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First Pitch: Series win, walk-off, and offensive struggles

This week, I examine the series win against West Virginia and how the offense can improve.

Bettmann Archive

Hello and welcome to another installment of First Pitch! This week, I will be examining the weekend series against West Virginia and the win against New Mexico State on Tuesday. I will be looking specifically into the offensive struggles in these games. Although we got three wins in four games, the offensive struggles in these games are alarming to me at least. Without further ado, let’s dive in!

Was this series really a win?

No, it was not. To me, this series could have only been a win if we had swept the under .500 Mountaineers. The offensive production on Friday and Saturday is startling to me. This team should be an offensive juggernaut with the type of talent in the lineup. We have five batters hitting over .300. This is really good for any team, especially one in the Big 12. There is no excuse for us losing to a team that has more losses than wins. In the game on Friday, the pitching was great for both teams, as only one run was scored. Davis Martin had nine strikeouts over six innings. This is now two outings in a row that Martin has lacked the run support he needed. If this team is to capture another Big 12 title, they need to dominate the teams they should and that did not happen this weekend against West Virginia.

Zach Rheams, clutch hitter.

The first walk-off homer of the season came Tuesday night against New Mexico State off the bat of Zach Rheams. The senior designated hitter has been on a tear the last couple of weeks. He didn’t get a chance to play extended time until mid-March and since then, he has been one of the better hitters on this team. He only has 11 hits on the season, but five of those hits have been home runs. Rheams also has 13 RBI, which is really impressive considering he only has 11 hits on the year. Rheams is hitting .306 on the year, making him a weapon Coach Tadlock will be able to use in the postseason.

Where will Ryan Shetter play next?

Ryan Shetter has been a constant face in the Red Raider rotation for most of this year and all of last year. In the first game of the year, Shetter was used as a relief pitcher and it did not go well, as he gave up a run and had control issues. He was used again in a relief role on Friday against West Virginia where he tossed three great innings, allowing only one hit and shutting down the Mountaineer batters. It appears as if right now, Shetter will stay in a relief, switching with Caleb Kilian, who has pitched very well as of late in a starting role. Ryan Sublette pitched the weekday game this week, a role that Shetter has filled for most of the season. Shetter looked better in his relief this weekend, and it appears that he will stay in the bullpen for later innings.

Caleb Kilian, the surprise starter.

At the beginning of the season, it appeared that Caleb Kilian would be a long reliever for the Red Raiders, someone that could give the team two or three great innings of work. That was the case until Coach Tadlock let him go five innings against Northeastern last weekend. Kilian pitched 87 times in that game, a career high. This past weekend, Kilian went six innings against West Virginia, pitching near perfect as he only allowed two hits and one run. Kilian is one of the surprises from this season so far. Let’s hope he can continue his success starting on the mound.

That’s all I have for you all today. What do you think about this team’s so-so start to Big 12 play? How do you think the team will fare this weekend against Kansas? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below.