Prior to the series starting, I was toggling between optimism and realism. When I was being optimistic, I thought that we could win 2 of the 3 games versus TCU. When I was being realistic, I thought we could win 1 of the 3 games. Unfortunately, the more realistic of my options came to fruition. Below are my three takeaways from the series.
1) Gotta hit that: Our hitting has been inconsistent all season. We batted a weak .218 in the series. We had more strikeouts (24) than hits (21) in the series. We scored only 6 runs in 3 games, 5 of which we scored in the game 2 win. The good news is this TCU pitching staff is the best we will face all season. The bad news is we still have to be better at the plate if we are going to get into and make another CWS run. At this point, just mentioning the CWS is my optimistic side writing. To quote Bill Parcells when describing teams, "You are what you are." In this case, I think it means Tech is a slightly above average team with pretty good pitching and inconsistent fielding and hitting. My realistic side doesn't think that is a recipe for postseason success.
2) Flip it and reverse it: As bad as our hitting was, our pitching was the opposite of that with the exception of 2 innings. TCU scored 13 runs during the series, but 8 of them were scored in 2 innings. The other 25 innings, the Red Raider pitching staff gave up only 5 runs. They held TCU to a .206 batting average in the series. In the only win the Red Raiders had Cameron Smith was stellar (more on him to follow on the next takeaway). Ryan Moseley did more than enough in his start on Thursday as well. He gave up 2 runs (1 earned) in 8 innings. While Ty Dameron struggled in game 3, Corey Taylor came into the game in the second and was his usual self. He gave up 1 unearned run in 7 innings. He kept us in the game, but the offense couldn't deliver.
3) Game 2: This was Tech's best game of the season in my opinion. Cameron Smith pitched a complete game gem. He was stellar giving up 1 run on 5 hits. He struck out 6 and walked only 2. While the offense only generated 5 runs, it was more about who they were facing as opposed to putting up eye-popping numbers. The offense chased the returning Big 12 pitcher of the year, Preston Morrison, after only 4.1 innings. The Red Raiders handed him his first loss of the season. It was complete performance all the way around. I am sure all Red Raider fans would like to see these types of games more often.
The Red Raiders' next game is versus Oral Roberts on Tuesday. They split a 2-game midweek series with ORU earlier this season. A very important 3-game weekend series in Lubbock versus the Baylor Bears follows. A sweep of these 4 games would do well in righting the ship.