Provided by Texas Tech Athletics
OMAHA, Neb. – The No. 8 Texas Tech baseball team begins its fourth NCAA College World Series on Saturday with a 1 p.m. first pitch against Michigan on ESPN at T.D. Ameritrade Park in Omaha.
The Big 12 Champion Red Raiders (44-18) and Wolverines (46-20) will kick off the opening round of the 2019 CWS. The two clubs are matched up with No. 5 Arkansas and Florida State, who will play at 6 p.m. Saturday.
The Red Raiders are making their fourth trip to the College World Series in program history, doing so for the first time in an odd year. Tech is one of just three programs with four appearances in Omaha in the last six seasons, advancing in 2014, 2016 and 2018 prior to this season.
This will be Tech's first CWS to play on the opening day of the event and its second to be designated as the home team for its opener. The Red Raiders were also the home team against TCU in 2016. The matchup with Michigan also marks the third time Tech will start with a team it faced during the regular season.
The fourth berth was won on June 9 after a three-game slugfest with Big 12 foe Oklahoma State in the NCAA Lubbock Super Regional at Dan Law Field at Rip Griffin Park. Tech closed out an 8-6 win on Friday before falling, 5-6, on Saturday to force a decisive finale. In a back-and-forth affair, Tech landed the final haymaker with Kurt Wilson's three-run blast in the eighth that put Tech ahead 8-6 and three outs from Omaha.
The Red Raiders turn their attention to a familiar opponent in Michigan. Tech hosted the Wolverines in Lubbock in March and swept a three-game series, outscoring the Maize and Blue 29-10. This is the eighth CWS appearance for Michigan and its first since 1984. Tech holds a 7-0 lead against the Wolverines in the all-time series.
In the three wins over Michigan, senior Cameron Warren and junior Brian Klein both hit .500 and combined for nine RBI. Freshman Micah Dallas earned the win in the opener, giving up a run on three hits over 5.0 innings, while Tech tagged Wolverine starter Tommy Henry for six runs on seven hits in 4.2 frames.
Texas Tech has built on its success with each trip it's made to the College World Series. After going 0-2 in 2014, Tech avoided elimination with its first CWS victory in 2016. Last season, Tech started 1-0 with a triumph of No. 1 Florida before falling to Arkansas in the winner's game and bowing out against Florida the next time out.
The 2019 postseason marks the 14th appearance for the Red Raiders. Tech is one of three schools in the nation to earn a top-8 national seed in three of the last four years. The Red Raiders have spent 13 weeks ranked in the top-10 by at least one of the six major polls.
The Red Raiders hosted the opening round in Lubbock for the seventh time in school history and is the only program to host a regional for four consecutive years. Tech dispatched Army, 11-2, then put the clamps down on Dallas Baptist for 3-2 and 3-0 wins. It was the second straight year Tech has swept the regional round.
Tech has been on a tear since mid-April, winning 21 of its last 26 games, including 10 of its final 11 Big 12 games to capture the conference title. Key to the success was the move of junior All-American and Big 12 Player of the Year Josh Jung from third base to shortstop as Tech has gone 22-7 since the move.
The Red Raiders enter the College World Series with an offensive attack that can put up runs in a hurry. Tech averages 7.5 runs per game to lead the Big 12 and rank 16th nationally. The club is 10th in hits and ninth in doubles. Jung and senior Cameron Warren headline the lineup with the latter ranking eighth nationally in RBI.
The Wolverines shocked No. 1 UCLA in the Los Angeles Super Regional to crash the party in Omaha. They won the opener, 3-2, before dropping a 5-4 heartbreaker in 12 innings Saturday and bouncing back with a 4-2 win Sunday to advance to the CWS. Karl Kauffmann worked into the ninth of Game 1, giving up two runs on four hits with two walks and eight strikeouts. A two-run single from Ako Thomas in the fifth inning of the finale gave Michigan the lead, and an insurance run in the ninth helped seal it. Jordan Brewer and Jordan Nwogu lead the offense, hitting .338 and .327, respectively, with 24 combined home runs and 98 RBI.
The duo of Jung and Warren picked up several accolades over the last week. They've combined for nine All-America honors overall and placement on the Rawlings All-Midwest Region Teams. Additionally, Jung was named the Bobby Bragan Collegiate Slugger Award winner on Wednesday. Redshirt freshman Clayton Beeter also owns a Freshman All-America honor.
Seven Red Raiders were selected in the 2019 Major League Baseball Draft last week. Jung was taken No. 8 overall by the Texas Rangers, becoming the second first-round pick in program history and the first since 1989. Sophomore Gabe Holt (223rd – Milwaukee Brewers), junior Caleb Kilian (236th – San Francisco Giants), junior Taylor Floyd (313th – Milwaukee Brewers), junior John McMillon (322nd – Detroit Tigers), junior Caleb Freeman (440th – Chicago White Sox) and senior Cameron Warren (654th overall – Cincinnati Reds) were also taken. Tech had four players taken in the first 10 rounds for the second-consecutive season. Under Tadlock, Tech has had 48 Red Raiders drafted, including 19 in the first 10 rounds.