No. 5 Texas Tech Baseball's on the road to face Kansas

No. 5 Texas Tech Baseball's on the road to face Kansas

Davis Martin Davis Martin

LUBBOCK, Texas – The No. 5 Texas Tech baseball team starts a four-game road trip with a conference series at Kansas on April 6-8 at Hoglund Ballpark in Lawrence.

Friday & Sunday’s games are scheduled for 1 p.m. starts, with a 2 p.m. first pitch slated for Saturday afternoon. All three games will be streamed live on WatchESPN.com & the ESPN app. The set can also be heard on the Texas Tech Sports Network on 97.3 FM, the 97.3 app, TuneIn app and online at TexasTech.com. Live stats will also be available at sidearmstats.com/kansas/baseball/.

The Red Raiders (24-6, 3-3) and the Jayhawks (17-11, 2-4) meet for the 65th time when the two teams square off on Friday. Tech holds a 41-24 overall record against Kansas, with a 16-14 mark in games in Lawrence. The Red Raiders have taken each of the last three season series, winning eight consecutive games played against the Jayhawks.

Coming into the weekend, Tech sits in fourth in the conference standings with a 3-3 mark in Big 12 play. The Red Raiders earned two wins against West Virginia last weekend in the final two games of the set, while taking the series finale from Baylor on March 18. The Jayhawks sit at 2-4 and seventh in the league standings.

The Red Raiders are coming off a thriller in Midland on Tuesday night. Trailing 1-0 in the seventh, junior catcher Zayne Willems popped an RBI single through the right side of the infield to tie the game. Then, the second pitch of the ninth inning was demolished onto the grassy hill behind right field by senior designated hitter Zach Rheams for the walk-off win.

It was the first walk-off home run by a Red Raider since Orlando Garcia on April 10, 2015, against Baylor. Last season, Tech had three walk-off victories, with the latest on a walk-off walk to Michael Davis against UNLV (March 22, 2017).

Before the Midland win, the Red Raiders posted a series victory over West Virginia last weekend in Lubbock, picking up 4-1 and 8-5 wins in the final two games of the set. In the series opener, Tech dropped a 1-0 decision for its first home loss of the year.

The Jayhawks took a home series against Morehead State last weekend. The two teams participated in a 12-inning battle in the opener, with the Jayhawks taking the 8-6 win, followed by a 5-3 loss in the middle game & a 12-0 shutout performance by Kansas to claim the set. The Jayhawks’ midweek contest with Creighton was cancelled due to inclement weather.

Head coach Tim Tadlock will send the same trio of right-handers to the mound this weekend. Junior Davis Martin and sophomores Caleb Kilian & John McMillon will get the ball to start against the Jayhawks. The trio has combined for an 11-3 record over 16 starts, as well as 108 strikeouts between the three. Martin begins the series with a 2.50 ERA, with McMillon following closely at 2.95 and Kilian at 1.07 over 10 appearances and two starts.

They’ll face a Jayhawk lineup hitting .286 this year, which ranks second in the Big 12, with five starters above the team clip. Sophomore outfielder Brent Vosik leads the way with a .378 batting average over 24 games in 2018. Sophomore catcher Jaxx Groshans paces the team with 40 hits and 24 RBI, while junior outfielder Devin Foyle has scored the most runs this season with 24.

Kansas will run out senior right-hander Tyler Davis, senior lefty Taylor Turski and sophomore RHP Ryan Zeferjahn to pitch this weekend against the Red Raiders. Davis has started two games for the Jayhawks this season, appearing in nine games with a 4.98 ERA and 23 strikeouts over 21.2 innings of work. Turski sits at 1-4 over seven starts with a 5.82 ERA and 36 K’s, while Zeferjahn is 5-1 with a 2.59 earned run average and has recorded 50 strikeouts.

The Jayhawks hold a 4.93 team ERA & a .253 opponent batting average, while tagging opponents for a 5.52 mark this season. On the flip side, the Red Raiders pitching staff has put together a 3.23 team earned run average, which also leads the Big 12, holding opposing batters to a .199 clip at the plate.

Tech’s offense is .301 as a unit this year, which continues to lead the conference. Six Red Raiders hit above the team average, with sophomore outfielder Grant Little leading the charge (.398). Freshman infielder Gabe Holt leads the team with 45 hits this season, while sophomore infielder Josh Jung paces the team with 34 RBI and 32 runs scored. The Red Raiders have run up opposing pitchers earned run average to a 7.79 mark through 30 games in 2018.

For the eighth-straight week, Tech is ranked inside the top 10, slotted fifth in the USA Today Coaches poll & NCBWA, No. 6 by Perfect Game and seventh by D1 Baseball & Baseball America.

After the weekend set in Lawrence, Tech closes the road trip at Dallas Baptist on Tuesday, April 10, at 6:30 p.m. at Horner Ballpark.

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