Editor’s note: This is the second in a series of articles previewing Big 12 baseball in 2014 and what each of the league’s nine teams bring to the dugout this season.
8. Texas Tech Red Raiders
2013 season record: 26-30; 9-15 in the Big 12, 8th place
In his assessment of the 2014 Texas Tech baseball team, Lubbock Avalanche-Journal sports editor George Watson wrote: “No player on the 2014 Texas Tech baseball team will be named to a preseason All-American team. Few, if any, will land on any award watch list or even earn a spot on the preseason All-Big 12 team.”
But Red Raiders’ head coach Tim Tadlock is OK with that, Winston says, because while Tech may be unknown to the rest of the college baseball world, Tadlock knows exactly what he has. “I don’t think anybody is saying we’re the best an any one position, whether it’s at shortstop or pitcher,” Tadlock said during preseason workouts. “But we really like our team, and we like out toughness.”
The Red Raiders have their two best hitters (third baseman Jake Barrios and outfielder Devon Conley) back in 2014 as well as three other position starters.
Texas Tech hit only .239 as a team, but it wasn’t so much run production that failed the Red Raiders last season as it was a subpar pitching effort. They had a league-worst 4.86 staff ERA. Three of the Red Raiders’ four starters return this season. Improved pitching, especially in the starting rotation will be a key if Tech is going to better its 2013 record this season.
The Red Raiders opened their 2014 season this weekend, splitting the first two games of a three-game set with Indiana in Lubbock.
Next up in the series is No. 7 West Virginia.