RED RAIDERS HIT THE ROAD FOR BIG 12 OPENER
Texas Tech hits the road to College Station this weekend for the 2010 Big 12 Conference opener for the Red Raiders and the 23rd-ranked Aggies at Olson Field. The Red Raiders will be looking to snap a five-game losing skid against an A&M team that has won 10 of its last 11 games on Friday night when the first pitch is thrown at 6:35 p.m. The series continues at 2:05 p.m. on Saturday and will conclude with a 1:05 p.m. first pitch on Sunday. Advance tickets can be purchased online at aggieathletics.com.
Texas Tech will open up a five-game homestand next week as the Red Raiders welcome Texas A&M-Corpus Christi to Dan Law Field for a two-game midweek series starting on Tuesday night. Following the Wednesday finale against the Islanders, Tech will host No. 2 Texas for a three-game series beginning on Friday, March 26.
Texas A&M is ranked No. 23 in this week's USA Today/ESPN Coaches Top 25 poll after posting a 2-1 series win over then No. 25 Washington State last weekend at Olson Field. Texas Tech is unranked.
RED RAIDERS IN BIG 12 OPENERS
After just 17 games of non-conference action, the Red Raiders begin Big 12 Conference play this weekend with a three-game series at No. 23 Texas A&M. Tech will be looking for just its fifth series win in a Big 12 Conference opener. Tech's only series wins to start the Big 12 season came against Kansas in 1999, Texas A&M in 2005 and Nebraska in both 2007 and 2009. Tech dropped its last Big 12 series opener on the road 2-1 in 2008 at No. 22 Texas A&M.
TEXAS TECH SPORTS NETWORK
All 56 regular-season games will be carried live by Learfield Sports on the Texas Tech Sports Network. Red Raiders fans can listen to all the action on Double T 104.3 (the flagship station of the Texas Tech Sports Network) in Lubbock or KHOB 1390 AM in Hobbs, N.M. Fans outside of the above listening areas can tune in via the world wide web at texastech.com and purchase a monthly subscription to RaiderVision All-Access. Robert Giovannetti returns to the broadcast booth for his third season as the play-by-play voice while Daren Hays joins the network as the full-time color analyst.
Red Raider fans unable to make it out to the ballpark can follow Texas Tech baseball games anywhere in the world through Gameday Central at texastech.com. Live scoring, audio and video (video only available for home games and select road games), a live game blog and twitter updates can all be found at Gameday Central. Comprehensive parking, weather, tailgating, security and ticket information can also be found in this convenient location.
Texas Tech and Texas A&M resume their annual rivalry series this weekend with three games at Olson Field. The A&M series is the most played series in school history with the two teams meeting for the first time back in 1929. Since the 1929 season, 143 games have been played between the Red Raiders and the Aggies with Texas A&M holding an 88-55 lead in the all-time series. Friday's game will mark the 144th all-time meeting and the 69th meeting between the two clubs in College Station.
TEXAS TECH - TEXAS A&M SERIES NOTES
Texas Tech and Texas A&M will be kicking off Big 12 play for the sixth time since the Big 12 was formed back in 1997. Of those six league openers between the Red Raiders and the Aggies, five of those have gone down at Olson Field in College Station.
Texas Tech will be looking for its first-ever series win at Olson Field this weekend as no Red Raider squad has been able to accomplish that feat since the stadium opened in 1978. In fact, Texas Tech has only won one series in College Station and that was a 2-1 series victory back in 1973 at the old Aggie Baseball field.
Over the last 12 years, the series has been dominated by the home team as no road team has been victorious during that stretch.
Texas A&M has won six of the last 10 meetings dating back to last year's Big 12 Conference Championship in Oklahoma City. The Red Raiders won the regular-season series last year 2-1 at Dan Law Field.
If the games are tightly contested this weekend, the Red Raiders enter the series with a 20-15 advantage in one-run games.
SCOUTING TEXAS A&M
The Texas A&M Aggies have won 10 of their last 11 contests and enter the weekend series against Texas Tech with a 13-3 overall record. The Aggies have played 13 of their 16 games within the friendly confines of Olson Field where they have posted and 11-2 record. Texas A&M is coached by Rob Childress who is in his fifth season.
Offensively, the Aggies have collected a .330 team batting average over 16 games along with 14 home runs, seven triples and 35 doubles. Designated hitter Joe Patterson leads the squad with a .444 average while first baseman Caleb Shofner is the home run and RBI leader with five and 24, respectively.
The Aggie pitching staff has been impressive this season as they are holding teams to less than three runs per game (2.20 staff ERA) and to a .214 batting average. Friday starter Barrett Loux is 2-1 on the year with a 0.81 ERA over 22 1/3 innings and four starts. Reliever Michael Wacha has made seven appearances and logged 22 2/3 innings while producing a 0.40 ERA along with a 2-0 record and one save.
McGRUDER BREAKS LOOSE IN FORT WORTH
Freshman right fielder/second baseman Jamodrick McGruder enjoyed his best weekend of the year at No. 7 TCU in Fort Worth. McGruder belted two triples in the Friday night game and then added a two-run home run in the series finale on Sunday. The two triples on Friday marked the first time since 2001 (Jason Rainey vs. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi) that a Tech player hit two three-baggers in a game. His home run on Sunday was his first of the season.
IN HONOR OF NO. 9
Former Red Raider first baseman Mark Austry (1998-2000) collapsed and died after crossing the finish line at the Rock `N Roll Half-Marathon in Dallas shortly after noon on Sunday.
Austry, a Fort Worth native, was a three-year letterwinner here at Texas Tech and played in 177 games during his career. He helped lead the Red Raiders to the Big 12 Tournament Championship in 1998 and NCAA Tournament appearances in 1998, 1999 and 2000. Austry was a key offensive contributor during his career but will long be remembered for his game-winning RBI single with two outs in the bottom of the ninth that gave the Red Raiders a 4-3 win over rival Texas and eliminated the Longhorns from the 2000 Big 12 Conference Tournament. That win sent Texas Tech to the semifinals of the conference tournament and locked up an NCAA Regional bid for the Red Raiders.
Mark was in Lubbock back in February to help this year's team kickoff the season as he took part in the Alumni game and was joined by numerous former teammates and friends. He was 32 years old and leaves behind his Mariana Alvarez Austry and two young daughters Isabella and Anna.
Junior first baseman Stephen Hagen wore Mark's No. 9 jersey in his memory on Tuesday evening against Texas State.
Texas Tech has turned 19 doubles plays this season which is the most of any Big 12 Conference school.
Texas Tech is in danger of tying its season long losing streak of six games from a year ago as the Red Raiders dropped six consecutive in a road trip in California. Anything past six games, would be the most by a Tech squad since the Red Raiders lost eight-straight back in 1987.
Texas Tech allowed a total of 12 unearned runs against TCU in the weekend series in Fort Worth. The Frogs plated 25 runs in the three games series meaning only 13 were earned.
Texas Tech has scored in the first inning in 12 games this season.
Friday night's game against No. 23 Texas A&M will be the sixth game this season that Tech has played against a ranked opponent. Only Texas has played as many games against ranked opponents as the Red Raiders.
Jamodrick McGruder and Stephen Hagen enter the weekend series at Texas A&M riding four-game hit streaks.
Sophomore designated hitter Scott LeJeune leads the team with seven multiple-hit and six multiple-RBI games. He has hit safely in 10-of-17 games so far this year.
Sophomore second baseman Garrett Totten is the only everyday starter that has not hit a home run this year. Every single player in the Tech lineup, including backup catcher Kevin Whitehead, has at least one home run except for Totten. Freshman right fielder Barrett Barnes leads the team with three home runs.
Junior catcher Jeremy Mayo has thrown out nine base runners in 15 stolen base attempts. He set a new career-high against Washington State on Feb. 26 when he threw out three Cougar runners.