May 18, 2016
LUBBOCK, Texas – The West Virginia University baseball team and its 10-game winning streak travel to No. 5 Texas Tech for the final series of the regular season in Lubbock, Texas, from May 19-21.
The Mountaineers (32-19, 11-9 Big 12 Conference) enter the weekend on a 10-game winning streak, the longest active streak in the country and WVU’s longest since an 11-game streak in 2008. West Virginia has posted back-to-back series sweeps, first against Texas and then last weekend in the home finale vs. William & Mary. WVU is coming off a 10-4 Backyard Brawl victory at Pitt on Tuesday.
The Red Raiders (38-13, 17-14 Big 12) have clinched the regular-season Big 12 title. Its fifth conference crown in program history, it is Texas Tech’s first league championship since winning the Big 12 Tournament in 1998. TTU has taken the last eight days off, following a sweep at Kansas and a midweek victory at Abilene Christian.
A trio of freshmen will start for Texas Tech. Righty Davis Martin will start on Thursday, while Donato will face left-hander Steven Gingery. Right-hander Ty Harpenau will throw in Saturday’s series finale.
For fans unable to cheer on the Mountaineers in person in Lubbock, Texas, there are several ways to tune in live. Thursday and Friday’s games will be broadcast on Fox Sports Southwest, while Saturday’s contest will air on Fox Sports Southwest Plus. All three games can also be viewed on the Fox Sports Go app. Robert Giovannetti and Mike Gustafson will have the call.
SCOUTING TEXAS TECH
The 2016 Big 12 Conference regular-season champions, No. 5 Texas Tech enters the final weekend of the regular season with a 38-13 record and a 17-4 mark in conference action. The Red Raiders have had the last nine days off after a sweep at Kansas and a midweek win at Abilene Christian.
TTU swept the Jayhawks with a 10-3 win in the opener, followed by a 9-2 victory to win the series. A 6-3 win in the finale secured the Red Raiders’ fourth Big 12 sweep of the year.
Texas Tech has won six of its seven Big 12 series played and is a perfect 7-0 in series-openers in league play.
The Red Raiders are coached by Tim Tadlock, in his fourth season at his alma mater. The 2014 College Baseball Hall of Fame National Coach of the Year, he took TTU to the College World Series in 2014. Tadlock came to Lubbock after nine seasons at Grayson County College, where he amassed a record of 435-127. He is 140-89 at Texas Tech.
HISTORY VS. THE RED RAIDERS
West Virginia is 4-5 all-time against Texas Tech. All nine meetings have occurred since 2013, when the Mountaineers joined the Big 12. WVU posted series victories against TTU at home in both 2013 and 2015. In the Mountaineers’ last visit to Lubbock, Texas, was in 2014, when WVU was swept.
The series began in 2013 in Charleston, West Virginia. In their first ever Big 12 home series, the Mountaineers won the opener, 2-0, before a doubleheader split the following day. After WVU rallied with four eight-inning runs, Tech won the first game in 10 innings, 6-4. West Virginia answered with a 3-1 win in the nightcap to secure its first Big 12 series win.
ON DECK: BIG 12 CHAMPIONSHIP
LAST TIME OUT: BACKYARD BRAWL WIN
The Mountaineers’ winning streak reached a nation-best 10 games with a 10-4 win at Pitt on Tuesday. West Virginia won the 192nd edition of the rivalry to improve to 104-88 all-time against the Panthers.
STRIKING OUT THE RECORD BOOKS
The 454 strikeouts is the most in a single season, easily eclipsing the mark of 416 set in 2001. WVU leads the Big 12 with 454 strikeouts and is No. 18 nationally averaging 8.9 strikeouts per inning.
Donato has struck out a career-best 100 batters in 2016, the ninth time in team history a Mountaineer has reached the century mark. He is 11 strikeouts shy of cracking the top five and he needs 23 to catch the WVU record-holder, John Radosevich, who set the mark of 123 in 1964.