After opening the 2023 baseball season 10-0. Texas Tech is heading to Houston for the Shriners College Classic where they will take on 3-5 Rice, 4-4 Michigan, and 5-3 Texas A&M for their first neutral site games of the season. Let’s look at what fans can expect to see from the Red Raiders this weekend.
The Red Raiders will face the Rice Owls at 11 AM CT Friday morning. Tech is expected to start the game with Brendan Girton on the mound, Girton has had two appearances for the Red Raiders going six innings against Gonzaga and five against Western Illinois, and enters with a 1.64 ERA. The Owl’s top pitchers include Parker Smith who went for 6 innings against Louisiana and 5.2 innings against Stanford who enters the classic with a 3.09 ERA on those two appearances and reliever Mauricio Rodriguez who in three appearances for the owls has a 2.89 ERA.
The Owl’s offensive leader is currently Pierce Gallo with a batting average of .462 after playing in 7 of 8 games and starting in 6 of those games. Gallo leads the team in hits with 12 and ties the lead for runs at 6 along with 1 homerun and 3 RBI. There are two other Owl batters currently batting above .300, Drew Holderbach and Manny Garza who have both played and started in all 8 of the Owls games and have double-digit hits at 11 and 10 apiece.
Three of Rice’s five losses come from a sweep against No. 2 Stanford.
The second game of the classic will be Saturday at 11 AM CT against the Michigan Wolverines. The Red Raiders are expecting to start Mason Molina on the mound for the second game in Houston. Molina has made two appearances on the mound for the Red Raiders this season, going for 5 innings against Gonzaga and 4.1 innings against Western Illinois, and enters the Classic with a 1.93 ERA. Chase Allen was the Wolverine’s starting pitcher in game two of their last weekend series making him the likely candidate to face the Red Raiders in game two of the classic. Allen enters the classic with a 3.09 ERA for the season after going for 8 innings in his last appearance on the mound and 11.2 innings total for the season.
Only two of the Wolverines’ regular batters are currently batting above .300. Gabe Sortes leads the Wolverines with a .435 batting average after playing in all 8 of the Wolverines’ games and starting in 7, he leads the team in runs with 7, is tied for first in home runs at 2, and has the second most hits with 10. Ted Burton has the second-highest batting average at .344 after playing and starting in all 8 of the Wolverines’ games. Burton leads the team in hits at 11 and ties with Sortes for most home runs at 2.
One of Michigan’s four losses comes from No. 17 UCLA.
No. 15 Texas A&M
The final game of the classic will be Sunday at 7 pm CT when Tech will take on the Aggies for Tech’s first nationally ranked matchup of the season. The Red Raiders are expected to start true freshman Taber Fast on the mound for game three. Fast has made two appearances on the mound for the Red Raiders, going 2 innings in relief against Gonzaga and 5 innings against Western Illinois for his first collegiate start. Chris Cortez was the starting pitcher in game three of the Aggies’ last weekend series making him the likely starter against the Red Raiders in their final game of the classic. Cortez went for 5 innings in both of his two appearances for the Aggies and enters the classic with a 5.40 ERA.
The Aggies have four regular batters that have a .300 or greater batting average on the season. Of those four only two have started in all 8 of the Aggies games, Hunter Haas who enters the classic with a .360 batting average and is tied for first in hits with 9, and Jack Moss who enters the classic with a .300 batting average and 9 hits as well. Kaeden Kent Leads the Aggies with a .400 batting average after playing in 6 of the Aggies’ 8 games and starting in 5.
Texas A&M has no current wins or losses against ranked teams.
The Shriners College Classic should be the Red Raider’s truest test of the season so far, it is the first away series of the season and includes the first nationally ranked opponent for the Red Raiders. All things considered, if Tech can continue to produce on the offensive end as they have in the last three series and limit the number of errors on the defensive end, the Red Raiders could remain undefeated.