When you think back to this past weekend in Statesboro, Georgia, what words come to your mind? The two that come to mine are missed opportunities. I think missed opportunities describes the weekend perfectly.
Texas Tech finished the Statesboro Regional with a record of 2-2, being eliminated in Game 1 of the Regional Final against Notre Dame by a score of 2-1. The Red Raiders had trouble getting the bats going all weekend, only averaging two runs per game. In comparison, Tech averaged about nine runs per game over the course of the season. Now, that number can be argued as inflated due to multiple games of 20+ runs (twice against Merrimack, once against New Mexico, and once against Kansas), however you would expect to score more than two runs per game, but the offense just never got going.
Opposite the bats, the pitching staff turned in their most impressive performance of the season, allowing only six runs over four games. Brandon Birdsell, Andrew Morris, and Chase Hampton all turned in impressive outings, and the bullpen was on top of their game all weekend with shutdown performances from Derek Bridges, Andrew Devine, Jamie Hitt, Garrett Crowley, Mason Molina, Austin Becker, Brandon Beckel, and Josh Sanders. Perhaps the most inspiring aspect of the bullpen, is that all of those guys could be back wearing a double t next season, barring transferring out.
We have to unfortunately talk about the entire weekend so here it goes: Plain and simple, the offense was MIA at the absolute worst possible time of the season. The Red Raiders averaged two runs a game and finished the regional 3-for-30 with runners in scoring position, leaving 36 runners on base over four games. I don’t care who you are, you won’t win very many games that way. It is another testament to the pitching staff that this team made it to the regional final and that both losses were by only one run. They straight up pitched their tails off and they should be credited with keeping the Red Raiders alive as long as they were.
In a season where the pitching was the question mark most of the time, the roles were reversed this weekend as the offense just couldn’t seem to do anything right. The pitching was outstanding, and for 98% of the time, the defense was too. Dillon Carter made multiple impressive catches while patrolling center, Easton Murrell had multiple top-10 worthy diving catches in left, and Owen Washburn made some difficult plays in right as well. Kurt Wilson and Parker Kelly held down the left side of the infield with some impressive plays and Jace, as usual, played a fantastic second base. Hudson White and Cole Stilwell were fantastic behind the dish as well, nothing new there.
With the season coming to an end, the Red Raiders finish 39-22 overall. They have made at least a regional final for the past six seasons.
It always is and always will be: