CORAL GABLES, Fla. — The accomplishments of the 2014 Texas Tech baseball team have most often been described with the words first and ever.
Now, add first and history.
With a 4-0 victory over host and No. 3 Miami on Monday at Mark Light Field, the 23rd-ranked Red Raiders captured the first regional championship in school history and a berth in the Super Regionals, which will most likely be hosted at Rip Griffin Park this coming weekend.
“We’re hosting the Super Regional, I believe, right?” said pitcher Cameron Smith, whose complete-game performance sealed Tech’s trip to the Super Regionals. “It’d be nice to get back to Lubbock and play.”
That, in all likelihood, will happen. The Coral Gables Regional was matched up with the Gainesville, Florida, Regional hosted by Florida, which was knocked out in two games. College of Charleston, the fourth seed in that regional, won it.
Therefore, with Tech being the No. 2 seed in the Coral Gables Regional, the Red Raiders would host a Super Regional beginning either Friday or Saturday. Tech officials said before Monday’s games that the school would likely host the Super Regional after submitting an aggressive bid to host a regional prior to the beginning of postseason play.
In an email Monday night, Tech said a decision may not come until Tuesday morning due to games being played late Monday night.
“I think we understand that whoever wins the other regional is a good baseball team,” said head coach Tim Tadlock, who has taken the Red Raiders from four games under .500 last season to 43-19 in 2014.
“For that matter, everybody we played in the Big 12 for the most part, everybody we played on our schedule, no doubt about it, has played good baseball. We understand that we’ve got to go out and keep our feet on the ground and keep playing.”
Making their first regional appearance in a decade, the Red Raiders needed 12 innings to clinch their first regional title. Tech led 1-0 going into the day with one out in the top of the eighth of a game that was suspended late Sunday night due to weather.
Miami rallied for a 2-1 victory to force the if-necessary Game 7 for all the marbles. The teams battled for six scoreless innings until Tech scored two in the seventh and tacked on two more in the ninth as Smith tossed a complete-game, three-hit shutout to seal the win.
“This is amazing,” senior outfielder Devon Conley said. “I don’t think this could have ended any other way for this being my senior year in a Super Regional and to be able to play with this team, Texas Tech University. They’re family, and this is amazing. It will be a memory forever for me.”
Tech last had a chance to reach the Super Regional round in 1999 but lost twice to Rice at home as the Owls went on to the College World Series. Now, Tech is two wins away from reaching Omaha and will take a phenomenal 31-4 home record into the Super Regional.
“This is just one step on our total goal,” junior shortstop Tim Proudfoot said. “We’re excited, but we’re looking to the future and not looking to the past now. We’ll go into the Super Regional hopefully swinging the bats hot and continuing to do the same thing on the mound.”
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