Texas Tech finished off its March homestand with a sweep of the South Florida Bulls. The Red Raiders completed the sweep on Sunday and now look forward to jumping back in to Big 12 play on Thursday against the Kansas State Wildcats, in Manhattan Kansas or as I prefer to call it, the Little Apple.
Let’s recap the South Florida series, and look ahead to the Wildcats to see what type of competition the Red Raiders can expect this upcoming Easter Weekend.
Tech 16- USF 6
Brandon Birdsell picked up his third win of the season and the bats were everything but quiet as the Red Raiders pushed 16 runs across in a throttling of USF on Friday. Birdsell went five innings allowing five hits and only one run on 64 pitches. Dru Baker went three-for-five with four RBIs and Drew Woodcox got his first two collegiate home runs in the same inning when Tech batted around and plated nine runs in the fifth inning. Dillon Carter made his long-awaited return to the Red Raider lineup in style, taking the first pitch he saw over the right center wall for a home run. Tech used a plethora of pitchers out of the bullpen to get some work in, including Hayde Key, Chase Hampton, Brady LeJune-DeAcutis, Josh Sanders, and Tyler Hamilton. This was the first game in a while that the Red Raiders put away early, and it was nice to see some young arms out of the pen get some work in, as well as pinch hitters that were able to get in the game.
Tech 8- USF 0
Patrick Monteverde. That’s the name, and if you haven’t learned it by now, it is time that you do. Monteverde has been masterful all season and Saturday was no different when he and Micah Dallas combined for a shutout of the Bulls. Monteverde went seven innings giving up five hits and striking out nine on 75 pitches. In all seven innings Monteverde went to the dugout after the third out showered in applause and being cheered on by a hundred or so fans waving the famed ‘terrible towels’ from Monteverde’s hometown Pittsburgh Steelers. The bats were working once again on Saturday as who else, but Dru Baker led the charge going four-for-five on the day and Dylan Neuse went three-for-four and Braxton Fulford homered on a no doubter to left field. The Red Raiders were in the driver seat from the beginning as Monteverde struck out all three batters on 10 pitchers in the first inning, and the Red Raiders never looked back.
Tech 7- USF 4
Andrew Devine picked up the win in relief of Mason Montgomery and Chase Hampton picked up the save as Tech benefitted from some costly errors by the Bulls defense and a Braxton Fulford homer to left as the Red Raiders handled the Bulls and completed the sweep. Dru Baker finished off his weekend with a three-for-four day and thus a 10-for-14 weekend, as he is just crushing the ball lately. The bullpen had a pretty strong outing other than control issues, and the bats came through when they were needed. Tech got the win and secured a 19-4 record going into the heart of conference play.
The Bulls really made it an easy series for Tech in terms of errors as the Bulls defense was very sloppy all weekend. The Red Raider bullpen had control issues on Friday and Sunday and it hurt them both days. I would typically say not to worry and that it will get worked out, however it should’ve already been done. These control issues are February and early March issues not late March early April issues. Am I worried? Not yet. Am I concerned about it when we play the like of UT and TCU? Yes.
The Wildcats come into the series with a record of 13-10 and coming off of being swept by Oklahoma State in Stillwater. The last time this Wildcat squad won a ballgame was Sunday March 21st, when they beat New Mexico 17-8 to win their series 2-1. This however is not a team to overlook as they have wins against Oregon State, Gonzaga, and Rice this year.
Dylan Phillips leads the Wildcats with a .341 average and five homers with 25 RBIs. Zach Kokoska leads the Big 12 in home runs with nine and has 24 RBIs along with a .313 batting average.
The Wildcats’ Friday starter is Jordan Wicks. The sophomore comes into the weekend with a 4-1 record and a 2.65 ERA over six starts and 37.1 innings. On Saturday it would appear that the Wildcats throw Carson Seymour. Seymour has a 1-2 record with a 4.50 ERA over 30 innings of work this season. On Sunday Connor McCullough throws for the Wildcats and he boasts a 1-1 record with a 3.23 ERA over 30.2 innings. Wicks appears to be the main guy on this staff and he has 51 strikeouts through 37.1 innings and opponents are hitting .214 against him. He is coming off what appears to be his worst outing of the year against OSU throwing six innings giving up five runs on six hits on 103 pitches.
The schedule is a little different this weekend with the games being on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, as this Sunday is Easter.
Game times are:
Thursday- 6 p.m. ESPN+
Friday- 6 p.m. ESPN+
Saturday- 4 p.m. ESPN+
Texas Tech should win all three games in the Little Apple. They shouldn’t overlook the Wildcats but it might be hard with TCU heading to Lubbock the following weekend. Tech needs to focus on KSU and handle the task at hand.
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