Provided by Texas Tech Athletics
OMAHA, Neb. – The No. 8 Texas Tech baseball team gears up to face No. 5 Arkansas in the loser's bracket of the 2019 College World Series on Monday at 1 p.m. on ESPN at T.D. Ameritrade Park in Omaha.
The Red Raiders (44-19) and the Razorbacks (46-19) will play the 0-1 game after both teams dropped their openers on Saturday. Tech fell to Michigan, 5-3, in the opener while Arkansas lost, 1-0, to Florida State in the nightcap.
It'll be the second straight year the two clubs have met in Omaha as the Razorbacks came away with a 7-4 last season in the 1-0 game. Overall, this will be the 10th contest for Texas Tech all-time in the College World Series with seven of those coming against Arkansas, Florida or TCU.
This will be the third meeting in the last two years between the former Southwest Conference foes. Arkansas holds a 46-14 advantage in the all-time series with the 7-4 win at the CWS and a 5-1 victory in late April in Fayatteville, Ark. Tech's top four hitters against Arkansas last year all return with sophomores Braxton Fulford and Gabe Holt both hitting .333.
With Saturday's loss, Tech moves to 1-3 all-time in CWS openers. The Red Raiders are playing in their fourth College World Series in school history, reaching the stage four of the last six years. Tech is one of just three programs with four appearance in Omaha in the last six years.
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 27 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 22-8 since the move.
Two of the top offenses in the country will be going at it Monday as the Red Raiders rank eighth in hits and doubles and 13th in runs. Arkansas, meanwhile, is sixth in doubles, seventh in hits and ninth in runs scored and slugging. While Jung and Warren headline the lineup for Tech, Trevor Ezell is the man for the Razorbacks, ranking fourth in doubles and 10th in runs.
Junior right-hander Caleb Kilian (8-3, 3.93 ERA) is expected to receive the start with sophomore Bryce Bonnin also an option. Arkansas will start freshman right-hander Connor Noland (3-5, 4.00 ERA).
The duo of Jung and Warren picked up several accolades over the last week. They've combined for 10 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.