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Red Raiders take Baylor Series, midweek at ACU

Tech now has 10 days to rest before final push in regular season

Texas Tech Athletics

As Texas Tech is preparing for its final push in the regular season, the Red Raiders get some much needed rest starting today after Tuesday nights’ 16-12 victory in Abilene against ACU.

The Red Raiders won their first midweek game since March 30th, a 13-5 win over SFA. Tech rode hot bats through the night and a nine-run sixth inning that propelled them to a victory. This game was not for the faint of heart, as the momentum kept swinging back and forth behind 28 runs between the two teams over four hours and forty two minutes.

Parker Kelly had a career high four hits, two of those doubles along with a no-doubter home run to center field. Dillon Carter and Cole Stilwell also homered for the Red Raiders and every single starter had at least one RBI against the Wildcats.

Texas Tech Athletics

Andrew Devine got the win after Mason Molina started the game. Molina went four innings giving up three runs on seven hits, while Devine went one inning giving up three runs on two hits. Every single pitcher Tech used gave up at least one run, other than Jamie Hitt who had to come in and get the final out of the game after Trendan Parish exited with an apparent injury to his throwing elbow.

The mid-week pitching continues to be an issue, but I will not harp on that today, because a win is a win no matter how ugly it is.

This past weekend, the Red Raiders took two of three from Baylor in Waco behind strong pitching and impressive bats on Friday and Saturday.

Friday night, Andrew Morris took to the hill and turned in what has become the new normal for him, a stellar quality outing that never let the game be brought into question, as Tech beat the Bears 7-1. Morris went seven innings allowing four hits and only one run, while striking out seven and not giving up a free pass all night. Andrew has really cemented himself in this rotation this year, and if I had a vote for newcomer of the year for the Big 12, he would probably get my vote at this point. He has been spectacular in Big 12 play, and his record now sits at 6-0 on the year with a 3.44 ERA.

Texas Tech Athletics

On the hitting side of Friday, Tech got three RBIs on a home run from Owen Washburn, and RBIs from Jace Jung, Ty Coleman, Kurt Wilson, and Hudson White. Coleman gave the Red Raiders the early lead in the first on an RBI single up the middle to plate Cole Stilwell, and the good guys never looked back getting out to a 5-0 lead before the Bears scratched across one run before Tech added two more.

Saturday afternoon, the onslaught continued as the Red Raiders took game two by a score of 11-1. Brandon Birdsell was doing Brandon Birdsell things again, and by that I mean he got outs when needed and limited the opposition to next to nothing on the scoreboard. He went seven innings giving up five hits and one run and striking out four with four walks as well. It is becoming apparent that anytime Birdsell is on the hill, Tech’s chances of winning grow exponentially. With a win on Saturday, he improved his record to 7-2 on the year with a 2.07 ERA.

Texas Tech Athletics

The bats on Saturday were cooking again, as Kurt Wilson had a three-run homer in the seventh, to put this one away for good. Parker Kelly doubled twice and had two RBIs, one on a double to get the scoring started in the second, Cole Stilwell had two RBIs on a double in the second as well, part of a five-run second inning for Tech that put the game out of reach early with Birdsell on the mound.

Tech dropped the Sunday finale by a score of 11-7, and after being down early, the Red Raiders tried to rally in the eighth but only pushed two across and that was all she wrote. Trendan Parish got the start, and was removed after recording four outs, allowing seven runs on five hits and four walks. For the next 20 outs that Tech pitching recorded, we saw some sort of life out of the bullpen, only allowing four more runs. Chase Hampton pitched 4.2 innings and only allowed one run on five hits while striking out seven over that stretch.

Cole Stilwell homered to left-center in the top of the first, putting Tech out to at least a one run lead for the third straight game against the Bears, however they responded with three in the first and four in the second and Baylor was up 7-1 after two innings. Jace Jung and Ty Coleman also had two RBIs on the day, as did Stilwell, and the lead was just too big to overcome in this one.

Although the start was not good by any stretch, I was encouraged by what I saw from Hampton in relief in this game. However there have been good stretches by just about everyone in the bullpen, the problem is lack of consistency. Parish got the start because he had looked good lately, especially against West Virginia. The lack of consistency is what is so frustrating to watch as Tech fans, because we see good outings or innings at times from guys, only for them to give up eight runs the next time they pitch. It is maddening.

On Sunday, Tech issued 10 walks and left 12 men on base. I don’t care who you are, that is not a recipe for a win. You need to limit the free passes, and improve situational hitting on Sunday. Friday, Tech hit .357 with runners in scoring position (RISP), and on Saturday they were .500 with RISP. On Sunday, Tech hit .222 with RISP. It just seems to be something about Sunday with this team.

It all starts with pitching, and with starting pitchers’ ERA being a whopping 12.71, along with no one completing five innings, it’s an uphill battle.

Tech is 10-2 in the openers and 1-5 in finales. Woof.

Now though, Tech will get some much needed rest before heading to Stillwater to face the #3 Oklahoma State Cowboys in a huge series that will be a major factor in the final standings, because despite being 1-5 on Sunday, Tech is just two games out of first in the Big 12 and one game behind second place TCU.

Tech takes on the Pokes starting Friday the 13th and going through Sunday the 15th, before heading home for the final Big 12 series against Oklahoma on the 19th through the 21st.

There are six games left in the regular season, three of them at home, and then we will see what the draw for the postseason looks like.

In all reality if Tech is going to host they need two of three in Stillwater, and at least two if not all three against OU. It is possible to still host and if that happens, Tim Tadlock should win National Coach of the Year.

The roller-coaster continues! I’ll check back with y’all for a Cowboy preview next week.

Lastly, I would like to wish a Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there, especially mine.