2023 College Top 25 Preview: No. 23 Texas Tech
Last season: 39-22 (15-9 in Big 12), lost in regional final
Final ranking: No. 25
Coach (record at school): Tim Tadlock (340-172, nine seasons)
The good news: There’s a lot that is new this season for Texas Tech but, as usual, the Red Raiders have accumulated a wealth of talent. Both the Red Raiders’ traditional recruiting class (No. 15) and transfer class (No. 21) ranked in the Top 25 this fall, adding to their existing core of young talent. The Red Raiders have a roster full of young, athletic players who are ready to break out this spring. Whether the big seasons come from freshmen like outfielders Jeric Curtis or Gage Harrelson or infielders Tracer Lopez or Travis Sanders or transfers like Austin Green or Gavin Kash remains to be seen, but there’s little doubt that the Red Raiders will find some surprises in the lineup. In a season with so much uncertainty and turnover in the lineup, Texas Tech can count on Hudson White to lock things down behind the plate. He last season was named Big 12 freshman of the year after hitting .260/.369/.395 with six home runs. White, fifth-year DH Ty Coleman and sophomore outfielder Owen Washburn give the Red Raiders a strong offensive core for their newcomers to build around.
The bad news: Texas Tech needs some young players to step up because it lost a lot of experience from last year’s team. Most notably, Jace Jung was drafted 12th overall, opening a huge hole in the lineup. Righthanders Brandon Birdsell and Andrew Morris were also drafted in the top five rounds, meaning the Red Raiders must replace their top two starting pitchers. All the departures mean new players, whether they’re newcomers or returners in bigger roles, will have to step up. But throughout Tadlock’s tenure, Texas Tech has proved adept at reloading. Veteran transfers like infielder Jake Dukart (Oregon State), outfielder Nolan Hester (Wofford) and righthander Jack Washburn (Mississippi) will likely prove critical in that aspect. All three are in their fourth or fifth season of college baseball and can help the first- and second-year players to step forward.
Player to know: Owen Washburn, OF.
Washburn was the 2021 Wisconsin Gatorade Player of the Year and carried his prep success into college. He last year earned Big 12 all-freshman honors after hitting .277/.369/.433 with seven home runs and starting all but two games for the Red Raiders. Now, the Red Raiders will look for him to step into a bigger role in the heart of the order. The lefthanded hitter has a good feel for the game and solid power potential.
Path to Omaha: Texas Tech will go as far as its young talent can take it. If the new wave of Red Raiders blossoms quickly, they have the potential to compete at the top of the Big 12 and nationally. But there will likely be some growing pains that come with so many new players getting into the mix both in the lineup and on the mound.
Four Of A Kind? Examining The Candidates For The No. 1 Pick In the 2023 Draft
Just how good is this fearsome foursome? How much separation is there between them and how do the players compare and contrast with one another?
|2B||Jake Dukart||R-Sr.||Transfer—Oregon State|
|3B||Travis Sanders||Fr.||HS—Copperas Cove, Texas|
|SS||Tracer Lopez||Fr.||HS—Rosebud, Texas|
|OF||Jeric Curtis||Fr.||HS—Cypress, Texas|