For much of the last month, Texas Tech head coach Dan Spencer has expressed frequently to his team that taking care of the small details will lead to bigger successes. Wednesday was a perfect example of that approach coming to fruition.
The Red Raiders matched Dallas Baptist’s scoreless innings through five, doing everything right defensively and on the mound, then were able to take advantage of opportunities when they presented themselves en route to a 7-1 victory over the Patriots at Rip Griffin Park.
The Texas Tech baseball coaching staff has spent the past month, during the Red Raiders’ on-field struggles, trying everything from a physical standpoint to change the team’s momentum and correct inconsistencies.
But head coach Dan Spencer gave a clue Tuesday that what has ailed the Red Raiders may be mental, and that even though they lost two of three to Texas this past weekend, that things could be on the verge of turning around.
It was an interesting feeling standing on the field at Rip Griffin Park early Saturday evening, having watched the Texas Tech baseball team take what head coach Dan Spencer called “at tail-whipping.”
Yet the overpowering message coming from players and coaches was that the team “came together this weekend” and can build on losing a fourth straight series in the Big 12 to drop to 18-15 overall, 3-9 in conference play.
04/08/12 - 12:52am
Saturday’s box score
NO. 25 TEXAS 14, TEXAS TECH 3
Texas Texas Tech
Player ab r h bi Player ab r h bi
Payton rf 5 1 1 3 McGruder dh 5 0 0 0
Maitland cf 6 0 2 0 Proudfoot ss 5 1 2 1
Weiss 3b 6 3 4 2 Barnes cf 4 0 1 0
Walsh dh 6 3 3 0 LeJeune 1b 4 1 1 0
Marlow 2b 5 2 2 2 Altobelli 3b 4 0 1 0
Silver 1b 4 2 2 2 Bass ph 1 0 0 0
Felts c 4 0 1 2 Whitehead c 2 1 1 1
Redman c 0 0 0 0 Burleson 2b 3 0 0 0
Stell lf 4 2 2 2 Lopez rf 1 0 0 0
Etier ss 5 1 2 0 Randolph ph 0 0 0 0
With momentum on its side from Friday’s late-night, dramatic victory, the Texas Tech baseball team was in prime position to start digging out of the Big 12 Conference hole it had created the three previous weekends.
Instead, the Tech pitching staff handed No. 25 Texas plenty of shovels, and the Red Raiders didn’t stop digging until they were firmly in the basement of the conference.
For a team that had almost come to be defined as lacking the ability to get a big hit in a big situation, things did not look good when No. 25 Texas took a two-run lead over Texas Tech in the top of the 14th inning.
Yet, there the Red Raiders were, bases loaded, two outs, down by one after a Scott LeJeune single with a true freshman at the plate. Bryant Burleson was hitless in three at-bats in the game against UT all-American closer Corey Knebel, who had mowed the Red Raiders down for six-plus innings.
But the fourth time, this time, was the charm.
For four innings, everything was lining up perfectly for Texas Tech. Trey Masek was mowing down No. 25 Texas left and right, Tech had gotten an early clutch hit and the crowd was as into the game as both teams.
Suddenly, in a manner that mirrored the last month for the Red Raiders, things changed in an instant, and UT did what it has done so many times — take advantage of opponent mistakes.