The road has ended and eight teams have made it to Omaha without crashing and burning. Texas and Texas Tech will represent the Big 12 Conference at TD Ameritrade Park at the College World Series. They are in the same bracket, which has a Southwest Conference flavor. Arkansas has taken one of the smoother paths on the rocky, winding highway to the College World Series.
For those who are not familiar with college baseball, eight teams are in the field. Two brackets have divided the field into four team, double elimination battlegrounds. Whoever survives the bracket will play in the National Championship, a best of three game series. Only one team will take home the trophy and fly the pennant. Will it be a Big 12 team? Stay tuned as we preview each game featuring a Big 12 Conference team.
No.9 Texas Tech (45-19) vs. No.1 Florida (48-20)
College World Series Game 10, 7 p.m.
Texas Tech Radio: 97.3 in Lubbock, TuneIn Radio app globally (search Texas Tech)
Texas Tech: Sr. RHP Caleb Killian: 9-2, 3.04 ERA, 68.0 IP, 57 H, 25 BB, 59 K, .224 b/avg.
Florida: Fr. RHP Jack Leftwich: 4-5, 4.50 ERA, 70.0 IP, 60 H, 22 BB, 76 K, .226 b/avg.
Texas Tech: Ty Harpenau: 4 saves, 3.38 ERA, 7-2, 25 appearances, 53.1 IP, 40 H, 24 BB, 51 K
Florida: Michael Byrne: 15 saves, 1.65 ERA, 3-1, 36 appearances, 60.0 IP, 45 H, 5 BB, 64 K
Texas Tech players to watch: Josh Jung (.388 avg., 12 HR, 17 doubles, 6 triples, 69 runs, 78 RBIs); Grant Little (.373 avg., 12 HR, 25 doubles, 3 triples, 62 runs, 74 RBIs); Gabe Holt (.350 avg., 6 HR, 13 doubles, 3 triples, 68 runs, 44 RBIs, 29 stolen bases); Zach Rheams (.340 avg., 17 HR, 11 doubles, 40 runs, 55 RBIs)
Florida Players to watch: Jonathan India (.356 avg., 21 HR, 12 doubles, 4 triples, 64 runs, 52 RBIs, 12 stolen bases); JJ Schwarz (.316 avg., 12 HR, 16 doubles, 2 triples, 50 runs, 46 RBIs); Austin Langworthy (.295 avg., 4 HR, 10 doubles, 2 triples, 32 runs, 28 RBIs); Wil Dalton (.263 avg., 19 HR, 17 doubles, 1 triple, 58 runs, 60 RBIs)
One game at a time is the motto for these two teams. For Florida, a loss in the opener has forced them to win four consecutive games if they are to defend their National Championship. For Tech, this will be the first of three straight games. Whoever wins will have to beat Arkansas twice in the next two days.
The Red Raiders have owned Florida so far. These two teams have only met twice. Both appearances came in Omaha, and Tech has won both games. In fact, the last time Florida was sent home packing without a national championship, it came at the hand of Tech in 2016.
Meanwhile, Tim Tadlock’s squad has never secured more than one victory in the College World Series.
This game will likely be determined by defense. In the first meeting between these two during this tournament, Florida held a 1-0 lead before its defense committed some mistakes. Josh Jung tied up the game shortly after advancing to second on a balk. The following inning, Florida committed a throwing error and momentum swung completely into Tech’s favor. If Florida’s defense collapses again, Tech will face Arkansas.
However, Caleb Killian only lasted four-plus innings during an 11-2 loss against Duke in game two of the Super Regionals. He will be seeking redemption in this game. Killian will go toe-to-toe with freshman Jack Leftwich. If Killian is on his game, advantage Tech. If not, we’re in for an unpredictable slugfest.
It’s win or go home tonight in Omaha.
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