The No. 13 Texas Tech baseball team returned home for a five-game weekend at Rip Griffin Park over the weekend as it hosted No. 22 Michigan for three games starting Thursday before two games with Stetson on Sunday and Monday. Five games in five days is a rare occurrence in Division I baseball. The last time the Red Raiders did something like this was in March 10-14, 2000, when they played six games in five days against Texas A&M and the University of Texas Pan American.
The series with Michigan has been named the 10th-annual Brooks Wallace Memorial Series, named after former Red Raider student-athlete and assistant coach Brooks Wallace, who died at the age of 27 on March 24, 1985, after a battle with leukemia. Wallace played at Tech from 1997-80 while earning All-SWC honors and All-District VI recognition and is one of four Red Raiders to have their jersey retired.
Tech completed a sweep over Michigan on Saturday and even handed Michigan starter Tommy Henry his first loss of the season on Thursday night. Right-hand pitcher Micah Dallas shined in his first collegiate start tossing a career-high five innings, while only giving up a run on three hits, including seven strikeouts on Thursday, career-high for the freshman from Aubrey, Texas. On Friday night, it was junior Caleb Kilian’s turn. The reigning Big 12 Pitcher of the Week put together another award winning performance on what was his second-consecutive win. Kilian pitched for six strong innings, striking out six batters, a season-high for the Flower Mound pitcher, while giving up just two runs, one earned, on just five hits. On Saturday afternoon, the Red Raiders scored a run in six of eight innings and hit three home runs to complete the series. Senior Cameron Warren and Junior Brian Klein were the leaders in the lineup throughout the series. Both hit .500 with eleven hits including four extra base hits and nine RBI between the two. Junior Josh Jung recorded three hits in the series, one per game. All three went for extra bases with two doubles and a home run. The third baseman from San Antonio, Texas, also walked twice and posted four RBI. Tech finished the series outscoring Michigan 29-10 and racked up a combined 33 hits in their three-game sweep.
Last season, the Hatters went 48-13, won the ASUN title, hosted an NCAA Regional and advanced to take on North Carolina in the NCAA Super Regionals. The Hatters currently rank 29th nationally in strikeouts per nine innings, and they showed up to give the Red Raiders a run for their money.
The Hatters’ pitcher Daniel Paret, a freshman, currently ranks 11th nationally. He handed Texas Tech their only loss of the weekend. In the loss, the Red Raiders managed just five hits through the first eight innings. Paret pitched the first seven innings of the game. A two-run double from junior Doug Facendo with two outs in the ninth sent the game to extras, but it was not enough to give the Red Raiders the win, but they did rebound on Sunday afternoon thanks to a strong start from sophomore right-hander Bryce Bonnin, who carried a career-high 6.1 innings. Infielder Josh Jung led the Red Raiders at the plate, going 3-for-4 with his first triple of the year and two RBI. The San Antonio, Texas, native’s three-hit performance was his second of the year. His hitting streak now extends to seven games. Five of his seven hits over the five-game weekend went for extra bases. Tech finished the series outhitting Stetson by just two hits, 17-15.
Texas Tech will resume Big 12 play in a three-game series at Kansas State. The series begins Friday, March 29, with a 6 p.m. first pitch from Tointon Stadium in Manhattan, Kansas. The next home series begins April 5 against Kansas.