With the baseball team ending the best run in the program’s history, we are officially done with the 2019 Spring sport season. We saw so much success as multiple teams made the top 5 in their respective sport and the athletics program as a whole had been raised to new heights. Here are the top 5 moments from this spring sport season:
5. Blowout of Kansas - February 23rd
Everyone remembers this one, except that it might be swept under the rug in a national sense. The Red Raiders needed a win big time against Kansas to keep pace in the Big 12. Although the team ended up tying for the Big 12 regular season title, this game will surely be in the hearts and minds of Red Raider fans forever.
Going into the half with a 45-20 lead, the Red Raiders took command of this game early. It wasn’t just the score that makes this game so memorable, it was the ceremonial passing of the torch in the Big 12. After this game, the Jayhawks really took a backseat in the Big 12 title discussion and after being dominated like this, Kansas never really recovered.
4. Tariq Owens BLOCKS Rui Hacimura’s shot attempt - March 30th
This moment will be remembered in the National Spotlight more for the no-call on Tariq stepping out of bounds but that doesn’t take away from how this shifted the momentum of this game. With just a minute remaining in the game, Hachimura had what appeared to be a wide-open three point shot from the corner when the long and lanky Owens jumped and got all ball, next jumping out of bounds to throw the ball back in to teammate Brandone Francis.
At key juncture in the Texas Tech/Gonzaga game, Tariq Owens gets the big time block for the Red Raiders. But he was out of bounds when he recovers the block. However, it’s a non-reviewable play. #MarchMadnesspic.twitter.com/YWdNgHoNWa— Pypeline (@Pypeline_) March 31, 2019
This was the moment in the game when most Tech fans realized they were going to the Final Four. The next minute of the game was hectic, but the Red Raiders used the momentum given to them by Owens on this play to win the game. Going to be honest with y’all, Tariq isn’t done on this countdown, and his next moment might make you cry.
3. Dane Haveman strikes out Colin Simpson to send the baseball team to Omaha - June 9th
With two men on and two men out, Oklahoma State’s best hitter Colin Simpson stepped up to the plate down 2 runs. Red Raiders everywhere held their breath as two guys had been walked that inning. I personally was pacing back and forth in my kitchen listening on the Radio.
Haveman threw a beautiful pitch on a 1-2 count and got Simpson swinging out of his shoes to send the Red Raiders to Omaha. The honorary dog-pile ensued on the mound and the Red Raiders were on their way to Omaha for the fourth time in six years.
2. Texas Tech Men’s Track and Field win a National Championship - June 7th
This one was a great moment. The first men’s championship in any sport happened under Wes Kitley’s watch. Led by star sprinter Divine Oduduru, the Red Raiders got 62 points and beat Florida among others to win the National Championship Trophy.
Oduduru had 20 points for the Red Raiders in this one including a individual National Championship in the 100 and 200 meter dash. He ran a 9.86 in the 100 and a 19.97 in the 200, both some of the fastest times in the world this year!
Before we get to the No. 1 moment this spring let’s get to a couple of honorable mentions:
Dylan Neuse’s Catch
In the eighth inning of the elimination game against the Florida State Seminoles, there was a man at first and one out in the inning when a ball was struck to what seemed like the gap in right center field. Neuse made up a ton of ground and snagged the ball out of the air, saving at least one run.
Jarrett Culver’s dagger three pointer against Michgan State
This game was controlled by the Red Raiders for the majority of the game. With just a minute left, the outcome of the game was still in doubt as the Red Raiders were only up 4 as the Spartans had made a huge comeback. Culver crossed over and hit the big three pointer to put the Red Raiders in the National Championship game.
All of these moments were big this spring for the Red Raiders but none were as big as our number one moment:
1. Tariq Owens runs out of the tunnel - April 6th
This is a story of redemption for one of our Red Raiders that is now in the NBA. Tariq Owens came out of the game early in the second half with what looked like a ghastly ankle injury. It sucked the air out of the Texas Tech crowd and bench. Their defensive anchor all season long had gone down with what looked like an injury that would keep him out. No one thought he would come back. They were all wrong.
Tariq came running out of the tunnel with a slight limp but boundless energy. The crowd went wild and it gave the team the boost of morale it needed when they were in the middle of a comeback by Michigan State. This injury was no joke either, Owens has told the media that he won’t participate in the NBA Summer League because of the injury he sustained during this game. He will go to Phoenix and rehab with the Suns soon.
This moment ranked above all others for one reason: this team and this athletic program had been counted out for the longest time and for what seemed like the 100th time, they got back up and came swinging, this time on National Television. Although Tariq wasn’t as effective the rest of the tournament, his comeback gave the team a boost emotionally and mentally on the floor.
What do you think of my rankings? Is there any moment that I missed? Let me know in the comment section below!