After a weekend series win over the number two team in the country, it would be easy for Texas Tech to look past an inferior Stephen F. Austin opponent to the next conference series against Kansas.
Well, that didn’t happen.
The Red Raiders outscored the Lumberjacks 32-6 in two games and SFA really never had a chance in the games, as Tech scored in the first inning in both games and the rout was on.
Game one on Tuesday night was a 19-1 shellacking and it started early as I mentioned, with a Ty Coleman double and Kurt Wilson homer in the first, followed by a Jace Jung double and Coleman homer in the second, the Red Raiders were out to a 6-1 lead after two innings and never looked back. Chase Hampton was scratched from his start due to sickness, so Andrew Devine got the nod and got a much needed confidence boost going four innings giving up one run on two hits with five strikeouts.
Colin Clark and Brandon Beckel followed Devine with five scoreless innings of relief, giving up only one hit, in what was arguably the second best game for the bullpen this season other than game two of the Mississippi State series.
The bats were hot as well and Tech got homers from Coleman (2), Easton Murrell, Jung, and Wilson, and Tech finished with 19 runs on 23 hits.
Game two on Wednesday was a bit closer, but not much.
The Red Raiders finished with 13 runs on 12 hits and got a quality start from Austin Becker as he went four innings giving up one run on four hits. Tech got big performances from Kurt Wilson, Parker Kelly, and Ty Coleman. In the bottom of the fifth, we saw a concerning issue, as Kurt Wilson took a violent swing and miss at a pitch and immediately grimaced and grabbed at his lower back. Trainers and Coach Tadlock came out of the dugout and Kurt finished the at-bat, but was replaced in the field by Lauden Brooks in the top of the sixth. After the game, Tadlock said Wilson would be fine and he was kept out as a precautionary measure. That is something to keep your eye on.
The story of the day though, came in the bottom of the eighth when Cody Masters stepped to the plate.
Prior to the season, Cody was hospitalized for 14 days with a non-COVID illness, he lost 25 pounds and the coaching staff did not know if he would play this season or ever again for that matter. Over the past few weeks he has gained some of the weight back and was cleared to play. He had an at-bat against Texas, and got his first hit on Wednesday, a grand-slam in the eighth. One hell of a story and Cody deserves all of the love for it.
Coming up this weekend, Tech takes on a Kansas team that is 9-14 on the year, but strangely enough has only played two home games all season. The series against Tech will be their first home series of the year for the Jayhawks. They are 0-3 in conference play, as they were swept in the first series at O’Brate Stadium in Stillwater against Oklahoma State.
Kansas is led by sophomore infielder Maui Ahuna, who is second in the Big 12 in batting average at .432 and leads the team in RBIs, HRs, on base percentage, and stolen bases.
The Kansas pitching is led by Cole Larsen and Ryan Vanderhai. They are the locked in weekend starters for the Jayhawks and will be two of the guys Tech sees this weekend. They have ERAs in the high fours and low fives respectively.
Game 1 is Friday at 6:00 p.m. on ESPN+ and TTSN Radio.
Game 2 is Saturday at 1:00 p.m. on ESPN+ and TTSN Radio.
Game 3 is Sunday at 1:00 p.m. on ESPN+ and TTSN Radio.
Conference play is heating up and we are just getting into the best games of the year.
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