It has now been two days since the the Red Raiders defeated Duke to clench a berth to Omaha. Another trip under Tadlock to the Mecca of college baseball. A month ago, this seemed like a pipe dream at best. So how did this team address the many doubts we had going into the postseason?
Before the NCAA Tournament: By now everyone is well aware of the pitching injuries. Tadlock would never use this excuse, but losing Stephen Gingery in particular devastated this staff.
Adding to our woes, Davis Martin had been unreliable of late and there was no clear game three guy. Caleb Killian had solidified his role as ace, but otherwise our pitching appeared ready to derail this team.
In the Tournament: Our staff has really stepped up and done everything you could ask. The Dusek/Shetter combination has proved to be incredibly stout, and Killian has continued to give you outstanding outings. Martin seems to also have gotten his mojo back.
Look at what happened in the Super. Duke slapped around Killian forcing a game three, and the staff picked up the pieces and dealt a masterful game three. John Mcmillon even got in on the action, a huge relief to see him under control.
Before the NCAA Tournament: The offense had been potent, especially at home. But inconsistency had been a huge issue. It was not quite feast or famine, but horrific outings against Baylor and West Virginia caused much wailing and weeping.
We figured going in to this tournament that to win the offense would have to produce. The question was could it do it every night?
In the Tournament: The bats have been on fire. Gabe Holt in particular is just a man right now. Batting over .500 in the postseason, he has made clutch hit after clutch hit.
Grant Little has cooled off some, but Zach Reams has picked up the slack just destroying the ball over and over. With the exception of Game 2 against Duke, the offense has been dominant and stepped up every time it is needed.
Before the NCAA Tournament: Tadlock teams are known for their outstanding defense, and this year at times we had seen brilliance. But just like the bats, when the fielding is bad it is awful.
I, for one, still have nightmares about the errors at Baylor that likely helped cost Tech that series on the road. To beat the best, you absolutely cannot beat yourself.
In the Tournament: The defense has been much more consistent. Josh Jung in particular has made so many #SCTop10 plays it is almost hard to count.
An odd error and mistake here or there, but overall the defense has backed their pitchers up. Nothing is lonelier than a pitcher on the mound that can’t trust the guys behind them. It warms the heart to see such clean defense.
Well Red Raiders, enjoy Omaha once again. Get a doctor’s note, fake your own death, burn your vacation days, it’s College World Series time. Gather the young ones, and enjoy the show.