No. 5 Texas Tech baseball opens Big 12 play at Baylor Friday

No. 5 Texas Tech baseball opens Big 12 play at Baylor Friday
Source: Texas Tech Athletics

Provided by Texas Tech Athletics

WACO, Texas – The No. 5 Texas Tech baseball team begins its final leg of its eight-game road trip in Waco, squaring off with Baylor on March 16-18 at Baylor Ballpark.

All three games will air on the FOX Sports family of networks, with Friday's contest on FOX College Sports, Saturday on FOX Sports Southwest & Sunday on FOX Sports Southwest Plus. The series can also be heard on the Texas Tech Sports Network on 97.3 FM (Friday & Sunday), 100.7 FM (Saturday), the respective station's apps, TuneIn app and online at Live stats will also be available at

The Red Raiders (16-3) begin their Big 12 title defense on Friday against the Bears (8-6). Tech and Baylor last opened conference action against each other in 2016, when the Red Raiders won the first of back-to-back regular season crowns. That year, Tech finished Big 12 play at 19-5 to claim the championship outright. Last season, the Red Raiders finished 16-8, sweeping their last series of the year to share the title.

Tech leads the all-time series against Baylor, 86-79, with the first meeting coming in a two-game series in 1928. The Red Raiders have won each of the last three regular season sets against the Bears, dropping the 2014 series in Waco after losing a pair of one-run games, followed by a 7-1 win in the finale. In Waco, Tech is 29-48 overall, opening Big 12 action at Baylor every other year since 2012.

Under head coach Tim Tadlock, the Red Raiders are 71-49 in conference play. Tech is 4-1 in Big 12 opening games under Tadlock and 9-6 over the four series wins to begin the conference slate.

Last season, the Red Raiders won their series against the Bears, taking home wins in games one and two by scores of 13-2 & 5-3, respectively, before dropping a 10-9 heartbreaker in the finale. The two teams met again in the Big 12 Tournament, as Tech defeated Baylor, 4-1, in the second round elimination contest.

The Red Raiders enter this year's series with a 16-3 overall record, with their only three losses coming to top-five teams on the road. Tech split its midweek series at No. 4 Louisville with an 8-4 victory in game one, followed by a 7-4 defeat in the finale. Baylor comes into the weekend at 8-6 overall, dropping its Tuesday contest against Sam Houston State, 7-2.

Tadlock will send right-handed junior Davis Martin & sophomore John McMillon to start the first two games against the Bears. Martin & McMillon both enter the weekend at 3-0, picking up no-decisions last weekend at Kentucky. The duo has combined for 43 strikeouts over eight starts this season, allowing just 14 runs, 12 earned, as Martin holds a 2.00 ERA and McMillon sits at 3.43. Sunday's starter is TBA.

They'll face a Baylor lineup that is hitting .251 as a unit this season, with four starters above the team average. Sophomore infielder Andy Thomas leads the club with a .375 clip and 18 hits over 14 games. Sophomore catcher Shea Langeliers paces the team in RBI (11), while sophomore infielder Davis Wendzel has scored the most runs with 10.

The Bears will roll out sophomore lefty Cody Bradford, sophomore right-hander Hayden Kettler & freshman LHP Tyler Thomas to start this weekend's games against the Red Raiders. Thomas leads the trio with an 0.68 ERA over four appearances and two starts, while Kettler & Bradford check in with 2.13 & 2.55 ERA's, respectively. Opponents are hitting .222 off Baylor's staff, while the Bears have tagged opposing pitchers for a 3.08 ERA.

The Red Raiders are ranked as high as No. 5 in this week's rankings, slotted there by the USA Today Coaches poll, the NCBWA and Perfect Game. It's the fifth consecutive week Tech has been ranked in the top five.

After the weekend set at Baylor, Tech returns home to face Northeastern in a four-game series on March 23-25 at Dan Law Field at Rip Griffin Park.