If you are in Lubbock this weekend and are looking for something to do, look no further. Texas Tech plays host to Oklahoma State in a Big 12 showdown that has all the aspects of being as good of a series as the 2019 Super Regional between these two teams was. If you need a refresher, that best-of-three series went the distance with Texas Tech winning in dramatic fashion on a go ahead eighth inning homer by Kurt Wilson to right center field in game three to advance to the College World Series. Needless to say, there will be no love lost in this series.
Oklahoma State will come into town ranked #14 in the country, but fresh off a midweek loss to UL Monroe by a score of 13-6. That game was played at Globe Life Field in Arlington, TX. The Cowboys come in to Lubbock losing three of their last four games and have a record of 11-3-1 with the tie being to Grand Canyon and they called the game due to travel curfew with the score knotted at four. Last weekend however, the Pokes lost two of three to the number two team in the country, the Vanderbilt Commodores.
They played a double-header on Saturday and lost both games by a combined score of 23-4. On Sunday they beat Vandy to avoid a sweep by a score of 10-6. I was able to get home after watching Tech beat UConn in time to catch most of game two of that DH and it appeared that OSU just had an off game, losing that game 18-4. That game was against Vandy, who in my eyes is better than Arkansas, who currently holds the top spot in the nation. This Cowboy squad is no pushover and they are eager to get to Lubbock to dish out some revenge for that 2019 Super Regional I referenced earlier.
Texas Tech comes in to this series on a 14 game winning streak, not losing since that final Sunday morning in Arlington, just about a month ago. The Red Raiders have swept the likes of HBU, Texas Southern, Gonzaga, and UConn, while taking individual games against Texas State, SHSU, and Texas A&M Corpus Christi. Not to take anything away from those teams, but this will be Tech’s biggest test since that opening weekend in Arlington.
#7 Texas Tech
Texas Tech is led this season in hitting by freshman second baseman Jace Jung, who has compiled a .403 average with seven homers and 27 RBIs. Cal Conley is hitting .394 with four home runs and 21 RBIs, while Dru Baker is going for .368 one homer eight RBIs and a whopping 26 runs out of the leadoff spot. Nate Rombach and Braxton Fulford are also having good campaigns combining for nine homers and 31 RBIs between them. Lastly Dylan Neuse, who had a somewhat slow start this season is heating up as well going for a .271 clip with 12 RBIs and 17 runs.
On the mound, the Red Raiders will stick with the same weekend rotation we have seen since the HBU series, with the three starters being Brandon Birdsell, Patrick Monteverde, and Mason Montgomery. Birdsell will throw Friday night and enter with a 4.60 ERA and 13 strikeouts over 15.2 innings pitched. Monteverde who is the ace of this staff, will go Saturday, he boasts a 0.78 ERA with 27 strikeouts over 23 innings. Montgomery gets the call Sunday he claims a 3.26 ERA with 21 strikeouts over 19.1 innings pitched.
Tech’s achilles heel this weekend will be the bullpen. There have been a few guys out of the pen that have been able to hold their own but they are few and far between. My thoughts are that with no mid-week series this week, keep an eye out for Micah Dallas to come out of the pen early if any of these starters run into early trouble.
#14 Oklahoma State
As I talked about earlier the Cowboys have lost three of their last four but three of those games were against Vanderbilt, so there are no bad losses out of this team yet. Josh Holliday has his team trending towards the top of the Big 12, so let’s see who contributes for them.
The Cowboys are led by Brock Mathis who comes in hitting .341 with five homers and 10 RBIs. Jake Thompson goes for a .327 clip along with two homers and 11 RBIs, while Christian Encarnacion-Strand hits .262 but has five homers and 14 RBIs. OSU has 91 runs on the season compared to Tech’s 152. The Cowboys’ team average is .237, while Tech’s is .296.
On the mound it looks like OSU will send lefty Scott Parker to the mound on Friday, he comes into the series with a 1.71 ERA and 21 strikeouts over 21 innings. On Saturday the Cowboys’ could send Justin Wrobleski to the mound, he has a 2.81 ERA and 23 strikeouts over 16 innings pitched. The Sunday starter appears to be Bryce Osmond and he boasts a 4.35 ERA and 19 strikeouts over 20.2 innings. Justin Campbell has also started a few games for OSU but the three I already mentioned before started the games against Vanderbilt so that is what I am basing my observations on.
This will be a heavyweight brawl between these two teams over three days and I believe both teams are up for the task. These teams are two of the top four teams in the Big 12 with the other two being TCU and Texas, so this series is a huge one to start right off the bat. Look for both to have extremely tight leashes on their pitchers and to be using the entire roster in terms of pinch hitting and so forth.
Game Times are as follows:
Friday- 6:30 p.m.
Saturday- 2:00 p.m.
Sunday- 2:00 p.m.
Be sure to follow @vivathematadors for all of your Texas Tech sports updates and follow @JackBellSports as Big 12 play heats up.