On the eighth day of Texas Tech-mas, my Red Raiders gave to me...
Texas Tech baseball hosted another Super Regional in Lubbock. The fact that Tech baseball reached another Super Regional or even the fact that they hosted one is becoming commonplace. What makes this feat more worthy of inclusion here is how they did it.
Should I write this article for 20 more years and Tech hosts a Super Regional in all 20, I hope that I never fail to include it in a list of moments to celebrate. It’s hard to host a Super Regional. It’s hard to get to Omaha. Such things are earned instead of given. Even though we are approaching “death, taxes, and Lubbock Super Regionals” territory, fans should relish every year head coach Tim Tadlock leads us to one.
Unfortunately for Tech fans, Stanford baseball swept Tech in the Lubbock Super Regional in convincing fashion. While we would prefer to be celebrating a trip to the 2021 College World Series in Omaha, we are left with pondering “what if.” What if Tech had most of their original starting pitching healthy. What if Dylan Neuse played the full season. What if Tech was 100% for the Lubbock Super Regional.
Tech beat Army, a very solid North Carolina team, and the preseason number two team UCLA in the Lubbock regional. There was thought that the Regional would be much tougher than a Super Regional because of all the injuries affecting Tech. The Super Regional is a two-team tournament while the Regional is a four-team tournament. That turned out to be false.
The fact that Tech baseball even made it to postseason, much less as a national seed, is pretty amazing. Before the season started, Tech lost Hunter Dobbins and Jakob Brustoski. That was a projected starter (Dobbins) and a key bullpen arm (Brustoski). Very early in the season, starter Brandon Birdsell went down with a season ending injury.
Two projected starters and what may have been Tech’s best bullpen arm were lost for the season. You probably remember that the bullpen was very inconsistent for the early part of the season. As with past Tadlock led teams, they mostly figured it out by the end of the season.
There may only be a handful of college teams, if any, that can have that many significant injuries to major pieces in the pitching staff and find their way to a Super Regional, far much less host one as a national seed. Texas Tech could and did.
To add insult to these injuries, Dylan Neuse was lost for the season midway through the season and Kurt Wilson also missed significant time but did make it back for postseason play. The coaching job that Tadlock continues to do is astounding. You certainly don’t need me to tell you that.
Elite baseball is now the expectation in Lubbock. Jace Jung has been projected as a potential number one overall selection in next year’s draft. The excitement for the 2022 baseball team will be sky high. Tech just needs to avoid the injury bug like it had in 2021. The team will be motivated after the 2021 Super Regional loss.
We can absolutely take this day to celebrate a great accomplishment. It was most certainly a very big deal that the 2021 baseball team was able to overcome all those injuries to earn a national seed and to host a Super Regional. What a glorious and frustrating ride it was to follow the 2021 team. Here’s to 2022!
This is the eighth of my 12 article series of great moments from Texas Tech during this year. We are closing in on the final days. These are in no particular order so it is not intended to be seen as a ranking. I just wanted to treat each moment as its own and give them their due respect. I hope you enjoy this series modeled in the spirit of the 12 days of Christmas.