June 8, 2014

Omaha Seeing Red (Raiders)

By Hannah Hipp

Special to CollegeBaseballInsider.com



LUBBOCK, Texas – While the rain may have stopped, the defense never did.


After a 90-minute rain delay, Texas Tech came out with a 1-0 victory over College of Charleston, earning a berth in the College World Series in Omaha, Neb. The Red Raiders will be making their first appearance in Omaha.


The Red Raiders got five scoreless innings from left-hander Dylan Dusek, who completed his fourth consecutive scoreless start, to sweep the Cougars in the series.


“All I’m going out there for is to get the win for my team,” Dusek said.


The game’s only run came from an RBI double by Adam Kirsch to score Tyler Neslony in the fourth. The Red Raiders (45-19) finished the game with six hits, only one more than they had in yesterday’s game.


The Cougars had five hits, including singles by Blake Butler and Brandon Murray to lead off the sixth, but failed to get a runner to third.


“We just couldn’t find a way offensively,” Charleston coach Monte Lee said. “We couldn’t come up with a big hit when we needed it.”


The Cougars finished the season 44-19, reaching the Super Regional series for the first time since Lee took over and second time overall.


A potential game-tying run for the Cougars was stopped by a full-extension diving catch by centerfielder Devon Conley in the seventh.


“It was a do-or-die situation, and I ended up making the catch for the team,” Conley said.


Texas Tech used four different pitchers before the end of the game, bringing in Cameron Smith, Dominic Moreno and Jonny Drozd, who combined to allow two hits over the final four innings. Smith struck out two to get out of the jam in the sixth, and Drozd earned his fifth save.


College of Charleston freshman starter Bailey Ober (10-3) took the loss, allowing six hits and one earned and striking out six in eight innings.


The Cougars end the season with six seniors who won’t be returning.


“I feel bad for those guys,” Lee said, tearing up. “I’m gonna miss them because of what they were able to do for us.”


College of Charleston will continue to hold high expectations and look to make their way to another NCAA appearance next year, Lee said.


The Red Raiders, meanwhile, look ahead to their first trip to the College World Series.


Tim Tadlock spoke of his aspirations to earn a trip to Omaha when taking over as the Texas Tech head coach two years ago, and the mention of that brought out some emotion.


“Right now I don’t think it’s really sunk in,” Tadlock said. “We’re just looking forward and going to get ready for the next game.”


Pitching and defense were major factors in UCLA’s national championship last year, and those are two things the Red Raiders have been excelling in.


The Cougars had a total of nine hits in the two-game series, and did not put a single run on the board.


“Pitching with good tempo allows you to have good defense,” Tadlock said, “and it all really goes together.”


The Red Raiders hope to use these wins and the leadership of their seniors to propel them through the College World Series.


“To be able to go to the College World Series my senior year is a dream come true,” Conley said.