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Red Raiders get off to an interesting start against Oregon

The Red Raiders are 1-1 through the first two games of the season

NCAA Baseball: College World Series-Arkansas vs Texas Tech Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

We started with a 9-4 defeat to the Oregon Ducks. Then, the first few innings of Saturday’s game were horrific at best. The team rallied in a huge way to eek out a win by a score of 12-11. Let’s now review what happened on both days and look forward to the games in the coming days.

Let’s start like most teams do, with the pitching. There has definitely been some shaky pitching from the Red Raiders early on in both games that got them into huge holes that were hard to get out of. Fortunately for the Red Raiders, the offense really stepped up on Saturday and they were able to save one of the two games. Ace pitcher Caleb Kilian got off to a good start on Friday, but things got rough in the third inning and worse in the fourth inning as he wasn’t able to finish the fourth inning.

Bryce Bonnin had maybe the worst first start imaginable as he lasted only one third of an inning and gave up 4 runs as he walked 4 out of the 7 batters in that third of an inning. The relief pitching was shaky at best as the Red Raiders used most of their best relievers in these two games. John McMillon, Dane Haveman, and Caleb Freeman all pitched on Friday, all an inning or less and could pitch again this weekend. They all pitched decently well as they allowed zero runs between them on Friday and were the only pitchers that day not to have a run allowed.

Junior College transfer Taylor Floyd was the hero from the bullpen on Saturday as he came in and calmed the waters for the team. He pitched two and two-thirds innings of clean baseball, allowed 5 hits but no runs and struck out five batters. He kept runs off the board while the offense scored enough runs to win the game. Freshman Clayton Beeter came in to get the save on Saturday night and struck out the final two batters.

The offense really exploded on Saturday as they scored twelve runs. Sophomore catcher Braxton Fulford led the way with two home-runs and three RBI. Josh Jung got back to his usual self on Saturday after going hitless on Friday with 2 hits, 2 walks, and 2 RBI. Gabe Holt has 3 stolen bases and 4 walks drawn through both games and freshman shortstop Dru Baker has 3 RBI through both games.

This team is still loaded, you can see that through their bullpen. The Red Raiders have used a whopping 12 different pitchers through two games. They still haven’t used guys that pitched a bunch last year such as Connor Queen and Ryan Sublette. Also don’t be surprised if redshirt sophomore Jake McDonald is throw back in there after missing all of 2018 with an injury. Mason Montgomery is getting the start today, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s on a short leash due to what happened the past two days.

I would expect a little bit of a shakeup to the batting order these next two days but not much. I think Tadlock likes having his catcher bat 9th, and that’s okay when you have great hitting at the top of the lineup like the Red Raiders do. The first and third spots in the order appear to be solidified as Gabe Holt leading off has been good for the team and Josh Jung is no doubt the best hitter. That second spot might be up for debate, but I think Tanner O’Tremba did a great job there and has done a good job of coming in and hitting overall. Other names you might see there include Dru Baker, Max Marusak, and Dylan Neuse. All of these guys are either good hitters or have great speed that can get on base.

What do you all think of this start for the Red Raiders? Let us know in the comment section below!