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Coral Gables (FL) Regional | Weekend Thread

Texas Tech plays in their first post-season regional since 2004 and are part of the Coral Gables (FL) Regional along with Miami, Columbia and Bethune-Cookman.

NCAA Tournament Coral Gables Regional
Location: Alex Rodriguez Park - Mark Light Field | Coral Gables, Florida
Date: Friday, May 30th through Sunday, June 2nd
Official Site Notes
Radio: Affiliates

Regional Seeds: Just to catch everyone up, the regional seeds are as follows for this Coral Gables Regional:

#1 Miami (FL) (41-17)
#2 Texas Tech (40-18)
#3 Columbia (29-18)
#4 Bethune-Cookman (26-31)

Texas Tech will play Columbia on Friday afternoon, and if they win, they'll plan the winner of Miami and Bethune-Cookman Saturday at 6:00 pm and if they lose, then Texas Tech will play the loser of Miami and Bethune-Cookman on Saturday at 1:00 pm. At that point, Texas Tech will have the opportunity to work their way back into the winners bracket so long as they win.

Coral Gables Preview. I thought this preview from Perfect Game gave you a pretty good look at each team in this regional:

Texas Tech hadn’t reached the NCAA postseason since 2004, but are now ready to make a statement with Tim Tadlock’s club putting together a consistent 2014 campaign. The Red Raiders are a rather interesting club to watch. The Red Raiders feel like they’re in good shape on the mound entering the postseason. Tech will give lefthanded pitcher Chris Sadberry the start in the Coral Gables Regional opener. Sadberry, who has an athletic build, sits in the low-90s with his fastball and his quality secondary stuff, while freshman lefty Dylan Dusek has provided a boost with a 2.35 ERA in 61 1/3 innings.

Familiar Territory. And we get a good look at Columbia's starting pitching, David Speer:

Left-hander David Speer, who is the Lions’ ace with a 7-2 record and 1.86 ERA, played this past summer in the Cape Cod League for the Chatham A’s. Helping coach that team was Tech volunteer assistant Matt Gardner, and Tech junior right-hander Dominic Moreno played on that team.

Moreno compared Speer (6-foot-1, 185 pounds) to Oklahoma left-hander Jacob Evans, whom the Red Raiders had tremendous success against in two outings this season.

"He’s not overpowering, maybe 86 to 88 (mph on fastball) and maybe a couple of 89s," Moreno said. "He’s a lefty, a short guy, throws a change-up and curve, commands all his pitches and is tough to hit sometimes, but I think we match up well."

Speer Out; Notebook. Pretty good little notebook from the LAJ where the Texas Tech players have taken note that they are somewhat being over-looked as many national pundits are looking forward to a Florida-Miami super-regional and they also note that what we thought would be the starting pitcher for Columbia, David Speer, is out for the tournament because he had his appendix removed.

Inexperienced Bunch. Texas Tech is not considering their lack of post-season experience as a disadvantage and head coach Tim Tadlock thinks the Big 12 conference prepared this team:

"I think our league has prepares us as far as atmosphere goes," Tadlock said. "The Big 12 this year had nine really good teams, and I think the tournament last week prepared us. "We've played some good teams, seen some good teams, had some big challenges along the way and met some of them and not met some of them. From this point forward, you're just talking about what we all say. You try to play one pitch at a time and try to compete each pitch."

OUTFIELD: LF: Tyler Neslony| CF: Stephen Smith | RF: Adam Kirsch
INFIELD: 3B: Jake Barrios | SS: Tim Proudfoot | 2B: Bryant Burleson | 1B Eric Gutierrez | C: Hunter Redman | DH: Matt Broadbent

Game 1: Friday, May 30th @ 1:00 pm on ESPN3
Texas Tech Starting Pitcher: LHP Chris Sadberry (4-2, 3.45)
Columbia Starting Pitcher: George Thanopoulos (5-2, 2.81)
Final Score & Box Score: - Columbia 2, Texas Tech 3 - Box Score

Game 2: Saturday, May 31st @ 6:00 pm on ESPN3 
Texas Tech Starting Pitcher: LHP Dylan Dusek (6-0, 2.35)
Miami Starting Pitcher: LHP Chris Diaz (9-0, 2.32)
Final Score & Box Score: - Texas Tech 3, Miami (FL) 0 - Box Score

Game 3: Sunday, June 1st @ 6:00 pm on ESPN3 
Texas Tech Starting Pitcher: TBA
TBD Starting Pitcher: TBA
Final Score & Box Score: -

Because I'm going to be out for the rest of the weekend, I'm going to leave it to you all to keep this sucker updated.

MikeTTU Game 1 Analysis:

After a disappointing showing in the Big XII tourney, Texas Tech (RPI 17) was selected as a 2nd seed (instead of a 1st seed) in the Coral Gables Regional. Their first match-up? Against 3rd seed Columbia (37 RPI), who many thought deserved a 2nd seed.

The game started off as a pitching dual, with two pro baseball capable pitchers going toe for toe, exchanging outs and strikeouts. In the bottom of the 3rd, Columbia ran into trouble with the bases load and two outs, but Thanopoulos was able to get Eric Gutierrez to fly out to end in the inning. The following half inning, Columbia returned the favor, loading up the bases with a single out. Chris Sadberry was able to get Maguire to hit into a double play situation, but Maguire was able to beat out Burleson's throw from second to take the 1-0 lead over the Red Raiders. Texas Tech once again loaded up the bases in the bottom of the 4th with one out, but fly outs by Hunter Redman and Stephen Smith ended the inning.

Bryant Burleson lead off the 5th inning with a double, but after outs by Tyler Neslony and Gutierrez, it seemed Tech was continuing their string of bad luck. However, when Texas Tech needed it the most, Adam Kirsch elevated a pitch over the left field wall for a 2-1 lead. Columiba was able to tie the game in the next inning though through sacrifices, a wild pitch and an error. Texas Tech Reliever Johhny Drozd and  Columbia Thomas Crispi then entered the game and pitched 2 stellar innings leading into the 9th. In the bottom of the 9th, Stephen Smith lead the inning with a walk (who then was replaced by Zach Davis), followed by a sacrifice by Bryan Burleson. Neslony then hit what looked up a pop out to the 2nd baseman, but he dropped the ball, and Neslony was able to reach 1st safely. With the runner on 1st and 2nd, with Eric Gutierrez up the plate, amazing happened. Gutierrez wasted away several pitches before taking the 9th pitch to the left center gap, scoring Zach Davis and walking off.

Sadberry pitched an good game, allowing 2 ER on 5 hits in 5.1 IP and distributing 5 K's. Johhny Drozd then finished up the job, pitching 3.2 innings, only allowing 2 hits and issuing a strikeout. Adam Kirsch had an outstanding game, going 1 for 1 with a 2 run shot in the 5th, and walking 3 times in the game. Proudfoot also played well,  going 1 for 1, walking twice and laying down a successful sacrifice. Finally, even though Gutierrez struggled throughout the game with fly outs and double plays, he came through when Texas Tech needed him most. That's what great players do, even when they struggle and aren't playing their best, they come through when they need too.

You can check out tomorrow's game against either 1st seed Miami (15 RPI) or Bethune-Cookman (RPI 202) tomorrow at 6pm on ESPN 3. The winner of that game advances to the regional championship, the loser faces the winner of tomorrow's elimination game. Interesting fact, Bethune-Cookman's pitcher has beaten the Hurricanes twice this season already. We'll post the starting pitcher for tomorrow's game when we know who it is.

MikeTTU Game 2 Analysis:

Miami ended up beating Bethune-Cookman on a walk-off wild pitch on Friday night to face the Red Raiders. The pitchers selected for the dual would be two with incredible stats, as Miami picked LHP Chris Diaz (9-0, 2.32 ERA) and Texas Tech choose LHP Dylan Dusek (6-0, 2.35 ERA). A pitching dual was among us.

After a fairly quiet 1st inning, Texas Tech starting breaking the silence in the 2nd. After an Adam Kirsch out, both Ryan Long and Devon Conley successfully bunted aboard. After a passed ball by Miami catcher Zach Collins, in which both Long and Conley advanced a plate, Tim Proudfoot was able to find a hole between the 3rd baseman and Shortstop for a RBI single. With Hunter Redman at the plate, Collins once again allowed a passed ball, making way for Conley to score from 3rd base. Redman and Stephen Smith would be the final outs of the inning.

On the defensive side of the ball, Dylan Dusek was pitching a classic. Through the first 3 innings, he only allowed four base runners and struck out two others. Dusek ran into trouble in the bottom of the 4th though. With two outs in the inning and runners on 1st and 2nd, Jacob Heyward (brother of Braves OF Jason Heyward) came up to the plate and struckout. Dusek's 3rd strike ended up knocking the glove out of Redman's hand, so he picked up the ball and threw it to first for the out. However, the umpires discussed the play, and ended up ruling it catcher's interference, allowing Heyward to take 1st. The telecast reviewed the play several times, and it was CLEAR that Redman dropped the glove, and that the bat never touched it. Dylan kept his poise though and was able to get Dale Carey to pop out.

Over the Dusek's last four innings, he allowed only one base runner. He would leave the game in the 9th with 8.0 innings pitched, allowing 4 hits, a walk and distributing 3 strikeouts. During the 8th, Smith was able to reach bag on an infield single, followed by a walk by Bryan Burleson. After a Tyler Neslony sacrifice and a pitching change, Gutierrez would hit a shallow outfield single to score Smith. Kirsch and Long would then strikeout to end the side. Corey Taylor then came on in the 9th inning, Miami's Brad Fieger singled to center, followed by a strikeout and a Alex Hernadez single to left. Taylor was able to close out the occasion with a line-out to 3rd and a fly out to left.

Miami and Bethune-Cookman will square off tomorrow at 1pm to determine who will face Texas Tech in the regional final. The final will be at 6pm tomorrow, with the Red Raiders only needing one win to secure a Regional win, while the winner of Miami and Bethune-Cookman will need two. If Tech wins, there is a good chance they could host the Super Regional, with #1 Florida being eliminated today.