The Texas Tech baseball team began their journey this past weekend looking to get back to the College World Series. While there are many new faces on the team, the standard remains the same under head coach Tim Tadlock: end the season in Omaha. The Red Raiders took care of business on opening weekend with a four-game sweep of Gonzaga at home to begin the 2023 season.
Opening day provided an immediate challenge for the team as the Red Raiders trailed 4-1 halfway through the third inning. Junior Austin Green wasted little time getting the game back to even, though, with a three-run homer. Then, Gavin Kash provided the biggest hit of the day with a two-run shot in the fifth to give Tech a 6-4 lead. The Red Raiders never looked back and won 8-4.
Game two of the series on Saturday went much smoother. Sophomore pitcher Mason Molina came out on fire, shutting out the Bulldogs in the first five innings. The team led 9-0 after seven until Gonzaga managed three runs in the top of the eighth. Tech did not flinch and cruised to a 10-3 victory to start the year at 2-0.
The series-clincher in game three was more of the same for Tadlock’s bunch. The biggest stars of the day were a pair of seniors: Ty Coleman and Bo Blessie. Coleman went a perfect 5 for 5 at the plate, a career-best, with three RBIs. In his first career start, Blessie pitched a no-hitter for the first five innings before giving up a single in the sixth, wrapping up his day on the mound. Gonzaga was held scoreless through seven innings before finally getting on the board in the eighth. However, the outcome had been long decided as Tech won 12-3 to clinch the series.
Game four made the Red Raiders sweat as they went looking for the sweep. Tech led 6-5 through seven innings after a Kash RBI scored Green but in the top of the eighth Gonzaga stormed back. Cade McGee hit a three-run homer off the right field wall to put the Bulldogs up 8-6. The Red Raiders responded with Gage Harrelson driving in Nolen Hester on an RBI double then scoring on a sacrifice fly by Ryan Brome to tie the game at 8.
Going into the ninth the game was turned over to freshman pitcher Damian Bravo, making his debut on the mound. After a strikeout, Bravo walked the next batter but struck out the next two to keep the game tied. In the bottom of the ninth, Tech loaded the bases with Green stepping up to the plate. McGee ran the count to 3-0 and ultimately let the last pitch get too outside, bringing in Zac Vooletich for the walk-off walk and the sweep.
For an opening weekend, you could not have asked for a better start if you’re Tim Tadlock. Dominant pitching from the starters and the bullpen helped in all four victories. Newcomers like Gavin Kash and Austin Green made immediate impacts at the plate. Overall, Tadlock should be pleased with how his team performed on opening weekend.
The Red Raiders will stay home for their next series against Western Illinois. Game one is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Friday with a doubleheader on Saturday at noon and 4. Game three is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Sunday.