Devon Conley had just moved into position.
The center fielder was moving into the shift Texas Tech coach Tim Tadlock had called when he saw the ball pop up into the air heading to a no-man’s land in shallow left-center field.
Conley put his head down and ran.
Then — at the last second — he caught a glimpse of the ball and dove, fully extending his body and reaching out with his glove.
His sunglasses few off of his hat.
He hit the turf hard. And the ball came down into his outstretched glove.
Two years and two days ago, the direction of the Texas Tech baseball changed when Tim Tadlock was put in charge of the program.
That direction is now headed north. To Omaha. Cinderella’s slipper is a cowboy boot.
Texas Tech coach Tim Tadlock used to have a Golden Retriever named Moses.
It could catch pretty darn good.
But that ole dog didn’t have anything on Texas Tech catcher Hunter Redman.
“A bad catcher, everybody here, you don’t have to know baseball to know if there’s a bad catcher back there,” Tadlock said. “It looks like a dog I used to have — like a Golden Retriever running to the back of the back stop. It was a good dog, too. I’m telling you, a really good dog.
“I mean, he could really catch.”
TEXAS TECH 1, COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON 0
SATURDAY, JUNE 7 — DAN LAW FIELD AT RIP GRIFFIN PARK — ATTENDANCE: 4,811
Plays at the plate
Texas Tech made not one but two run-saving plays at the plate Saturday. In the third inning, junior shortstop Tim Proudfoot displayed a major league glove and range.
He isn’t drawing names out of a hat.
Nor does he have a magical genie telling him who to start.
But it doesn’t matter who Tim Tadlock puts on the mound, there are always some magical goose eggs on the scoreboard.
Saturday, it was Chris Sadberry’s turn.
Behind the hard-throwing left-hander, Texas Tech’s starting pitchers extended their scoreless streak to 31 innings and the Red Raiders defeated the Cougars 1-0 in the NCAA Lubbock Super Regional at Dan Law Field at Rip Griffin Park.
Junior Chris Sadberry and Hunter Redman were the first two Texas Tech baseball players chosen in this week’s pro draft, one in the sixth round, the other in the eighth.
Saturday afternoon, the duo combined to put the Red Raiders to within one game of Omaha almost all by themselves.