MORGANTOWN, W. Va. – The No. 4 Texas Tech baseball team remains on the road for its final road Big 12 series of the year, taking on No. 27 West Virginia on May 5-7 at Monongalia County Stadium.
Friday & Sunday's contests will be streamed for free on WVUSports.com, while Saturday's matchup will air on FOX College Sports Central. As always, fans can listen to the game on the Texas Tech Sports Network on 97.3 FM and the TuneIn app, while live stats will be available via TexasTech.Statbroadcast.com.
While it is the last road conference set for the Red Raiders (37-12, 11-7), it will also be the final home Big 12 series for the Mountaineers (26-17, 10-8), with two seniors wrapping up their final regular season games in a West Virginia uniform.
The history between the two squads only goes back to the Mountaineers' move to Big 12, as the first meeting took place in March 2013 in Charleston. Texas Tech leads the all-time series, 7-6; however, the Red Raiders have yet to pick up a series victory against the Mountaineers in West Virginia. The road team has struggled in all four weekend sets, as Tech has put together a 5-1 record at home & a 2-4 mark on the road.
Last season, the Red Raiders wrapped up the conference slate with the Mountaineers, taking the Friday night matchup, 2-1, followed by a series-clinching 4-2 win in Saturday's game. Tech would drop the finale, 8-7, then would meet the Mountaineers five days later in the Big 12 Tournament, falling, 9-4, in Oklahoma City.
Tech and West Virginia are separated by one game in the conference standings heading into this weekend's slate of games, with the Red Raiders in second in the league by one game and the Mountaineers in third at two back. West Virginia dropped each of its last two Big 12 series at Kansas State and against Oklahoma at home, while taking care of their midweek games against Virginia Tech and Eastern Michigan in between the two sets. Before that, the Mountaineers took two of three from TCU at home on Easter weekend.
The Red Raiders are coming off a series victory over then-No. 2 TCU in Lubbock last weekend. After dropping a tough battle in game one, 4-1, Tech evened the series with a 6-4 win, needing two days to settle the second game of the weekend. In the finale an hour later, the Red Raiders put up at least one run in every inning en route to 21-3 run-rule of the Horned Frogs to claim the series.
In the third game of the weekend, every Tech hitter in the lineup recorded at least one hit, one run scored and one run driven in, while eight put up multi-hit & multi-run performances. With the series win over the Horned Frogs, the Red Raiders improved to 5-1 this season against top-10 teams.
After adverse weather conditions changed this week's originally scheduled two games at Ohio State to one, Tech battled to a 5-3 victory over the Buckeyes on Wednesday night at Bill Davis Stadium. The Red Raiders came back from down 2-0 after two innings behind multi-hit games from senior Hunter Hargrove and freshman Michael Berglund, while getting strong pitching from its bullpen to put away Ohio State.
With the win, the Red Raiders wrapped up its midweek slate of games with an impressive 12-2 record. Their only two losses came away from Lubbock in Arlington and Albuquerque.
Last week, two of Tech's three wins featured 20-run outbursts on offense against New Mexico (27-15) and TCU (21-3). It was the first time since a pair games against Alabama A&M in 2012 the Red Raiders have scored 20 or more runs twice in one week. Overall, Tech threw down 61 runs on 67 hits over five games against the two 2016 NCAA Tournament squads.
Eighteen of those hits and 16 of the runs came from Hargrove and freshman infielder Brian Klein, who were named Big 12 Player & Newcomer of the Week, respectively, on Monday. The duo led the Big 12 with nine hits each last week, while Klein drove in a conference-best 10 runs while scoring eight. Three of his 10 RBI came on a go-ahead, three-run homer in the second game against the Horned Frogs, giving Tech a 6-4 lead. In Albuquerque, Klein posted a career day with four hits and six RBI.
Their accolades gave the Red Raiders nine Big 12 weekly honors in 2017, the most by any Tech team since the beginning of the award process in 1997. Eight different student-athletes have picked up conference recognition this season.
When the Mountaineers take the field this weekend, they'll hand the ball over to a trio of right-handers on the mound. West Virginia will go with junior BJ Myers on Friday night, followed by a pair of freshmen in Kade Strowd and Alex Manoah on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. Myers has pitched the most for the Mountaineers this season, making 11 starts and tossing 71.1 innings for a 3.66 ERA. He also has a strong strikeout-to-walk mark at 58-to-13, giving up 32 runs while holding opponent batters to a .243 average.
At the plate, West Virginia is hitting a collective .288, with Brandon White leading the way at .331. Austin Cole & Kyle Davis top the Mountaineers in hits with 56 & 55, respectively, while Davis has driven in a team-high 31 runs.
Out of the visitor's dugout, Tech will toss their trio of sophomores this weekend in left-handers Steven Gingery & Erikson Lanning, followed by righty Ryan Shetter. Gingery leads the conference with an 8-0 record in 2017 & a 1.55 ERA. In 69.2 innings, Gingery has allowed 15 runs, 12 earned, on 38 hits, while striking out 81. Lanning & Shetter are a combined 5-1 this season, as Shetter has tallied 55 strikeouts.
Tech rolls into Morgantown hitting .306 as a unit, with seven starters hitting above the .300 mark in 2017. Hargrove not only leads the Red Raiders but also the conference in hits with 68, including another Big 12-leading mark of 20 doubles, for a .351 average. Fellow corner infielder freshman Josh Jung has crossed home 49 times, while producing 61 hits, while junior infielder Orlando Garcia has tallied 53 RBI. Both Jung (runs scored) and Garcia (RBI) also lead the conference in their respective categories.
After going 3-2 last week, the Red Raiders moved up in every poll, climbing as high as No. 4 in four publications. The USA Today Coaches Poll, Collegiate Baseball, the National Collegiate Baseball Writer's Association (NCBWA) and Perfect Game all placed Tech at fourth in their latest rankings. Baseball America (fifth) and D1 Baseball (sixth) also bumped the Red Raiders up two spots from last week's placement.
Tech will take the next week off to prepare for final exams, before wrapping up the 2017 regular season against Kansas on May 18-20 at Dan Law Field at Rip Griffin Park.