Another season of Red Raider Baseball has come and gone, bringing a couple of memorable collegiate careers to an end officially, and all but bringing an unforgettable era of Texas Tech Baseball to an end.
The Red Raiders came up short in the Statesboro Regional Final to Notre Dame by a score of 2-1, completing a weekend of underwhelming offense and rejuvenated pitching with stellar defense.
I’d like to take a look at some of the more memorable moments of the 2022 season, as I have ranked my top-5 moments, then discuss the departures (and likely departures) from our squad.
5. Owen Washburn walks off Michigan in season opener
Got the key hit when we needed it the most! pic.twitter.com/vqGPxM5kjd— Texas Tech Baseball (@TTU_Baseball) February 19, 2022
Little did we know back in mid-February just how important Owen Washburn would be to this team. It also makes the list purely because it was against Michigan. Owen finished second in voting for Big 12 Freshman of the Year behind teammate Hudson White, and he took home Big 12 Newcomer of the Week twice over the season. Owen is going to be a huge piece of this program-as is Hudson-for years to come.
4. Parker Kelly hits two grand slams against Merrimack College
Entering this game against Merrimack, PK had two career homers. The fifth-year senior hit three in game one of a double-header, two of them being with the bases juiced. Kelly finished the game 3-for-6 with 3 HRs and 9 RBIs, a career day that jump started his best offensive season as a Red Raider.
3. Andrew Morris & Brandon Birdsell throw back-to-back complete games against West Virginia
Twin bill appreciation post— Texas Tech Baseball (@TTU_Baseball) April 24, 2022
Andrew Morris (W):
CG, 9.0 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 5 K, 3 BB
Brandon Birdsell (W):
CG, 8.0 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 9 K, 1 BB
After Friday’s game was postponed to Saturday, the pitchers that anchored Tech down all year went to work in a big way. This was during a time where we didn’t have a secured Sunday starter and the bullpen was questionable at best. These two work-horses put the team on their backs and both of them gave arguably their best performances of the season on a Saturday during a double-header. Clutch.
2. Cole Stilwell’s Grand Slam against Oklahoma State
It’s hard to put an exclamation point on a series in the opener, but man Cole did. Owen Washburn had a grand slam the next day as well against the Pokes, but the image of Cole putting the guns up as soon as it happened made this one of the top images of the year. Tech swept Okie Light for the third consecutive series in Stillwater while they were ranked #3 in the country, all while firmly putting Tech back in the Big 12 race late in the season.
1. Kurt Wilson walk-offs against Texas
KURT WILSON PLAYS HERO AGAIN!!!!!— Texas Tech Baseball (@TTU_Baseball) March 26, 2022
GRAND SLAM WALK-OFF TO BEAT TEXAS, 16-12!!!!! pic.twitter.com/ke4FsBQTnz
Was there any doubt? Kurt Wilson already had his name etched in Texas Tech lore forever from the Oklahoma State Super Regional in 2019, but he put it in BOLD after this weekend. A walk-off steal of home followed by a walk-off grand slam. That in itself is incredible, but it is even that much sweeter when it comes against the Longhorns, who were at the time, #2 in the country and were picked by just about everyone to run the table in the Big 12. They ended up finishing 5th in the conference.
With the conclusion of the 2022 season, there are players who will be moving on. Whether it be because they are seniors, or ready for the draft, some will transfer as well. I would like to put a disclaimer that I am only speculating on the non-seniors who haven’t announced their intentions to enter the MLB Draft.
Kurt Wilson, Parker Kelly, Easton Murrell, Cooper Swanson, Colin Clark, and Cody Masters have used up all of their collegiate eligibility and Texas Tech Baseball is in a better place because of all of them. We wish them nothing but the best in their future endeavors. With that being said, Tech will have to replace the entire left side of the field: left field, third base, and shortstop.
I am also anticipating the end of the Jung era in Lubbock. It is all but a fore-gone conclusion that Jace Jung will enter the draft, and thus ending six straight seasons of a Jung on the Tech Baseball roster. We as a fanbase have been spoiled with Josh and Jace in Lubbock, Josh played 3 years, Jace 3 as well counting the 2020 COVID year. I mean, I can’t even really put into words the effect the brothers have had on our program. Josh was voted as the Big 12 Player of the DECADE by D1 Baseball after he graduated. Jace was 2021 Big 12 Player of the Year.
The Jung’s will be missed in Lubbock and I hope they know how much Red Raider Nation loves them and appreciates their effort for Tech Baseball over the last six years.
I am also anticipating Cole Stilwell entering his name in the draft. It hasn’t been announced yet, but Cole has had an outstanding career in Lubbock and any team that drafts him will get a good one.
With all of the talk in the field, we need to talk about starting pitching. Brandon Birdsell will be entering the draft, and I am anticipating Andrew Morris to join him as well. Both guys had an incredible season, and if they weren’t as good as they were, this team probably wouldn’t have made the tournament. They are the reason Tech was within a game of a Big 12 Championship this year.
For those keeping track, that would be the entire infield, your top two pitchers, and your left fielder all leaving the program.
However, I’m intrigued by the future of this program. Next year, you will get a fully healthy Dillon Carter back, as well as Owen Washburn and Hudson White, the top two freshman in the conference. You also return all of your bullpen, which was arguably the brightest spot over the last month of the season. In the bullpen as well you get the arms of Brendan Girton, Hayde Key, and possibly Trendan Parish back as well, those are three very talented arms that will be key (no pun intended) going forward.
Look for Chase Hampton and Mason Molina to anchor this pitching staff, along with Girton, Key, Parish, Devine (who looked to be getting back to 2020 form), Sanders, Hitt, Crowley, and Bridges as well. I would even look for that third starter spot to go to Austin Becker. We know he can go longer innings, and I think if he is at the top of his game, he can fill the role nicely.
Now we need to talk about transfers, and while there have been no official announcements with anyone just yet, there will be. At the beginning of this season we had four freshman on the roster listed as catchers. I believe a couple of those guys might leave, depending on if they want to give first base a try. I also imagine a few pitchers who were not used much this year might hit the portal as well.
Way too early starting 9
This is going to be comical, but I’m going to give it a shot. This is with players still with the program as of June 9th.
- SP- Chase Hampton
- C- Hudson White
- 1B- Trevor Conley
- 2B- Travis Sanders (2022 Commit)
- SS- Lauden Brooks
- 3B- Zac Vooletich
- LF- Dalton Porter
- CF- Dillon Carter
- RF- Owen Washburn
This is way early in the process, and some of these guys might leave Tech, but if they stay, I would be very pleased with this lineup. Tech has a lot of talented kids coming in from the high school ranks, and will probably add a couple names from the portal as well. I will be updating our site with Baseball Recruiting a lot more frequently this off-season than ever before, so keep a look out for future news.
This year’s Tech Baseball squad had incredible highs and some incredible lows as well. In what has been considered a “down” year for Tech Baseball, they still came within one game of winning the Big 12 Regular Season, so if this is a down year, we should be all in on this program.
With Tim Tadlock at the helm, this program has the highest ceiling in its history.