In the first game of the Lubbock Super Regional, the Oklahoma State and Texas Tech baseball teams’ differing relationships with the strikeout had a larger impact than any player did.
The Red Raiders won the game 8-6, but it was the Cowboys who damaged their own cause throughout.
The Cowboys are known as a power-hitting team. They came into Friday’s game at Rip Gribbin Park fifth in home runs with 87.
With this comes a boom-or-bust mentality when hitting. All but one of the players in OSU’s starting lineup on Friday has 50 or more strikeouts.
Enter Micah Dallas. The Tech starter took full advantage of this mentality and sat down nine Cowboys on strikeouts in five innings.
Dallas had the Cowboys chasing balls below the strike zone. One of his victims was OSU outfielder Carson McCusker, whom Dallas struck out swinging in the second inning.
“He was throwing a lot of balls down,” McCusker siad. “A lot of sliders down. We didn't make great adjustments in the first two innings. Once we did we got to him, but it came a little too late.”
Dallas was not the only Tech pitcher to give the Cowboys a problem. The Red Raiders used three pitcher in relief and they picked up where he left off.
The trio of Dane Haveman, Taylor Floyd and John McMillon combined for six strikeouts in four innings of work.
With his team struggling throughout the game, OSU coach Josh Holliday said the adjustment was simple.
“[We] tried to see the pitches and locations where they were hittable versus locations where they start out at hittable but arrive unhittable,” Holliday said. “Start out as strikes, finish as balls. We need to find pitches that start as strikes and arrive as strikes.”
Jung steals the shows
Texas Tech shortstop Josh Jung made an impact on offense and defense Friday.
The Texas Rangers selected Jung with a first-round pick in this week’s MLB Amateur Draft
He showed why he was taken as early as he was against OSU.
Jung singled in the first inning, but his main contribution to his team’s win was a solo home run during the seventh inning that gave the Red Raiders much needed insurance.
An inning later he made a diving play to keep McCusker from scoring and giving OSU its first lead of the game.
The Cowboys will face Tech in game two of the series Saturday at 5 p.m. OSU needs a win to force a game three as it searches for its first trip to the College World Series since 2016.