No. 3 Texas Tech baseball opens 2018 campaign against Maine

Provided by Texas Tech Athletics

The No. 3 Texas Tech baseball team begins the 2018 season on Friday, Feb. 16, against Maine at 2 p.m. at Dan Law Field at Rip Griffin Park.

Friday's season opener starts a four-game set with the Black Bears, with a doubleheader slated for Saturday at noon & 4 p.m., and the finale scheduled for Sunday at 1 p.m. All four games will shown online on TexasTech.TV with a paid subscription and can be heard on the Texas Tech Sports Network on 97.3 FM & the TuneIn app.

The 2018 season marks the 69th edition of Texas Tech baseball and the sixth under the helm of Tim Tadlock. In five years as head coach of the Red Raiders, Tadlock's squads have amassed a 194-112 overall record, along with back-to-back Big 12 titles, three NCAA Regional appearances and two trips to the College World Series.

In 2017, Tech won its second-straight Big 12 championship en route to consecutive No. 5 national seeds for the NCAA Tournament, putting together a 45-17 overall record. The Red Raiders captured the conference crown after a 16-8 Big 12 mark, as senior Hunter Hargrove (Co-Player), sophomore Steven Gingery (Pitcher) and Josh Jung (Freshman) brought home Player of the Year awards.

Although several mainstays departed Lubbock as seniors or draftees, Tech returns a wealth of experience in 22 letterwinners from 2017. Included in that core are Big 12 & National Pitcher of the Year Steven Gingery, Big 12 Freshman of the Year & Freshman All-American infielder Josh Jung, fellow Freshman All-American Grant Little, All-Big 12 First Team outfielder Cody Farhat, 2016 Freshman All-American RHP Davis Martin, 2016 All-Big 12 honoree infielder Michael Davis and 2014 Freshman All-American LHP Dylan Dusek.

A strong body of 13 newcomers will mix into this year's squad to round out the 2018 squad, which features 10 freshmen, two sophomores and a junior.

The Red Raiders and Black Bears will make history when they take the field on Friday, squaring off for the first time in the two program's histories. It will also be the first occasion the Red Raiders have played a member of the America East Conference. Last season, Tech went 5-0 against the three teams they had never faced before on the diamond.

Tech is 5-1 all-time on Opening Day under Tadlock. In season openers over the last five years, Tech has defeated Northern Illinois (8-0) in 2013, San Francisco (9-7) in 2015, Wisconsin-Milwaukee (12-3) in 2016 and won a doubleheader against Western Illinois (15-1) & Mississippi State (5-2) last season.

Since 1985, the Red Raiders are 30-2 in home openers, winning 18 of their last 19, including last year's 15-1 victory over New Mexico State. The offensive firepower has been on display in those contests, as Tech has amassed at least 10 runs in 11 of those 19 contests.

Texas Tech will enter the 2018 campaign with its highest collection of preseason rankings in program history. The Red Raiders are ranked No. 3 in three polls: D1 Baseball, the USA Today Coaches & the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association. Perfect Game slotted Tech at No. 4, while Baseball America & Collegiate Baseball Newspaper round it out with No. 5 marks, giving the Red Raiders a unanimous top-five ranking.

Tadlock will hand the ball over to a trio of juniors and a sophomore to start the four games on the mound this weekend. Junior right-handed pitcher Davis Martin & junior lefty Steven Gingery will return to the Friday/Saturday starts Red Raider fans have been used to seeing them in over the last two years. Sophomore RHP John McMillon will make his first career start in the second game of the doubleheader on Saturday, while junior lefty Erikson Lanning will wrap the series with the Sunday start.

After the series with the Black Bears, the Red Raiders round out the five-game home stand with a Tuesday afternoon matchup with New Mexico State on Feb. 20 at 2 p.m.