The Red Raiders have made it halfway through the Big 12 portion of the schedule and are currently tied with West Virginia for the 2nd best conference record at 8-4, just a single game behind TCU’s 9-3. There are four more conference series to play, with three of them in Lubbock. This weekend Oklahoma State comes to town, badly in need of a series win. A road win over a top 3 program would do wonders for their RPI, as their season is going less than expected coming off an Omaha appearance last year.
Last season OSU went 43-22 overall, and finished second in the conference at 16-8, just three games behind Tech. The Red Raiders swept the series in Stillwater, winning 5-1, 8-2, and 15-5. OSU would go on to grab a #2 seed in the Clemson regional, beating Nebraska and Clemson twice before taking both games over South Carolina in the super regional. They would lose to World Series runner up Arizona in the semifinals.
Coming into this season, expectations were high for the Cowboys with 3 big time pitchers returning from last years team, and seven starters overall. In the Big 12 Preview, D1 had OSU as a regional team, but currently has their RPI at 60, and they are not currently in their projected field of 64. In the beginning of this season, they had issues stringing together multiple wins, until they seemed to go on a roll after the Frisco Classic, winning 10 of their last 11 non-conference games. Unfortunately, they drew TCU on the road for their first Big 12 series and were swept. Then West Virginia came to Stillwater and all of a sudden they were 1-5 in conference. They still have Texas, Baylor, and Oklahoma left after this weekend, but are in need of wins or a big showing in the conference tourney if they want to get back to Omaha this year.
The Cowboy’s record betrays what caliber of a team they can be. This is a team still largely intact from a CWS semifinal appearance of a year ago. Garrett McCain leads the Big 12 in hitting, with a .368 in conference play and an on base percentage of .485. Garrett Benge is at the top of the conference in slugging, with 40 hits, 8 doubles, 3 triples, and 8 home runs for a .582 percentage. On the mound, the Cowboys have been struggling, mainly due to the fact that 3 of their pitchers who were expected to have an impact have been injured most of the year.
The question most Tech baseball fans have been asking leading up to this series and looking ahead to TCU next weekend is “Where is Davis Martin?” On Thursday it was announced on twitter that Davis would not be starting.
Erikson Lanning will get the start on Friday night this week for #TexasTech. No Davis Martin again. Wonder if he might throw in relief.— Will McKay (@Will_R_Mckay) April 20, 2017
There is the chance that we may see Davis out of the bullpen to get in-game experience before coming back full-time. This weekend it will be up to Erikson Lanning to hold down the fort on Friday against a good hitting team in OSU.
Game 1- Friday 6:30pm TV: FSSW+
Erikson Lanning (2-0, 2.81 ERA) vs Joe Lienhard (2-0, 3.48 ERA)
Game 2 - Saturday 2:00pm TV: FSSW+
Steven Gingery (7-0, 1.48 ERA) vs Tyler Buffett (5-2, 4.12 ERA)
Game 3 - Sunday 2:00pm TV: FSSW+
Ryan Shetter (2-0, 3.86 ERA) vs TBD