MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — People throughout college baseball already knew Texas Tech’s lineup could hit. Then came last Sunday’s 21-3 clubbing of TCU, and the frenzy of aluminum pings only turned louder.
The No. 6 Red Raiders, currently leading the Big 12 in seven major offensive categories, visit West Virginia on Friday to open a three-game series matching the second- and third-place teams in the league standings.
With ERA leader Michael Grove still sidelined by a forearm strain, the Mountaineers (26-17, 10-8) have only one of their original weekend starters healthy. That compounds the need for coach Randy Mazey to juggle his usage of an erratic bullpen.
Texas Tech (37-12, 11-7) fronts the Big 12 with a .306 team batting while also leading in runs, homers, slugging, on-base percentage, doubles and triples.
“With the depth of their lineup, every guy in there is capable of hitting a homer,” Mazey said. “That always scares you if you make a mistake.”
First baseman Hunter Hargrove sports a team-high .351 average with 46 RBIs, while catcher Michael Berglund (.336) is a freshman of the year candidate. Shortstop Orlando Garcia shows elite production for a middle infielder — leading league with 53 RBIs and running second in homers (11). Third baseman Josh Jung, another freshman, tops the conference wth 49 runs.
Though West Virginia’s two-week stay in the top 25 polls ended with last weekend’s series loss to Oklahoma, it
remains No. 11 in the RPI, well positioned for an NCAA regional berth with 12 games left in the regular season.
The Mountaineers enter the weekend 8-4 against top-25 teams this season.
“It’s going to be tough,” Mazey said, “but our guys have sound away to stop against better competition.”