After a strong showing in Starkville last weekend, Texas Tech showed no signs of fatigue after a quick turnaround in their Tuesday afternoon game against New Mexico State.
The Red Raiders (4-1) ceded a run to the Aggies in the first inning, but roared past the early mistake to complete a brutal 16-1 victory at home.
We learned a fair amount about the Tech squad in this game, and we’ll share some of that with you below:
1. We don’t have to worry about Tech’s offense this year
The big concern heading into the season was whether or not Tech would be able to replace some of the bats that either graduated or departed for the MLB draft last year. Losing guys like Eric Gutierrez, Tyler Neslony and Stephen Smith was supposed to be a devastating blow to this team’s offensive firepower.
Instead, Tech is absolutely crushing the ball to start the year and their hitting is looking more like a strength than an area of vulnerability. Tuesday’s game marks the third time in this young season the Red Raiders have scored 10 or more runs. Orlando Garcia is absolutely raking, and freshmen Josh Jung and Grant Little have immediately established themselves as reliable weapons in the top half of the order. Tech is going to be fine at the plate.
2. The pitching staff is deeper than we thought
We didn’t know a whole lot about John Henry Gonzalez, but the 6’0 freshman from Edinburg conveyed his ability to pitch well at the next level. He went 5.1 innings Tuesday, surrendering just two hits and one earned run. New Mexico State isn’t necessarily a Big 12-caliber team, but they have some hitters on their roster and Gonzalez proved he can provide a quality start against a formidable opponent.
On top of that, the bullpen was a reliable asset in Tuesday’s game. The Tech relievers combined to pitch 3.2 innings without giving up a single hit. There’s shutting the door, and then there’s barricading it with 3,000 pound boulders. The Red Raiders performed the latter today, and that’s a good sign going forward.
3. Tech finishes games
It looks like Tech learned its lesson after taking a 4-0 lead in the first inning against Mississippi State just to let it go and later lose the game. Today, the Red Raiders were up 8-1 after six innings, and instead of becoming more casual at the plate or getting too lax on defense, the group ensured there was no possibility of a comeback. Tech came out in the seventh inning and put up seven runs, including a grand slam from Garcia. And they added another run in the eighth for good measure.
That’s the kind of response you want to see, and that’s certainly the kind of attitude you want your players to have. No mercy.
The Red Raiders have a tougher task ahead this weekend when Cal comes into town for a four-game series. We’ll see if Tech can continue its excellent start to the season with a series win against a much stronger Pac-12 opponent.