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FIRST PITCH: Texas Tech looking to bounce back going into Big 12 series with Texas

Posted: March 16, 2017 - 5:02pm

Just like a season ago, the Texas Tech men’s baseball team is coming off a loss heading into its Big 12 series against Texas.

The biggest difference is the Red Raiders (14-4), ranked No. 4 earlier in the week, will travel to Austin this go-around.

Texas Tech is slated to begin a three-game series at 6:30 p.m. Friday against Texas (13-6) at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.

“Yeah, it’s a good club. (Nolan) Kingham, (Morgan) Cooper, (Blair) Henley, those are three guys in the rotation,” Texas Tech head coach Tim Tadlock said. “They’ll be a handful. They’ll be a challenge for our guys. I think it’s always a challenge playing in that environment, kind of like (Arlington) from a standpoint of just getting guys to slow things down and do what they do. Looking forward to the weekend, at the same time, we need to have a couple good practices before we get there.”

The Red Raiders are looking to jump start a sputtering lineup that has totaled 13 hits in its past three contests — going 1-2 in that span. In the two losses to UT-Arlington and UTSA, Texas Tech totaled four hits.

At the moment, Tadlock admitted he’s looking for someone to fill the designated hitter spot. A few candidates have been Zach Rheams and Cameron Warren.

“I don’t know. I think obviously without Cameron Warren, we’ve got some options,” Tadlock said. “I don’t know who it is right now to answer your question. We’ve ran some guys in there that have given us good at bats, they don’t just necessarily give you the prescience other guys give you. We’re just going to have to go with the good at bat guy.”

Scouting Texas

The Longhorns, under the direction of first-year head coach David Pierce who replaced Augie Garrido after 19 seasons, is in the midst of a six-game winning streak — the first such long winning streak since winning five contests between Feb. 15, 2005-Feb. 25, 2015.

Texas is fresh off a 4-3 win over No. 17 Texas A&M on Tuesday.

In the victory, Nick Kennedy earned his third win, while Chase Shugart notched his second save of the season. Kennedy struck out six and scattered two hits over five innings of work.

On offense, Kacy Clemens led the way by going 2 for 3 with one RBI. Michael McCann, who went 1 for 3, drove in the other run for the Longhorns.

Clemens, a first baseman and son of former MLB pitcher Roger Clemens, is leading the team with 14 RBIs. Travis Jones is second with 11.

“I think the timing when you win something like this is perfect,” Pierce said after Tuesday’s win. “Going into the Tech game, I think we should have some great weather so we should have some great crowds this weekend. It’s good momentum for us moving into conference play.”

Probable starters

Friday, 6:30 p.m. Texas Tech sophomore RHP Davis Martin (3.57 ERA, 2-1) vs. Texas sophomore RHP Nolan Kingham (0.42, 2-1)

Saturday, 4 p.m., Texas Tech sophomore LHP Steven Gingery (1.47 ERA, 3-0) vs. Texas junior RHP Morgan Cooper (1.88, 2-0)

Sunday, 1 p.m., Texas Tech sophomore RHP Ryan Shetter (2.70 ERA, 2-0) vs. Texas freshman RHP Blair Henley (3.00, 2-1)

— Carlos Silva Jr., A-J Media

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