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Red Raiders Open 2007 Season Friday

James Leverton and the Red Raiders open the season on Friday at Dan Law Field.

James Leverton and the Red Raiders open the season on Friday at Dan Law Field.

Jan. 31, 2007

Due to forecasted inclement weather, changes could be made to the weekend schedule. As soon as any change is made, texastech.com will be your first source of information.

GAMEDAY CENTRAL

TEXAS TECH RED RAIDERS (0-0; 0-0)
vs.
STEPHEN F. AUSTIN LUMBERJACKS (0-0; 0-0)
Date(s):
Feb. 2-4, 2007 (Friday-Saturday)
Location: Lubbock, Texas
Stadium: Dan Law Field (5,050)
National Rankings: None
Radio: Texas Tech Sports Network - Available to all affiliates
Sirius Satellite Radio: Schedule begins in April.
Television: None
Internet Streaming: Live audio and video through RaiderVision All-Access located at www.texastech.com.
Tickets: (806) 742-TECH or online at www.texastech.com. Dan Law Field Box Office opens 90 minutes prior to first pitch.
Scheduled Pitching Rotation:
Friday: (TTU) Miles Morgan, RHP vs. (SFA) Erich Lehmann, RHP
Saturday: (TTU) Colt Hynes, LHP vs. (SFA) Jared Schrom, RHP
Sunday: (TTU) AJ Ramos, RHP vs. (SFA) Jake Leonhardt, RHP
The Coaches:
Texas Tech: Larry Hays (1,456-803-4; 36 seasons)
Stephen F. Austin: Donnie Watson (15-41; 1 season)

Complete Texas Tech Release in PDF Format
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Opening Day! Tech Ready To Tackle 2007
The Texas Tech Red Raiders open up the 2007 season this weekend at the friendly confines of Dan Law Field where they will play host to the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks in a three-game series beginning on Friday. Friday's season opener will mark the 58th season of Red Raider Baseball and will be the first-ever matchup between Texas Tech and SFA.

The Red Raiders hope to start the season with a little home cookin' as Tech will play its first eight games of the year at Dan Law Field. Since 1995, Texas Tech has posted a 316-81-1 record in front of the home fans and the eight-game home stretch is the longest to start a season since 2003.

Texas Tech enters the season on the heels of a 31-26-1 campaign in 2006 and the squad will be looking to improve upon its eighth-place finish in the Big 12. The Red Raiders are one of the top returning teams in the Big 12 and will be looking for some leadership from a group of sophomores that last year madeup up one of the youngest teams in Larry Hays' tenure at Tech. Last season, Hays started four freshmen in the second game of the year (Louisiana-Monroe) and that marked the most freshmen he had ever started since taking over the Tech program back in 1987. Those four freshmen (Roger Kieschnick, Miles Morgan, Willie Rueda and James Leverton) will be key figures for the Red Raiders in 2007.

Season tickets for the 2007 season are currently on sale through the Texas Tech Athletics Ticket Office at (806) 742-TECH. Season tickets can also be purchased online at www.texastech.com. Individual season tickets will go on sale through the ticket office and online beginning on Friday, Feb. 2.

Scouting Stephen F. Austin
The Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks make their first-ever trip to the Hub City this weekend for a season opening series against Texas Tech. The series will mark the first-ever meeting between the two schools on the baseball diamond.

The Lumberjacks enter the 2007 season in just their second year of existence after the program was disbanded following a 2-40 season back in 1995. SFA played its first season in 2006 after an 11-year hiatus and finished the year with a 15-41 overall record. SFA is led by second-year head coach Donnie Watson.

SFA posted a 7-23 mark in the first year of Southland Conference play and landed catcher Steven Hill and outfielder David Jeans on the third-team All-Conference list. Hill and Jeans were the leading hitters on last year's squad as they finished with .348 and .341 respective batting averages. Hill led the team with 14 home runs and 44 RBI.

On the mound, the Jacks finished the season with a 5.79 staff ERA and an opposing batting average of .282. Erich Lehmann was the leading hurler with an 8-3 record and an ERA of 3.40. He logged 76 2/3 innings of work and tossed three complete games.

Against The Lumberjacks
The weekend series will mark the first-ever meeting between the two schools. Texas Tech is 36-10 all-time against schools from the current Southland Conference.

Next Up For Texas Tech
Texas Tech continues its homestand with a midweek game against New Mexico on Tuesday before opening up the Red Raider Classic on Friday against Northwestern (Big Ten). A total of six games will be played at Dan Law Field over the weekend as part of the round robin Red Raider Classic. Tech will face Northwestern at 3 p.m. on Friday and 2 p.m. on Saturday. The Red Raiders will then play Western Illinois at 2 p.m. on Sunday and then again at 1 p.m. on Monday. Northwestern and Western Illinois will play each other at 11 a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday. Fans wishing to attend both games on Saturday and Sunday will have to buy just one ticket for the day. Season tickets holders can use their Saturday and Sunday tickets as admission to the early games. For more information on the round robin tournament, log on to www.texastech.com.

Kieschnick Picks Up Preseason Honor
Sophomore outfielder Roger Kieschnick was rewarded for a stellar freshman as he was tabbed a preseason Third-Team All-American by Baseball America. Kieschnick, a native of Rockwall, Texas, earned Big 12 Freshman of the Year and Freshman All-American accolades after turning in an outstanding season in 2006. He finished the year with a .359 batting average along with nine home runs, 14 doubles, two triples and 55 RBI. He paced the Red Raiders with 29 multiple-hit games, was third with 11 multiple-RBI games and his nine home runs was the most by a Tech freshman since former All-American Josh Bard.

Big 12 Preseason Poll Announced
Defending Big 12 Champion Texas was tabbed to repeat in 2007, according to a vote by the league head coaches. Texas Tech was picked to finish sixth.
1. Texas (79)
2. Oklahoma State (70)
3. Nebraska (64)
4. Baylor (57)
5. Oklahoma (46)
6. TEXAS TECH (37)
7. Texas A&M (34)
8. Missouri (29)
9. Kansas (22)
10. Kansas State (12)

Tech Starts With Eight-Game Homestand
The 2007 Red Raiders will be able to give the home crowd an advance look at his year's squad as Tech will open the season on an eight-game homestand. The eight-game homestand is the longest by Tech to start a season since the Red Raiders opened with 10-straight home dates back in 2003. Stephen F. Austin comes to Lubbock for the 2007 lid-lifter as the Lumberjacks and Red Raiders will play a three-game series Feb. 2-4. Tech will face New Mexico in its first midweek game of the year on Feb. 6 and will conclude the homestand with the Red Raider Classic Feb. 9-12.

Big 12's Top Freshmen In `06, Now Sophomores
Last season, Texas Tech swept the Big 12 Freshman player and pitcher of the year awards for the first time in school history. Now the Tech faithful await to see what is in store for Roger Kieschnick and Miles Morgan in their sophomore campaigns.

Kieschnick and Morgan were key components for the Red Raiders in 2006 and will take on an even larger role this year. Kieschnick was second on the team with a .359 batting average and turned in one of the most prolific offensive years by a Tech frosh since Josh Bard. On the mound, Morgan logged 106 2/3 innings and 103 strikeouts while compiling a 6-7 overall record. Both Kieschnick and Morgan were tabbed Freshman All-Americans by Lousiville Slugger.

Not So Early In 2008
Tech fans will get a chance to see their Red Raiders for the first time this season on Feb. 2 when Tech plays host to Stephen F. Austin. Beginning in 2008, however, the wait is going to be a little longer.

The NCAA adopted a resolution in the spring of 2006 that gave a nationwide mandate for the start of spring practice and competition. Starting next season, the Red Raiders will not be able to hit the practice field until Feb. 1 and will not open the season until Feb. 22. Its been over 25 years since Tech last opened a season in late February as the Red Raiders hit the field on Feb. 20, 1982 for the beginning of a four-game series at Texas-Arlington.

The late start to the season also means that all NCAA Division I schools must play their 56-game regular-season slate in a 13 week time frame. As of now, Texas Tech has five two-game midweek series scheduled to help make up for the lost time.

New Faces In 2007

  • Incoming junior college transfer Geoff Byrnes should aid the Tech offense immediately. Byrnes hit .384 this season at Chabot College along with 17 home runs, 70 RBI, 14 doubles and 12 stolen bases. He was named the All-Coast Conference Player of the Year and earned Co-MVP honors for Northern California.
  • Junior college transfer Josh Scofield has been impressive on the mound for the Red Raiders since the start of spring practice. The left-hander from the Community College of Southern Nevada (JUCO home of Nathan and Cooper Fouts as well as Josh Brady) could figure into the weekend rotation early in the season.
  • Freshman infielder Joey Kenworthy might be the smallest player on the team (a mighty 5-4 in stature) but he certainly doesn't play like it. Kenworthy looks like the early starter at second base with sophomore Willie Rueda possibly moving to center field. He did not play his final year of high school due to an injury.
  • Freshman outfielder and Lubbock Monterey product Taylor Ashby had a productive fall and spring and will factor into the mix in either center or left field.
  • Freshman right-hander Sam Janca from Georgetown was emerging as one of the top bullpen prospects before suffering a shoulder injury two weeks into practice. He could miss the first couple of weeks of the season.

    Short Hops

  • Friday's game against Stephen F. Austin will mark the 58th season of Red Raider Baseball. The first official season of Tech baseball was back in 1926 and after the 1929 season, Tech did not field a team until 1954 and has done so each year since. Tech has an all-time record of 35-22 on opening day and is 22-8 when opening the season at home. The Red Raiders have won their last seven season openers with the last loss coming to New Mexico back in 1998.
  • A total of five position starters from last season will make a return in 2007, marking the highest number since Tech returned five back in 2002. On the mound, the Red Raiders return three starting pitchers (Morgan, Hynes and Ramos) for the first time since 2003.
  • Texas Tech returns 14 of the 26 players who compiled the 2006 Big 12 Championship travel roster.
  • The Red Raider offense ended the 2006 season with a .315 team batting average and will return five players who hit .285 or better. Those 5 returning players combined for a .328 batting average along with 30 of the team's 54 total home runs.
  • Matt Smith, Roger Kieschnick and Miles Morgan earned preseason Big 12 First-Team honors from Rivals.com. As a team, the Red Raiders were projected to finish fifth in the final league standings.
     

     

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