Texas Tech Baseball Faces Tough Test Vs. OU This Weekend

Jun 19, 2016; Omaha, NE, USA; Texas Tech Red Raiders pitcher Steven Gingery (47) pitches against the TCU Horned Frogs in the second inning in the 2016 College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park. Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 19, 2016; Omaha, NE, USA; Texas Tech Red Raiders pitcher Steven Gingery (47) pitches against the TCU Horned Frogs in the second inning in the 2016 College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park. Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports /

This weekend the Texas Tech baseball team continues Big 12 play on the road at Oklahoma.  Here is a preview of what could be in store for the Red riders.

In Norman, Oklahoma this weekend, the Oklahoma Sooners will try to do what even mother nature has been unable to do; stop the Texas Tech baseball team.  The Red Raiders are riding a 10-game win streak which includes the last two mid-week soggy weather games against Texas Southern.

Tuesday’s 8-4 win was delayed for over two hours as a thunder and lightning storm passed through the area.  The highlight of the night came when freshman John McMillon belted a two-run homer off the top of the video board in right center field.  Many associated with the program said that the blast was the longest shot hit at Dan Law Field in the collective memory.

Wednesday, Texas Tech played through cold weather and a steady drizzle en route to a 14-7 triumph.  The offense posted 21 hits, one of which was yet another long ball from McMillon.

Now, Big 12 play resumes against a tough OU team that is 23-5 on the year.  The Sooners are 2-1 in league play after taking a road series in Waco against No. 14 Baylor.

Thus far, OU has been a well-balanced squad.  Following a disappointing 2016 season that saw the Sooners finish just 11-13 in the conference, head coach Pete Hughes’ team leads the Big 12 in batting (.300) and team ERA (2.66).

However, the Sooners have not played the toughest non-conference schedule.  After three games against then No. 17 Long Beach St. to open the season (during which OU went 2-1), OU did not face another ranked team prior to Big 12 play.

The Red Raiders and Sooners have one common opponent.  On March 7th, OU lost a home game against Wichita St. 4-2.  Last weekend, Tech swept the Shockers in a three game series in Wichita.

Fans can expect to see some runs on the board when Oklahoma and Texas Tech meet.  Texas Tech head coach Tim Tadlock told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal that L. Dale Mitchell Park is a hitter’s park.

"“It is a pretty offensive ballpark up there,” Tadlock said. “If there is a ballpark that is more offensive than ours it is that one. That’s not taking anything away from their lineup. They got a lot of guys back and some really good hitters, but with that south wind there it can get ugly. They have put turf on the field, which makes it even more offensive.”"

Since both teams feature potent offenses, the series will likely be decided on the pitching mound.  The Sooners and the Red Raiders are the top two teams in the Big 12 in ERA but Texas Tech should have the advantage when it comes to the starting rotation.

Friday’s starter, Davis Martin brings a 4-1 record and 2.57 ERA into the weekend.  He will be opposed by Oklahoma’s Dylan Grove and his 0-1 record and 3.22 ERA.

Martin has made six starts averaging 5.8 innings per start.  Take away his one poor outing against Texas A&M in Houston, where he went just 3.2 innings, and Martin is averaging 6.3 innings each time he takes the hill.

In contrast, Grove is averaging a mere 4.42 innings in his five starts.  He has given up 19 walks this year (3.8 per game) and has only struck out 25.  Martin has walked only eight hitters while fanning 29.

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Saturday will see Texas Tech lefty Steven Gingery and his microscopic 1.05 ERA face off with Devon Perez.  Perez is a tough matchup striking out 37 hitters while walking just four in 27 innings.

The series finale will see Texas Tech’s Ryan Shetter (2-0, 3.09 ERA) try to continue his solid season.  While OU has not officially named a Sunday starter, the “Daily Oklahoman” reports that impressive sophomore Jake Irvin could be called upon.  He has a fantastic 1.16 ERA and a 5-0 record in 2017 and is a big reason the Sooners are experiencing a nice turnaround year.

The Texas Tech baseball team is the only undefeated team in Big 12 play thus far.  A second conference road series win would set Tech up nicely to make a run at defending last years’ Big 12 regular season championship.

Thus far, some of the best program in the nation have not been able to solve the Texas Tech baseball team.  And this week not even a West Texas deluge could cool off Tim Tadlocks’ team.

This weekend’s series is just another tough test for the Red Raiders.  Fortunately, those seem to be the situations that bring out Texas Tech’s best.

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