Takeaways: Red Raiders amped to start season
Texas Tech baseball begins its season at 2 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 15, against Oregon at Dan Law Field at Rip Griffin Park. Head coach Tim Tadlock, junior infielder Josh Jung and redshirt junior left-handed pitcher Erikson Lanning spoke with the media ahead of the season-opener.
- Eric Gutierrez was hitting against Dylan Dusek before the press conference and Stephen Smith, Grant Little, Ryan Long, Ryan Shetter and Hayden Howard were there as well. “Those guys did an awful lot for this program and appreciate everything those guys have done, and it’s neat to see them compete.”
- The rotation for this weekend will start with Caleb Kilian on Friday, and then Bryce Bonnin on Saturday and Mason Montgomery on Sunday. Tadlock said Monday is TBA.
- When asked if the team did not make it to Omaha, that it would be a disappoint since making it to Omaha has become the expectation for the baseball program, Tadlock had this to say, “You have a vision for where your program wants to be each and every day. We probably deal with more day-to-day than probably what you’re talking about at the end of the year. Right now, we’ve got to practice here in about, oh heck, about an hour and a half? We really need to get some work in.”
- Tadlock said it will take time to replace the players they lost last year as they need to develop the newcomers into the players they will be. “You might watch baseball here for another 20 years and not see another shortstop like Michael Davis.”
- Gabe Holt will start out in right field, Tanner O’Tremba will play some in the right field throughout the year, Max Marusak and Dylan Neuse will likely play some outfield and Tadlock also mentioned Easton Murrell as apart of that group along with Brian Klein.
- In comparing Marusak to Cody Farhat, since they Marusak is likely going to play center field, Tadlock said Marusak is faster. “(Cody) got to where he was so good at his craft, really good at angles, very accurate thrower, kind of embraced the ball around the wall. In other words, he wanted it to be hit there. Max has the same type of tools but he’s probably now where Cody is as far as routes and all of that kind of stuff.”
- For Neuse, he will play some shortstop, second base and outfield.
- Tadlock said they have confidence in six pitchers that could start.
- Regarding Lanning, Tadlock said he will be a key component in the bullpen.
- For Bonnin, Tadlock said he has pitched up to 97 mph a few times.
- John McMillon will be in the bullpen.
- Dru Baker will start at shortstop for the season-opener.
- Tadlock said he thinks the staff feels like they are just getting started, still. “We’re always trying to build this thing and always trying to add pieces to it.”
- With this year’s team, Jung said the Red Raiders will be fast. “We’re going to have so many different tools in the lineup. It’ll be so dynamic. I just can’t wait to see these guys play in a real game.”
- Jung then listed some of the players that have speed besides the obvious Holt and Marusak. He mentioned Neuse and Baker as well.
- After the National Anthem tomorrow, Jung is going to sprinkle the dirt he collected in a water bottle at last year’s College World Series in Omaha, on the mound on Dan Law Field. “So, right after we lost, I filled that water bottle about halfway full with the dirt in Omaha and put it here, so these guys know that’s our goal.”
- Jung said getting to the CWS is the standard for the Red Raiders, but the goal is to also bring the title back to Lubbock.
- Jung said he is not worried about the draft.
- Lanning said he sees a lot of potential with the pitchers' group this year.
- Regarding the process of healing and going through his injury, Lanning said it has been a struggle. “I didn’t go anywhere this summer. I stayed here all summer and I have to say it was probably one of the worst times of my life to get hurt and not be able to play because you know what it’s like having fun, playing with your buddies that you work with all fall and you love to see the results after grinding with them, so it kind of made me not take anything for granted.”
- Last year, Lanning dealt with a stress reaction which is one of the forms of a stress fracture. If he had continued throwing, it would have like turned into a stress fracture. He was also dealing with a strain on his Ulnar Collateral Ligament (UCL).
- Lanning went through six weeks of rest and then six weeks of rehab which included stretches, a throwing routine and playing catch.