There’s a good reason why Texas Tech made such an aggressive bid to host a regional in Lubbock a few weeks ago.
That’s Tech’s home record this season. Four losses, that’s it. Two of those were to a Texas team that, like Tech, is hosting a Super Regional. One other came to an Indiana team that hosted a regional and was knocked off by a game-winning home run in the ninth inning.
The Red Raiders have won 14 straight home games. Their last loss was the deflating 5-2 defeat at the hands of the Longhorns in extra innings after Zach Davis had stolen home with two outs in the ninth to tie the game. That was March 30. There hasn’t been loss at Rip Griffin Park since.
While that record and dominance at home doesn’t guarantee anything this weekend against College of Charleston, a No. 4 seed from the Gainesville, Fla., Regional writing its own Cinderella story, it will give Tech a measure of comfort when the Super Regional begins at noon on Saturday at Rip Griffin Park.
“I think we understand that whoever wins the other regional is a good baseball team,” Tadlock said after the 4-0 victory over Miami on Monday to clinch the Coral Gables Regional.
“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 we’ve got to keep our feet on the ground and keep playing.”
The Red Raiders and Cougars have one common opponent from this season.
Charleston dropped three close games to Houston in late March, the same Houston team that beat Tech, 9-0, at the Houston College Classic in early March and is in Austin for a Super Regional against Texas.
The Cougars also beat Bethune-Cookman in three extra-inning games in April. The Wildcats were the No. 4 seed at the Coral Gables Regional.
Judging by numbers, it should be a battle between two solid pitching staffs.
The Cougars boast a 2.78 team ERA after the Gainesville Regional, led by a pair of 10-game winners in right-handers Taylor Clarke, a sophomore, and Bailey Ober, a freshman. Clarke is 10-3 on the year with a 2.62 ERA and 89 strikeouts in 96 innings, while Ober, named Wednesday to the Louisville Slugger Freshman all-American team, is 10-2 with a 1.55 ERA and 81 strikeouts in 982/3 innings.
According to the school’s athletic website, it is the first time in school history to have two 10-win pitchers in the same season. Charleston outscored Florida and Long Beach State in two games by a total of 13-7 to sweep the regional.
Offensively, the Cougars are hitting .258, led by third baseman Carl Wise, who is hitting .297 with a team-high 54 RBIs. Left fielder Brandon Murray leads the Cougars with six home runs while hitting .275, while six other players have at least three home runs each.
Tech outscored its four opponents (Columbia, Miami three times) 11-4 but hit just .216 for the entire regional. The middle of the Tech order has the power between left fielder Tyler Neslony (.400 avg., 4 HR, 31 RBIs), first baseman Eric Gutierrez (.313, 12 HR, 58 RBIs) and designated hitter Adam Kirsch (.300, 10 HR, 50 RBIs).
Tech also just shut down a Miami team that was hitting .262 going into the Coral Gables Regional with perhaps its best overall pitching performance of the season.
In four games, the Red Raiders held their opponents scoreless 30 of 37 innings, including 26 of 28 innings against the Hurricanes. Tech starters Chris Sadberry (4-3, 3.49 ERA), Louisville Slugger freshman all-American Dylan Dusek (7-0, 2.08), Ryan Moseley (1-2, 3.32) and Cameron Smith (7-2, 3.32) combined to allow just two runs in four games covering 281/3 innings.
Now, Tech is moving on, moving back home just two wins away from its first berth in the College World Series.
“We knew we would have some adversity when we left Lubbock, and we got some,” Tadlock said. “So what do you do? What does everybody in the room do when you have some adversity. I know what I do. You appreciate it and move on and start playing.”
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