LUBBOCK, Texas — Postseason baseball is here, and Texas Tech will open the regional round of the NCAA Tournament Friday morning against Army.
The game will begin at 11:00 a.m. and will air on ESPNU.
Tim Tadlock is turning to an inexperienced pitcher to start the game: freshman righty Chase Hampton.
Hampton is behind veterans like Patrick Monteverde, Micah Dallas and Mason Montgomery in Tech’s rotation but posted a 3.63 ERA on the season and will get the ball to kick off the Red Raiders’ NCAA Tournament run.
“He’s throwing the ball pretty good,” Tadlock said when asked about the decision.
Indeed, Hampton tossed eight scoreless innings over his last two outings. In his most recent start, he threw six shutout innings against Kansas and struck out seven hitters.
The Red Raiders went home from the Big 12 tournament early, losing games to TCU and Kansas State after winning their opener against Baylor.
Of course, they will have to play much better to keep their season alive in the national tournament, and Tadlock said the team is putting the rough week behind it.
“We’ve put last week behind us,” Tadlock said. “We’ve had a good week as far as that goes. They (TTU players) know what’s in front of us.”
The team will need a much better offensive showing to make some noise in the tournament. Texas Tech was held to two runs in each of its Big 12 tournament losses and mustered just three hits against Kansas State.
In particular, Jace Jung needs to be better. The Big 12 Player of the Year went hitless in the Big 12 tourney after a regular season that earned him at least one All-American honor.
The Red Raiders have battled injuries this season and lost some games that they were expected to win. But against top competition: namely Texas, TCU and Gonzaga, they performed well.
As the No. 8 overall seed, Tim Tadlock’s club just needs to win at home to get to Omaha. That challenge begins Friday morning with the Black Knights.