There are few things in life that are a given. You’ve heard the saying about death and taxes, right? Well I think it might be safe to say Texas Tech winning baseball games in Stillwater should be on that list, because Tech hasn’t lost in Stillwater since the Obama Administration.
This past weekend the Red Raiders made their biggest statement of the year, yes even bigger than the UT series win at home.
The #9 Red Raiders went on the road to #3 Oklahoma State and not only won the series, but swept the Pokes at home, and after all was said and done on Sunday, Tech regained control of their own destiny in the Big 12 race.
Friday night, Andrew Morris took the hill for Tech and again he did not disappoint, going five innings giving up four runs on seven hits, but more importantly picking up the win, moving his record on the year to 7-0. Andrew has been lights out all season in the Friday night role, he hasn’t lost a step coming to Texas Tech, and for the record, still has my vote for Big 12 newcomer of the year.
The bats on Friday were alive and well, as Tech scored five runs in the fourth inning, all but one on a 2-out, 1-2 pitch grand slam by Cole Stilwell, and folks it was an absolute no doubter:
— Texas Tech Baseball (@TTU_Baseball) May 14, 2022
The netting saves the scoreboard from the @colestilwell Grand Salami
Red Raiders lead it, 5-2 pic.twitter.com/FoYDEU3aI9
The Red Raiders added runs on RBI’s by Hudson White and Owen Washburn, while Andrew Devine got the save and Tech took game one on a wild run down to end the game.
Turn out the lights, the party's over!— Texas Tech Baseball (@TTU_Baseball) May 14, 2022
It's a great day to be a Red Raider‼️ pic.twitter.com/n5Sq58s8D4
Saturday, Brandon Birdsell took to the mound and continued his run of dominance as well. Birdie finished with seven innings of work giving up two runs on three hits, striking out five.
The bats stayed hot on Saturday as well, as the Red Raiders posted a seven-spot in the fifth, which included a Hudson White homer, a Jace Jung RBI single, and yep you guessed it, another grand slam, this one by Owen Washburn to put Tech up 8-1 after five. Kurt Wilson added an insurance homer down the left field line in the ninth to ice it for good and secure the series victory for the good guys.
@OwenWashburn7 | #WreckEm pic.twitter.com/ZFkTSxkrkA— Texas Tech Baseball (@TTU_Baseball) May 15, 2022
However, the Red Raiders weren’t done just yet.
I have waited to say this all year, and here it is: Texas Tech got a phenomenal outing from Chase Hampton on Sunday. Hampton looked the best he has all year, going five innings, giving up one run on three hits while setting a career-high with nine strikeouts. Behind Chase, the Red Raiders used Mason Molina, Josh Sanders, and Austin Becker to finish out the game, Becker getting the save while striking out four over the final two innings.
Jace Jung got the game going for Tech early in the first with a solo homer to right, and Tech never trailed, getting two RBIs a piece from Jung, White, and Washburn to complete the Stillwater Sweep.
'— Texas Tech Baseball (@TTU_Baseball) May 15, 2022
The Red Raiders take all three versus No. 3 Oklahoma State and head home still in contention for the Big 12 title. See you at the Law on Thursday‼️ pic.twitter.com/7sBCnTz83I
With the sweep in Stillwater, Texas Tech controls their own destiny in the Big 12 race. With TCU being done with their conference schedule, the following scenario is in play:
If Texas Tech goes 3-0 against Oklahoma this coming weekend, the Red Raiders win the Big 12 outright. If Tech goes 2-1, they finish as co-champions with TCU. 1-2 would offer solo second place and so on.
The hosting situation is very much back in play as well. I truly believe that if Tech finishes with at least a share of the Big 12 title, it would be hard to make a case that they don’t host. Even if it is a 15 or 16 national seed I think Tech could sneak in there. If Tech sweeps OU and wins outright, I think you might be talking more about a 10-12 seed or somewhere in that range.
The bottom line is that this ball club played its absolute tail off this weekend, and it was the best they have looked all year. The bullpen looked refreshed and alive, the starters were great as usual on Friday and Saturday, and I think Chase Hampton made his case to move forward in that Sunday starter role.
Derek Bridges, Andrew Devine, Brandon Beckel, Josh Sanders, Mason Molina, Colin Clark, and Austin Becker all pitched out of the bullpen this weekend, and a lot of these guys saw multiple appearances. Look for this group to be among the first to get the call out of the pen going forward, because the bullpen had without a doubt, its best performance of the season.
Owen Washburn and Hudson White were huge this weekend for the Red Raiders, and these freshman proved that Tech Baseball will be in good hands for years to come.
Cole Stilwell, Jace Jung, and Kurt Wilson continued their strong campaigns in conference play. If those guys continue to swing hot bats, the rest of the country should be on notice.
I think this TikTok from Jace Jung will say it all:
We ain’t goin nowhere @jace17jung | @EastonMurrell5 pic.twitter.com/wK5IIEy5Dd— Texas Tech Baseball (@TTU_Baseball) May 15, 2022
UPDATE: As of Monday morning, Texas Tech has risen to #5 in the D1Baseball Rankings for the final series of the year against OU at home. That series will start on Thursday and run through Saturday.