Texas Tech will head to Austin this weekend to face the Texas Longhorns in a three game baseball series. The Red Raiders were off during the week after a big opening conference series win over Oklahoma State in Lubbock.
Unlike recent years, Texas doesn’t have its typical “top of the Big 12” cast. Now don’t get me wrong, Texas is still good. Very good. They just aren’t AS good as they have been in recent years. I don’t think I’d be out of place to assume the Longhorn fanbase isn’t expecting Omaha from their squad this year. With all of that being said, if Tech saunters into Disch-Falk and expects Texas to roll over, they won’t. They want revenge from last year’s games in Lubbock, and I’m sure it is on the bulletin board in their locker room.
With all of that being said, let’s dive in.
The Red Raiders are coming off of a series victory against Oklahoma State and got some clutch performances from the likes of Austin Green, Brandon Beckel, Damian Bravo, and Kevin Bazzell. Gage Harrelson and Nolen Hester were major factors in the series win as well. In fact, Austin Green’s performance last week was enough to garner Big 12 Player of the Week and Newcomer of the Week Honors.
On Friday, the projected pitching matchup will be Lucas Gordon against Brendan Girton. The Red Raiders have matched up against Gordon in the past, last year he pitched in a game that ended in a win for the Red Raiders. This season, Gordon leads the Big 12 in ERA for starters, at 1.37.
Saturday’s matchup will be Travis Sthele against Mason Molina. Sthele has a 4.07 ERA coming into this matchup against the Red Raiders.
The man everyone will be watching this weekend is Gavin Kash. Kash, the first baseman for Tech, leads the team in almost all offensive categories except RBIs where he trails the aforementioned Green by one. Kash transferred to Texas Tech from Texas during the offseason and has quickly made his mark on the Tech program. It will be interesting to see if Kash has an extra chip on his shoulder in Austin this weekend.
For the Red Raiders, these are the first true road games of the season. They did venture down to Houston for the Shriners’ Classic, but those are neutral site games. I’m extremely interested to see how this Tech squad fairs in a true road game, in front of a packed Disch-Falk no less.
The bottom line is this:
Texas Tech SHOULD win this series. The Red Raiders are more talented overall, but it takes a lot more than talent to win games. If you choose to subject yourself to the atrocious Longhorn Network this weekend, remember to mute your TV’s and sync to the radio broadcast.
Jack’s Key’s to the Series:
Pitching: The Red Raiders need to limit the walks. It has been an issue for some starters this season, and if you get down to a team like Texas on the road like you did in game one against the Pokes, you won’t come back.
Situational Hitting: Tech has been exceptionally good overall with hitting with RISP (runners in scoring position). If the Longhorns are going to give you opportunities with RISP, take advantage of it.
Emotions: Don’t let the UT fans get to you. We all know more than 75% of them didn’t even go to Texas and they got their shirts at the Walmart up the road from the baseball stadium anyway. They aren’t worth the time of day.
And finally, as Al Davis famously said, “Just win, baby.”
Game 1: Friday, 3/24 @ Disch-Falk Field, 7:00 p.m. Longhorn Network, Texas Tech Sports Radio Network.
Game 2: Saturday, 3/25 @ Disch-Falk Field, 2:00 p.m. Longhorn Network, Texas Tech Sports Radio Network.
Game 3: Sunday, 3/26 @ Disch-Falk Field, 2:00 p.m. Longhorn Network, Texas Tech Sports Radio Network.