Texas Tech baseball spent the weekend in Houston playing some of the country’s top teams and showed the nation they mean business. This tournament featured three Big 12 and three SEC teams: Tech, TCU, Baylor, Texas A&M, Ole Miss, and LSU. No team faced their conference foes.
Starting off the weekend was Tech’s ace Davis Martin. The sophomore had his first rough outing of the season, giving up 5 runs in only 3.2 innings to A&M. On the bright side, Martin didn’t walk anyone, and has only 1 walk on the season in 16.2 innings. He wasn’t wild, he just got squared up by a good offense. As a baseball sage once said “that’s the way baseball go.”
Offensively, Tech was shut down by the Aggie pitching staff, managing only 6 baserunners all day. In relief Dylan Dusek and Jake McDonald were also lit up by A&M hitters. TTU would lose the opening game 9-0 in a rout.
Saturday the Red Raiders faced off with #11 Ole Miss, sending Steven Gingery to take the mound. The southpaw mowed down the Rebels for 8 innings, allowing only 1 run that came in the 8th when the game was well in hand Gingery struck out 8, walked 2, and scattered 5 hits.
This was Gingery’s best start of the season against some of the toughest hitters he’s ever faced. Offensively Tech was led by Tanner Gardner, who notched 2 hits, 4 RBI, and a double in his best game of the season. Tadlock’s club won the contest 5-1.
Tech’s final game of the series earned the early slot with a 10:05 first pitch against #4 LSU. The Red Raiders pitched Ryan Shetter in their final game of the weekend. Shetter kept the Tiger bats in check, limiting them to 1 run in 5 innings with only 3 hits.
Freshman Clay Koelzer had a rough day as the catcher, with 4 passed balls by my count from the 6th inning on. The most costly one was the first pitch by Parker Mushinski, which was a strike but since it was dropped, the umpire called it a ball. Tech then decided to intentionally walk the batter. A wild pitch, that easily could’ve been called a passed ball, allowed the tying run to score when Tech was an out away from winning.
Jacob Patterson pitched a solid 1.2 innings in a tight game against a dominant lineup. In the 7th inning, Patterson couldn’t get over to cover first fast enough in a play that would’ve ended the inning but instead started a rally ending with an LSU 3-1 lead.
In the bottom of the 7th, Texas Tech showed that not only Lebron can come back from a 3-1 lead. The Red Raiders would score 3 runs to take a 4-3 lead on a Josh Jung first pitch single.
LSU would lead off the 9th with a single, then advance the runner to third with two groundouts. Parker Mushinski got behind 3-0 to Kramer Robertson and on the fourth pitch threw a wild pitch that scored the runner from third and tied the game 4-4. John McMillon came on and struck out the one batter he faced to keep it tied headed to the bottom of the 9th.
Cody Farhat led off the bottom of the 9th by getting hit by a pitch, then was bunted over to second by a pinch-bunter Anthony Lyons. Michael Davis was intentionally walked, then Josh Jung grounded out and advanced the runners to second and third to bring up Hunter Hargrove. LSU decided to walk Hargrove to face the suddenly hot Tanner Gardner, who the same pitcher had struck out earlier in the game.
First pitch breaking ball low 1-0. Second pitch fastball fouled off 1-1. Third pitch breaking ball swung through 1-2. Fourth pitch:
The kick save is ineffective. #WreckEm pic.twitter.com/pIJyHe2EQm— Texas Tech Baseball (@TTU_Baseball) March 5, 2017
Texas Tech baseball is 11-2 on the year. Their two losses are to teams that were 1 win away from Omaha last year, one on the road, one at a neutral site. This season was supposed to be a rebuilding year with Tech losing so many talented bats and pitchers from last year the Red Raiders were just supposed to try to build for 2018.
Instead, through more than a quarter of the season Texas Tech is dominating their competition notching wins over top 5 and top 12 teams. The Red Raiders are undefeated at home with a white-hot offense and a stingy pitching staff that can shut down the country’s top offenses.
This season’s team might be Tadlock’s best so far. With their big performance this weekend against big competition, the collegiate baseball world had their eyes opened. Tim Tadlock is determined to make Texas Tech one of the nation’s top blue blood baseball programs. They’re here to stay and they will see you in Omaha.