FIRST PITCH: Red Raiders look to continue winning ways at home versus UNLV

For the first time in program history, the Texas Tech baseball team earned a series sweep against No. 21 Texas over the weekend.

 

The Red Raiders, who started Big 12 play with a series sweep for the first time since 1999, moved up from No. 6 to No. 3 in the D1Baseball.com rankings.

With that in mind, Texas Tech (17-4) will look to continue its hot streak — which includes a three-game winning streak and 9-1 record at home — as it hosts UNLV (10-11) for a two-game, mid-week series at Dan Law Field at Rip Griffin Park.

Game 1 is slated for a 6:30 p.m. Tuesday pitch followed by a noon Wednesday contest.

Last season, Texas Tech split the series 1-1 by dropping the first contest 8-5 and followed it up with a 14-6 win.

SCOUTING UNLV

The Rebels are in the midst of a two-game losing streak, dropping a pair of a games in a three-game, Mountain West series against San Diego State over the weekend.

While it has stuggled, as of late, UNLV has hit at a .310 clip which ranks it No. 25 in the country.

In an interesting stat, the Rebels have accumulated a record of 2-9 when it scores five runs or less compared to an 8-2 mark when it pushes across six or more runs.

Bryson Stott, who ended a reached-base streak at 20 over the weekend, is hitting at a .385 clip this season. He’s notched 13 RBIs.

Payton Squier (.318 average, 13 RBIs) and Ernie De La Trinidad (.365, 10 RBIs, two HRs) bring in hitting streaks of 11 and 10 games, respectively.

Nick Ames has provided the power in the lineup, notching five home runs this season.

On the basepaths, Justin Jones (.384, 24 RBIs, four HRs) could be a problem after recording six stolen bases on seven attempts this season.

On the mound, Paul Richy and Chase Maddux will go up against the Red Raiders.

Richy, who is 0-1 this season, has walked 12 batters and struck out seven in 17.1 innings.

Maddux, the son of Hall of Famer Greg Maddux, has maintained a 3.86 ERA but only pitched 4.2 innings this season. In that time, he’s given up three runs (two earned), issued a walk and given up two doubles and a triple.

FINDING THEIR NICHE

After 21 games, it appears the Texas Tech baseball team is beginning to answer a few questions from the offseason.

Clay Koelzer and Michael Berglund have developed into a nice one-two punch at catcher, providing Tadlock some flexibility when he fills out the lineup on game night.

As for the pitching staff, Jacob Patterson, Parker Mushinski, John McMillon and Jose Quezada have proven their worth as quality relievers. Facing off against 22 batters, the quartet struck out 10 and gave up two hits during the three-game series against Texas.

And, in the case of McMillon, shown an ability to swing the bat with raw power as he hit a solo home run against the Longhorns in an 8-5 win Sunday.

“Well, we’ve felt really throughout the whole year that we have the ability to shorten games and a number of guys that can do it,” Tadlock said. “This weekend was kind of cool because you got to throw (Mushinski) and (McMillon) on Friday and (Patterson) and (Quezada) did it on Saturday. We have those guys ready late if we needed them and that’s what we want to do. We want to be able to be good down the stretch and to be able to rest guys.”

RARE MISTAKES

On the season, the Red Raiders have committed a total of 11 errors.

Of those miscues, only four have been made by positional players — Michael Berglund (two), Josh Jung (one), Grant Little (one).

The attention to detail has resulted in Texas Tech touting a .986 fielding percentage — good for the best in the Big 12 and tops in the country.

SHORTSTOP SUPPORT

In one of the most interesting stats, Orlando Garcia is tied for fifth in the Big 12 with four total home runs this season. Four players rank are tied atop the standings ahead of the former El Paso Americas standout with five home runs.

In addition to his strength in the box, Garcia has aided the Red Raiders offense by driving in 21 runs this season — ranking him fourth in the Big 12.

PROBABLE STARTERS

Tuesday, 6:30 p.m., John Henry Gonzales freshman RHP (4.11 ERA, 1-1) vs. Paul Richy sophomore RHP (6.23, 0-1)

Wednesday, noon, Texas Tech TBA vs. Chase Maddux sophomore RHP (3.86, 0-0)

— Carlos Silva Jr., A-J Media

 

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