When Texas Tech was not chosen to host a NCAA Regional, baseball coach Tim Tadlock was disappointed. He was hoping to get a few NCAA banners hung at Rip Griffin Park this season.
He was also optimistic that the program was on the right track and its day would come. Not even the second-year Red Raider coach thought it would happen this soon.
“I think last week we mentioned that we’d like to host a Regional at some point in Lubbock, Texas,” Tadlock said. “I don’t think we knew it was going to be this soon, so I think it would be worth mentioning and thanking all the people that have made this happen.
“I mean, we’ve got a beautiful stadium, great administration, and we’re excited to have a Super Regional here in Lubbock and excited for the challenge.”
Texas Tech (43-19) hosts the College of Charleston (44-17) beginning Saturday at 12:05 p.m. in the NCAA Super Regional thanks to a pair of upsets — the Red Raiders themselves knocking off Miami and the Cougars taking down No. 2 overall seed Florida in Gainesville, Florida.
“We talk about playing at home in front of a good crowd in a great environment, being able to play for what we’re playing for,” Tadlock said. “You talk about all those things in the recruiting process. Don’t know so much you talk about it right now as far as that goes. As far as right now, it’s a baseball game. The bases are the same, pitcher’s mound is the same, and we’re going to treat it that way.”
Florida could not take advantage of its home field.
And in the process gave the Red Raiders the chance to host.
Now, Tech has the advantage.
“It is a huge deal (hosting),” senior outfielder Adam Kirsch said. “We are confident here and it is going to be a fun weekend for sure.”
And with a 31-4 home record, Tadlock and his players are confident that they won’t fall prey the same way the Gators did.
“Super Regionals is something to be excited about, especially since none of us have experienced it before,” sophomore outfielder Tyler Neslony said. “We are just trying to stay calm and not let our nerves get the best of us and treat it like it is a normal game.
“Our stats this season prove we play better at home. It is a confidence boost for our hitters and even our pitchers since we have a 31-4 home record. It certainly helps out.”
It is the College of Charleston’s second trip to a Super Regional, facing off against Georgia Tech in Atlanta in 2006.
This time, though, the travel to Lubbock was a little further.
“The travel part of it hasn’t been tough,” College of Charleston coach Monte Lee said. “... We know that this doesn’t come around or hasn’t come around all that often, even though we’ve been to six regionals ... We all know what’s at stake. That goes without saying. I just hope our guys just stay loose and enjoy it, and go compete.”
And for Tech, it brings Tadlock’s vision for the program one step away from where he wants it to be — in Omaha at the College World Series.
“It is unreal and it is what we have been working for,” junior infielder Tim Proudfoot said, “It is good that it is coming together and we are getting those banners up.”
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