You can't kick off a season much better than this. Tech welcomed the Dons of San Francisco this weekend and beat them 4 games out of 4, starting off the season with a sweep and a 4-0 record (best record in the Big XII). Here are the Recaps from each individual game:
Opening Day was a success for the Red Raiders, as Tech escaped San Francisco with a 9-7 Victory over the Dons. The afternoon started out with an introduction of both players, followed by an announcement by the Lubbock Mayor and Tadlock. They announced that February 13th will be celebrated as "Red Raider Baseball Day" in Lubbock, in honor of Tech's College World Series run. After Tech's starting line-up was announced, and the national anthem was sung, it was time to kick off the 2015 season.
The first two innings were dominated both by starting pitchers, as Mosley and Shew exchanged outs. However, Mosley ran into trouble in the 3rd, when he started walking batters, leaving the bases loaded with 0 outs. He would give up two hits in the inning and 3 runs. That lead wouldn't hold long. After Proudfoot, Floyd and Smith reached base, Neslony did what he always does; bring home the runners. A double down the left field line sent all the runners home and tied the score. Tech wasn't done though. "Gute" and Hargrove hit back-to-back doubles to center to hit the man on 2nd home. Carpenter would later score Hargrove, giving Tech a 6-3 lead after 3 innings.
Tech would add to the lead in later innings when Stephen Smith hit a high fly ball over the Left Field wall. Burleson followed with a blooper to left to score Carpenter and go up 8-4. However, Lancaster and Moreno struggled in the back half of the innings and allowed San Fran to close the gap to 8-6. Luckily, Floyd was able to provide some insurance in the 8th with a bomb to Right Field. Moreno allowed a run in the 9th, but came away with the save and the 9-7 victory.
MVP: Tyler Neslony - Ness was 1-5 on the day with a 3-RBI Triple to get the 6-run 3rd inning going.
Game 2 of the Series started off like Game one. After a little action early on, Quinn Carpenter ran into trouble in the 3rd, when San Francisco had a 3-run inning to go up 4-1 in the contest. Then the Tech offense got going in the 4th. It started off with a with RBI double into Right Field by Hunter Hargrove, followed by a bases clearing 2-run RBI double from Williams Hairston. It inning was capped off with a 2-run shot from Lubbock native Michael Davis, who made his Tech debut. The Red Raiders wouldn't stop there though.
After a Stephen Smith hit home two on an RBI single in the 6th, Tech had another offensive explosion in the 8th. It started off when Stephen Smith hit Tyler Floyd home on a double down the right field line. Gardner and Neslony would walk, bring Gute up to the plate with 3 on and none out. He wouldn't get any RBI's but the pitcher threw two wild pitches to Gutierrez that scored both Smith and Gardner. That was followed by a RBI double from Pinch Hitter Zach Davis, a sacrifice by Tim Proudfoot to score Gutierrez, and a 2-run RBI single from Fylod to make it 15-5 Tech. Parker Muskinski, Corey Taylor and Dalton Brown would hold San Fran to only 2 more runs on the day to preserve a 15-6 victory over the Dons.
MVP: William Hairston - It's hard to pick one player that stands out, because multiple guys had 2 or more RBI's on the day (5 to be exact). I'm going to Hairston here because he reached base 5 out of 6 times, scored 3 runs and hit home 2 runners. Not bad for your first Red Raider game.
Tech came firing out of the gate, scoring quickly and often. After a quick San Fran inning, Tech started racking up walks, scoring 2 runs on just walks alone. Finally, William Hairston and Michael Davis came through with 2 RBI single and double respectively to go up 6-0 in the 1st inning. Stephen Smith would tack on another run with RBI single to make it 7-0 after the first inning. In the other half of the inning, Dylan Dusek continued where he left off. In 6 innings, he allowed only 2 runs, 5 hits and gave out 5 Strikeouts for a 3.00 ERA.
Lancaster gave up 2 runs in the 7th before, Tech scored another 4 runs in the 7th and 8th. After Stephen Stephen scored in the 7th, Bryant Burleson hit a 3-run shot that scored Michael Davis and Tanner Gardner. Tech held on to a 13-5 lead to win the 3rd game of the series and take the series overall. Good victory for the Red Raiders overall.
MVP: Dylan Dusek - Dusek provided the first good pitching performance of the season, striking out 5 runners and allowing only 2 runs. Dusek already has his 1st win of the season early on.
Stats: Here are the stats from Game 3.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>No. 5 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TexasTech?src=hash">#TexasTech</a> vs San Francisco - Game 4 lineups <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WreckEm?src=hash">#WreckEm</a> <a href="http://t.co/uzASDqRouN">pic.twitter.com/uzASDqRouN</a></p>— Scott Lacefield (@ScottLacefield) <a href="https://twitter.com/ScottLacefield/status/567009320278044672">February 15, 2015</a></blockquote>
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Texas Tech finished off San Francisco with a 9-7 victory over the Dons on Sunday afternoon. Gutierrez started off the scoring with an RBI single in the 1st inning to score Corey Raley. However, that;s Ty started to struggled. He gave up a run in the 2nd after multiple singles. Then, a single into left field scored another run for the Dons, giving San Fran the 2-1 lead. That's when the luck started to go Tech's way. Ty Damron and Cameron Smith pitched 5 scoreless innings and a row, and Tech had a 4-run 5th inning that put Tech up 6-3 and then a 3-run 7th inning that put Tech up 9-3.
The 5th inning started with an errant throw by the 3rd baseman that allowed Tyler Neslony to score from 3rd. Then, Tyler Floyd hit a hard line drive off the 3rd Baseman's glove to score Gutierrez. This was followed by a 2-Run RBI single into Left Field to make it a 6-3 game after 5. Two innings later, it was Gutierrez's turn to rack up the RBI's, hitting home two runners to make it an 8-3 game. A sacrifice from Zach Davis would score Gute and give Tech a 9-2 lead heading into the 8th. No lead is safe however. Cameron Smith ran into trouble in the 9th, when he allowed multiple base hits, an RBI single and a 3-run shot with 2 outs in the inning. Then, with the winning run at the plate, he throws a change-up to strike out the batter and complete the sweep. Bullet dodged by Texas Tech. All you need sometimes is a little luck.
MVP: Eric Gutierrez - Gute was the star of the day, getting 4 hits in 4 AB and scoring 3 runners. He also was intentionally walked in the 3rd inning that allowed Tyler Floyd to score from 3rd on a wild pitch.
Overall good series for the Red Raiders. There were a few struggles, but that's why Tech schedule is set up the way it was. It gives Tadlock a little room to tinker before Big XII play begins in March. Here are some of my thoughts about the weekend:
- Starting Pitching Struggled - Outside of Dylan Dusek, the starting rotation struggled this weekend, especially when the 3rd inning occurred. Mosley gave up 3 runs in the 3rd and Carpenter gave up 4 by the 3rd, and both Dusek and Damron gave up 2 in the 3rd. Dusek was able to shut down the opposition for the rest of the game, but Mosley and Carpenter were pulled, and Damron gave up a home run before leaving the game in the 5th. Tech can't have the rotation playing like this when Big XII play comes along. I expect Tadlock to experiment with his rotation throughout the next month.
- Newcomers Make An Impact - A total of 12 new faces took the field for the Red Raiders this weekend and provided good support. Some names that stood out the most to me were Hunter Hargrove, Michael Davis, William Hairston, Jacob Patterson, Parker Munshinski and Quinn Carpenter. Hargrove and Davis both had 5 RBIs while batting .333%, Hairston had 4 RBIs while batting .555%, Carpenter had some good ABs and both Patterson and Mushinski walked away with wins. Tadlock is not afraid to play newcomers. You have to earn your job.
- San Fran will Never Forget Gutierrez - "Gute" started off the season with a monster weekend. He had a .750% AVG with a .842% OBP, hitting home 4 batters and walking 7 times. Gutierrez only had 3 outs over the course of the weekend. He could've had more RBIs if more guys were on base and San Fran weren't so afraid of pitching to him. 2 players scored on wild pitches thrown to Gute and they intentionally walked him once. It appears that Gutierrez might've gotten better over the break, which is scary.
- Bats Were On Fire - Tech had an impressive 46 runs scored this weekend. To put that into prospective, Tech's basketball team only scored 41 points on Saturday. Amazing. The San Francisco pitchers couldn't stop Tech offense at all this weekend. A big part of the reason why the Red Raiders scored so often were due to big innings. Tech many innings where they scored 3 runs or more, including two innings where they scored 7 runs. Hopefully the bats can stay on fire heading into this weekend.
- Crowd Was A Huge Factor - The City of Lubbock and the students of Texas Tech showed up for this game. First off, Tech had an Opening Day record of 4,375 attendees and a student record of 1,225 students. During the Double Header, 4,418 people showed up (no attendance announced during the final day). The fans were loud and cheered on the Red Raider every opportunity they got (None was bigger than when Patrick Mahomes stepped by to bat in Game 4). And the infamous Texas Tech Baseball Hecklers were back at it with their shenanigans. Good to see a quality crowd at Dan Law Field.
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