By: Scott Lacefield - Texas Tech Communications
LUBBOCK, Texas – The Texas Tech baseball team held its first team practice for the 2014 season on Friday at Dan Law Field at Rip Griffin Park in preparation for Opening Day, Feb. 14, which is three weeks from today.
The Red Raiders return 18 players from last year’s team, including eight position players who started at least 20 games and eight pitchers that were used in a starting role. Tech has added 16 newcomers and one redshirt returner to its roster.
Tech returns All-Big 12 infielder Jake Barrios, who batted a team-leading .297 (55-for-185) with eight doubles, four triples, three home runs and 48 RBI during his first season as a Red Raider in 2013. Barrios committed only one error at the hot corner last season during the final 43 games of the season.
Starting center fielder Devon Conley returns after batting .283 (62-for-219) with nine doubles, 31 RBI and 15 stolen bases and returning Freshman All-American Eric Gutierrez led the Red Raiders with seven home runs in 2013 while being the only player on the team to start in all 56 games.
The Red Raiders also return its starting middle infield with juniors Tim Proudfoot (shortstop) and Bryant Burleson (second base) who helped the Red Raiders break school records last season with 68 double plays turned and a .974 fielding percentage.
Tech’s pitching staff returns four of its top five starting pitchers from last season while senior left-handed pitcher Jonny Drozd (4-5, 3.48 ERA, 10 starts), junior right-handed pitcher Dominic Moreno (3-4, 3.86 ERA, 10 starts), junior right-handed pitcher Corey Taylor (2-5, 7.18 ERA, 7 starts), and sophomore right-handed pitcher Matt Withrow (5-3, 5.90 ERA, 12 starts) combined for 70 percent of Tech’s starts in 2013.
In addition, Tech’s newcomers made up the No. 24 nationally-ranked recruiting class according to Perfect Game.
Opening Day is only three weeks way as the Red Raiders open the season hosting No. 7 Indiana for a four-game series, Feb. 14-16, at Dan Law Field at Rip Griffin Park. Opening Day is set for 2 p.m. at Dan Law Field at Rip Griffin Park on Feb. 14.
Season tickets can be purchased online at www.TexasTech.com or by calling the Texas Tech athletics ticket office at (806) 742-TECH or 1-888-GOBIG12.