The Texas Tech baseball program opens their season on what should be an action-packed weekend for the Red Raiders. A Valentine’s Day match-up against Houston Baptist at 1:00 pm, followed by a Saturday afternoon match-up against the Huskies to end the quick two-game series. Then another matinee match-up with Northern Colorado and a series ending game against the Bears on Sunday afternoon. Lucky for y’all, this 2020 Opening Day preview will cover all four games.
First up, the Houston Baptist Huskies. Coming off of a dismal 18-35 record in 2019, the Huskies look to bounce back in 2020 but will have to go through the Red Raiders to do it. Mainly, the Huskies look to preseason All-Southland senior Brandon Bena to get the bats hot as he led the team at the plate last season with a .313 batting average, along with 36 RBI’s and 5 home runs in 2019. Bena was also hot in the field, leading the team with 113 catches, 110 putouts, 3 assists and not a single error. Houston Baptist also relies on the arm of fellow senior and preseason All-Southland selection Kyle Gruller who threw for an ERA of 2.18, 85 strikeouts and a 3-3 win/loss record. While the Huskies have two very strong seniors on their roster, I don’t think it will be an issue for an even stronger Tech roster that has been nationally ranked in every media outlet under the sun.
Series Prediction: 2-0 Texas Tech
The second two-game series the Red Raiders have is against the Northern Colorado Bears. Coming off of a 12-35 campaign, the Bears face a tough challenge right off the bat when they come to Lubbock to take on the Red Raiders. Northern Colorado has a few players that Tech should keep a close eye on: Redshirt senior outfielder Jack Pauley, redshirt sophomore righty Sam Leach and sophomore righty Sam Colehower. Pauley was the best hitter for the Bears in 2019, with a .344 batting average and 36 RBI’s, knocking 9 home runs. He also had 101 catches for 94 putouts against 7 errors. Sam Leach was also among the best hitters on the Bears’ roster with a .311 average, 19 RBI’s and 3 homers. Leach’s 223 catches, 188 put outs, 29 assists and 6 errors had him seventh on the roster in fielding last season. As far as the sophomore Colehower is concerned, out of the bullpen, he had a 2.16 ERA, 17 strikeouts and a win-loss record of 2-1. Colehower also had one start in 2019. The long weekend could take a toll on the Red Raiders and may see Tech drop one game in this series. However, I do believe Tech has a very good chance to win both games regardless of exhaustion.
Series Prediction: 1-1 Tie
Game Times are as follows:
February 14, 2020 vs. Houston Baptist: 1:00 pm
February 15, 2020 vs. Houston Baptist: 12:00 pm
February 15, 2020 vs. Northern Colorado: 4:00 pm
February 16, 2020 vs. Northern Colorado: 3:00 pm
After the weekend series, the Red Raiders will head to Round Rock for the Round Rock Classic against Tennessee, Stanford and Houston.