Texas Tech enters the 2016 season picked to finish fifth in the Big 12 standings, the league office announced Thursday morning as part of its preseason poll.
The Red Raiders received 38 points in a vote by the conference coaches, trailing preseason favorite TCU (57) as well as Oklahoma State (55), Texas (53) and Oklahoma (45). TCU, Oklahoma State and Texas all garnered three first-place votes.
Tech received 12 points more than sixth-place West Virginia while Kansas and Kansas State finished in a tie for seventh with 18 points and Baylor rounded out the poll with 14 points.
When asked who he was most excited about for the upcoming season, Tim Tadlock answered, “1-25.”
He didn’t want to pinpoint one particular guy because he’s excited about all of them.
The Texas Tech head coach returns one of the most experienced rosters of his tenure as 19 players return from 2015, including seven position starters and seven pitchers from a year ago. The group is joined by a talented class of 15 newcomers as well as two returning redshirts in Kholeton Sanchez and Garrett Bruce.
Tech baseball teamranked No. 39
The Texas Tech baseball program garnered a No. 39 preseason national ranking by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper on Monday in the publication’s selection of the top 40 teams in the country.
This is the second straight season the Red Raiders have appeared in the preseason national polls as Texas Tech spent most of the 2015 season ranked among the top 30 teams in the country by several publications.
For the first time in program history, Texas Tech baseball has boasted a top-25 class over three consecutive seasons as Perfect Game ranked the Red Raiders’ signing class at No. 23 in the country.
Texas Tech’s early signing class consists of 17 players, including a pair of left-handed junior college pitchers.
“Late we added (Quinton) Forrester and (Devin) Smeltzer,” Texas Tech coach Tim Tadlock said. “Both those guys have the ability right now to come in and pitch on the weekend, maybe even pitch on Friday, which is not common for a JC guy to do that.”
The Red Team plated four runs in the first inning and never looked back in its 6-3 victory over the Black Team Tuesday afternoon in the finale of Texas Tech’s fall baseball series.
The win sealed the series win, 3-2, for the Red Team.
“Our team this year is really competitive,” junior Hunter Hargrove said. “Even though we split up into two teams for this Red and Black Series, each team was hungry. They wanted to win. We wanted to win. It was fun fighting against other people, your own teammates. But we’re ready for the spring and ready to get after other teams.”
Senior Tyler Neslony drove in every run for the Red Team on Sunday afternoon as the baseball team continued its Red and Black Series.
Behind Neslony’s double and two-run home run, the Red Team defeated the Black Team 3-1.
“I accidentally hit one out,” Neslony said. “I was looking for a good pitch to hit. I just got it out in front a little bit. It felt good to hit it out. I’m not trying to do that every time.”
Along with the efforts of Neslony, the Red Team was able to jump out to an early lead thanks to the pitching of freshman Ty Harpenau.
Freshman southpaw Steven Gingery got the start on the mound for the Black Team and gave up only two hits while holding the Red Team off the board.
While the Red Team struggled to make anything happen at the plate, the Black team recorded three runs during that time en route to its 6-5 victory over the Red Team Friday afternoon at Rip Griffin Park.
“I thought Steven Gingery was really good,” coach Tim Tadlock said. “I thought he changed speeds really well and pitched really good.”
In the top of the ninth, the Black Team loaded the bases with no outs as the top of the order was due at the plate.
The next two batters struck out before a ground out ended the Black Team’s chances as the Red Team got the 5-4 victory Sunday afternoon.
For this year’s Red & Black Series, the Texas Tech position players got to pick the pitchers for their teams.
When junior Stephen Smith was asked if there was a pitcher he wasn’t too excited to face, it didn’t take him long to formulate an answer.
“Um, yeah, Ryan (Moseley),” Smith said. “With his sinker and fastball. We lost on a coin flip actually. That’s how the other team got Ryan.”
Moseley finished last year with a 3.46 ERA and 54 strikeouts.
He took the summer off and spent that time honing his pitches.