College World Series: Texas Tech Red Raiders Preview

It’s been a terrific couple of weeks for Texas Tech baseball, and the Red Raiders would love to see it continue as they prepare to take on Big 12 rival TCU in their opening-round game on Sunday in their first-ever trip to the College World Series.

Texas Tech first baseman Eric Gutierrez, the team's best hitter with a .312 batting average, 12 home runs and 58 RBI this season.

Texas Tech first baseman Eric Gutierrez, the team’s best hitter with a .312 batting average, 12 home runs and 58 RBI this season.

Two weekends ago, the Red Raiders won their first NCAA regional championship in baseball, and last weekend they upped the bar even higher with their first super-regionals title in the round of 16. As a result, Texas Tech (45-19) is in Omaha as one of the final eight teams competing for the right to become the 2014 national champion in the sport.

Texas Tech’s 45 wins in 2014 is the most for the Red Raiders since the 1997 season, when they won 46 in the first year of the Big 12 Conference. The Red Raiders tied a school record for the most home wins, with 33, and their 16 consecutive home wins is the longest such active streak in the country.

Tech pitchers have recorded an impressive nine shutouts this season. The Red Raiders had two shutouts through the first 43 games and seven in the next 21 games. Four of their last five games have been shutouts.

Before April 28, the highest Texas Tech had been ranked all season was 21st. This week, Collegiate Baseball ranks the Red Raiders at the No. 7 spot, right behind No. 6 Texas. TCU is ranked No, 2 in the same poll.

“I think our league on any given day can play baseball with anybody,” said Tim Tadlock, who is his second season as head coach at his alma mater. Earlier this week, Tadlock was named the National Coach of the Year by Louisville Slugger and the College Baseball Hall of Fame.

Texas Tech’s leading hitter this season is first baseman Eric Gutierrez, who will be making his 121st consecutive start for the Red Raiders. Gutierrez is batting .312 on the season with team highs in home runs (2) and RBI (58).

The Red Raiders own the an incredibly low staff ERA of 0.94 in the NCAA postseason. Freshman starter Dylan Dusek has an 8-0 record in 14 starts this season and a team-leading 1.94 ERA. Texas Tech has combined great pitching and defense as a winning formula this season. The Red Raiders have one of the country’s best defensive teams with a fielding percentage of .981.

The starters for Sunday’s matchup between the Red Raiders and TCU will be junior left-hander Chris Sadberry (5-3, 3.17 with a team-best 60 strikeouts) for Texas Tech and TCU junior right-handed starter Preston Morrison (9-4, 1.32 ERA, 85 strikeouts and an opponents’ batting average of .197).

Tags: 2014 College World Series Chris Sadberry Dylan Dusek Eric Gutierrez Texas Tech Red Raiders Baseball Tim Tadlock

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