It’s time. It’s as simple as that.
All year we’ve talked about how good this squad is. All the way from the preseason #2 ranking, through injuries and crucial wins and losses, we arrive at this weekend’s series that I’m sure has been circled on everyone’s calendar since we got the green light for the 2021 season.
It’s UT weekend.
This is always a big series for both schools and it almost always has significant postseason significance. This year is no different, other than it’s make or break time for the Red Raiders. This series is quite possibly the most significant regular season series for Tech in quite some time.
The #11 Red Raiders meet up with the #3 Longhorns in a three game set that will determine if Tech will host a regional, or if they will have to travel outside of the confines of Dan Law Field to play in their regional matchup. Tech is all but eliminated from the Big 12 Regular Season Title, however if the Red Raiders can pull out two of three or possibly sweep the Longhorns they can make things interesting in the race between TCU and UT who meet in Ft. Worth next weekend.
The Red Raiders are coming off of a series loss to Baylor last weekend and a mid week win against New Mexico by a score of 10-4 on Wednesday.
Texas is coming off of a series win in Stillwater and a mid week victory against Incarnate Word by a score of 5-3.
The Longhorns are 34-9 overall with a 12-3 record in Big 12 play, are ranked third in the nation and have only lost one time in the month of April, which was last Sunday against Oklahoma State, compiling a 17-1 record.
Texas Tech is 28-10 overall with a 8-7 record in Big 12 play. The Red Raiders are 10-5 in the month of April. Lets take a look at what we can expect in the field and on the mound this weekend at Texas.
Texas has four hitters at .300 and above and the names you might have heard of are Ivan Melendez, Mitchell Daly, and Zach Zubia. Between the two, Melendez and Zubia have a combined 15 homers and 79 RBIs. Cam Williams also has eight home runs with 31 RBIs. On the mound, Texas has the top pitcher in the Big 12 in Ty Madden, who comes in with a 6-1 record and a 1.68 ERA with 77 strikeouts through 64.1 innings this season.
Madden is the Friday starter while Tristan Stevens goes Saturday. Stevens comes into the series with a 2.74 ERA and a 7-1 record through 62.1 innings. Sunday, the Longhorns send Kolby Kubichek to the bump. Kubichek is 5-3 with a 3.26 ERA through 47 innings. Overall I would say that UT has one of the top pitching staffs in the conference and the country.
Hitting will be a huge stat to watch this weekend, more specifically with runners in scoring position. Tech was 0-13 on Sunday with RISP and it showed as Baylor routed the Red Raiders. Tech needs Jace Jung, Dru Baker, Cal Conley, and Braxton Fulford to step up and get key RBIs when they’re available on the base paths.
On the mound, look for the same rotation of late for Tech with that being Patrick Monteverde- Micah Dallas-Mason Montgomery, in that order. Monteverde is looking to get back in the groove after coming off of an illness before the Baylor series, his matchup against Ty Madden might be one of the best pitchers duels in the league this year.
If Texas Tech wants to win this series, they will need to hit with RISP and the bullpen will have to throw strikes. Bullpen consistency will be key in this series as Texas is the second best hitting team statistically behind the Red Raiders.
This is the most important series of the season. It’s against UT and there is bad blood in the water. Let’s go win this series and get going on a streak.
Be sure to follow @vivathematadors for all of your Texas Tech sports updates, also follow @JackBellSports for some in game analysis for this weekend’s series.