape with a victory. During the UTEP game, he caught only 3 passes. but they were all TD's, giving the Red Raiders a 30-26 victory. During the Baylor game, he gave Mahomes a deep target downfield, catching 6 passes for 130 yards and 3 TDs, including one on his last play as a Red Raider. Marquez will have a shot the NFL this upcoming draft, and hopefully someone will give him a chance. Bradley Marquez had a great career for the Red Raiders, and I wish him the best in his professional career, weather it's in football, baseball or another career.
|Senior - WR||65||821||12.6||70 yards||10|
8. Amber Battle - Guard
Amber Battle comes in at #8, the explosive guard for the Lady Raider's Basketball Team. Texas Tech didn't have a very good season last year. but Battle was a bright spot. creating shots for herself and getting other teammates open in the process. Last year for the Lady Raiders, she led the team in Points, PPG, Free Throws Made, Rebounds, RPG, Steal, SPG and Minutes. That's a lot. That was good enough to make her a 2nd Team All Big XII selection. She has the potential to make the 1st team this year, with more experience and more help on the offensive and defensive end. The Lady Raider have already won more games this year than last year and should make noise in the Big XII this season.
7. Jaye Crockett - Small Forward
Jaye Crockett is the #7 player on my list, going above and beyond for the Red Raider team in his senior season. He averaged 13.9 in his final season with the Red Raiders, leading Tech through it's most exciting season in years. Jaye led the team in points and rebounds, while finishing 2nd in steals and FT %, and 4th in FG % and Steals. He was leading the charge in an upset of #12 Baylor. He hit the many clutch shots down the stretch, including the game winning shot and FT's, in the Oklahoma State game. Jaye almost led his team to victory over eventual Big XII champs Kansas. Finally, he hit keys shots in an upset win over Texas, the first time they beat Texas in several years. Jaye Crockett now plays for a club in Italy and was named an All-Star in the league. Jaye was definitely one of the Top Red Raiders in 2014.
6. Pete Robertson - Outside Linebacker
Pete Robertson is #6 on my list, and player who improved greatly from his sophomore to junior season. He had 12 sacks (which was the most in the Big XII) and 81 tackles on the year. He also deflected 3 passes at the line of scrimmage. The outside linebacker probably impacted the defense the most this past season, constantly making plays for the Red Raiders. He really broke out this season when Mike Smith became D-Coordinator, producing 11 sacks in the final 9 games. This includes 2 sacks in a win over Kansas and 2 big sacks in a near comeback against Baylor. Pete Robertson was named to the AP All Big XII 1st team after only being honorable mention last year. He was also on the Big-XII 2nd Team, which is voted on by the coaches. He will be a bright spot for this football team next season. Hopefully we'll see him improve even more his senior season and see him play in the NFL someday.
|Pete Robertson||Tackles||Solo||Assist||Sacks||Pass Deflected|
5. Adam Kirsch - Outfielder / Designated Hitter
Adam Kirsch is my #5 player of 2014, with his major contribution to the Texas Tech Baseball team that went all the way to the College World Series. Adam Kirsch was a JUCO player who played a season at FIU before transferring to Tech for his senior season. It was a big one for him too. He ended up being 3rd in the Big XII in HRs (10), 1st in the Big XII in doubles (21), 3rd in RBIs (51), 2nd in Total Bases (126) and 1st in Slugging Percentage (.560%). Krisch would win Newcomer of the Year, along with being a 1st Team All Big XII DH. He hit a big two-run shot in the Regional Game against Columbia to tie the game 2-2 and then hit the game winning run in the 2nd Super Regional game. Adam Kirsch was a huge part of the offense all season long and was one of the main reasons why Tech made it as far as they did. Kirsch didn't get drafted in the MLB Draft, but he sign a free agent contract with the Yankees, playing 5 games this season in the Gulf Coast League. Being one of the best at what he does and contributing the baseball team this season is why he's #5 on my list.
4. DeAndre Washington - Running Back
DeAndre Washington is #4 on the list with his consistency in the Texas Tech offense and giving the Red Raider's it's first 1,000 yard rusher since Ricky Williams in 1998. While the team was going through a rough patch this season, DeAndre Washington continued to excell, improving on his vision and patience, while gaining his speed back. There were several games last year where Tech relied on DeAndre Washingon to carry them. D-Wash ran for 132 yards and 4.6 yards per carry during the West Virginia game. He rushed for a then season high 162 yards and 71. yards per carry in a win over Kansas. At Iowa State, he rushed for a season high 183 yards, season high 9.3 yards per carry and 2 TDs. In the Baylor game, he had a huge 49 yard TD pass on the day. I don't know what Tech would've done without Washington this year. He's poised to do even better in 2015, and hopefully he'll have more support behind him next year.
|DeAndre Washington||Carries||Rushing Yards||AVG||TD||Catches||Receiving Yrds||AVG||TD|
|Junior - RB||188||1103||5.9||2||30||328||10.9||2|
3. Jaelene Hinkle - Defender
Jaelene Hinkle comes in at #3 on the list, with her role in the Soccer team's Sweet Sixteen appearance and the awards she has gotten over the past year. The #14 player in the nation (according to TopDrawerSoccer.com) was a third team All American, was an unanimous All Big XII defender and was apart of the Team USA U-23 Team. She also played for the Seattle Sounders Women's team during the summer, getting valuable soccer experience. She was part of a good defense this past season, not only playing well, but being a good leader for the Red Raider squad. When Tech fell behind in the Auburn game, the defense held their ground and keep Auburn off the scoreboard for the rest of the game. The Texas Tech team was with the Big XII in goal allowed per game, and she was a Big reason why. She will be missed at Texas Tech.
2. Eric Gutierrez - 1st Baseman
Eric Gutierrez comes in at #2, the dynamic 1st Baseman who led in many statistical categories and was the best player on the College World Series baseball team. Eric Gutierrez also was a Big XII leader in many statistical categories, including 1st in Home Runs (12), 3rd in Doubles (18), 1st in RBIs (58), 1st in Total Bases (132) and 2nd in Slugging Percentage (.539). He was above Zach Fish (the Big XII MVP) in every statistical category. Gutierrez was not only a major performer in the regular season but also the postseason. During the Columbia game, he hit a walk off double that gave Texas Tech the 3-2 win. He got a bunch of hits during the postseason, but unfortunately no one was on base when he was hitting. Still, a great performance from Gutierrez. He also finished 2nd in the College Home Run Derby, hitting a record 52 home runs during the event. Gutierrez should be even better this year and be a major factor this season for the Red Raiders.
|Sophomore - 1B||.302||46||58||12||.399|
1. Janine Beckie - Forward
Finally, we get to #1. I decided that the #1 player of the 2014 season is Janine Beckie, one of the leaders of the Texas Tech soccer team and one of the best players in the country. Beckie (#10 player in the nation) was an unanimous Big XII selection, Big XII offensive player of the year and led the Big XII in basically every statistical category. That's just the Big XII though. Beckie was a member of the U-20 Canadian Team and was their leading scorer. She also was up for player of the year in the NSCAA and played for the Seattle Sounder with Jaelene Hinkle. It close between Hinkle, Gutierrez and Beckie, but I picked Beckie because of the fact she was named the best player in her conference and represented Tech on a world stage. Janine Beckie is my Top Texas Tech Player of 2014
|Janine Beckie||Goals per Game||Points per Game||Game Winning Goals|
|Junior-Forward||0.77 (lead in Big XII)||1.73 (lead in Big XII)||6 (lead in Big XII)|