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Red Raiders hope to keep momentum going vs. NMSU with Big 12 play looming

Posted: March 5, 2014 - 10:59pm  |  Updated: March 6, 2014 - 1:08am
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The Texas Tech baseball team has one weekend left before games start counting for real in Big 12 Conference action.

So to get ready for the rigors of league play, the Red Raiders (10-3) have a plan on how to approach this weekend’s four-game series against New Mexico State (7-5) — do nothing out of the ordinary.

“I think we need to just do what we’ve been doing and everything will be all right,” senior catcher Mason Randolph said after Tech’s 9-3 win Tuesday against New Mexico. “We have a lot of passion and just get it done every single day.”

Before the Red Raiders get to Baylor, next weekend, they have to deal with the Aggies, who possess their typical power numbers and will try to slug their way to victory.

Tech, on the other hand, has gotten consistent pitching across the board for most of the season, with the exception of a couple of games at the Houston College Classic last weekend.

The Red Raiders, however, were done looking at Houston after Tuesday and focused on the weekend ahead with the main goal of setting up the rotation for next week against the Bears.

“We’re really looking forward to this weekend,” head coach Tim Tadlock said. “We know what we want to do and that’s giving guys the proper rest from last week. It’s important to come out every day no matter what you’re doing and have a purpose about what you’re doing. The guys have done that for the most part so far.”

Tuesday was a good sign offensively as the Red Raiders broke out of a weekend slump that saw them score eight runs in three games, six of those coming in a loss to Sam Houston State.

Tech pounded the Lobos for nine runs on 17 hits, and still left 10 men on base. They’ll look to keep that going against an Aggies staff that holds a 4.07 ERA and has allowed 115 hits and 59 walks in 104 innings.

“Hitting is an up-and-down thing,” senior third baseman Jake Barrios said. “It’s much easier when your teammates are stroking the ball to go out and have confidence. But the Big 12 is a different monster and we have to get ready for that.”

Tech will also look to bounce back after some rough outings on the mound this past weekend. Friday starter Dominic Moreno and Sunday starter Chris Sadberry, the Big 12 Newcomer of the Week, each had solid outings. But Saturday starter Matt Withrow struggled, as did some cogs of the bullpen which contributed to an eight-run inning for Houston in a 9-0 loss to open the tournament.

“They’ve been doing great,” Randolph said. “Every guy that comes out, all the guys in the pen and have been doing a great job every single day.”
Tech also wouldn’t mind building some momentum toward Big 12 play, considering the Red Raiders open with three of their first four weekends on the road. After the New Mexico game, Tech raised its batting average to .285 and lowered its ERA to 2.79, and would like those trends to continue.

“With as many freshmen as we’re playing it’s always good to go on the road and play some games and get that experience,” Barrios said. “It was good to go out and play and now the freshmen know what it’s like to travel and have to beat a good team.”

george.watson@lubbockonline.com

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Texas Tech baseball

Who: New Mexico State at Texas Tech

When: 6:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday; 1 p.m. Saturday; Noon Sunday

Where: Rip Griffin Park

Records: New Mexico State 7-5; Texas Tech 10-3.

Radio: KTTU 104.3 FM (Lubbock0

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