Texas Tech is making a run at the Big 12 title with an offense that is putting up big numbers.
The Red Raiders scored 61 runs in five games last week, finishing with a 21-3 series-clinching win over TCU on Sunday in a matchup of teams that went to the College World Series last year.
“It is always fun to do that against TCU or any Big 12 school,” Texas Tech shortstop Orlando Garcia said, according to the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. “It is a great feeling when you can’t be stopped like that and it just keeps on piling on.”
Texas Tech (36-12, 11-7 Big 12), the defending regular-season champion, is one game behind the Horned Frogs (31-11, 12-6) with two conference series remaining.
TCU, which has lost six of its last 10, got uncharacteristically poor pitching performances Sunday. Six pitchers combined to give up 20 hits and six walks, and they hit two batters and threw three wild pitches. The Frogs hadn’t given up so many runs since a 22-4 loss to Baylor in 2003, the season before Jim Schlossnagle took over as coach.
Texas Tech started the week with a 27-15 win at New Mexico, the Raiders’ most runs in a game since 1999 and most in 118 all-time meetings with the Lobos.
The big week moved the Raiders as high as No. 4 in the major polls and into the top 25 nationally in batting average (.308) and runs per game (7.5). Hunter Hargrove (.346) is the leader among six starters batting .305 or better.
A look around the country:
STANFORD ON RISE
Stanford is one of the hottest teams in the nation after sweeping 2016 national runner-up Arizona and running its win streak to eight games. The Cardinal went 13-5 in April, their most victories in a month since winning 15 in May 2003, and have risen as high as No. 13 in the polls. Stanford (27-12, 11-7) is second in the Pac-12, 5 ½ games behind top-ranked Oregon State (34-4, 18-3). With 41st-year coach Mark Marquess in his last season, the Cardinal are in strong position to make the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2014.
HIT STREAK ENDS
Air Force’s Bradley Haslam went 0 for 4 in a 4-3 loss to Nevada on Sunday, ending his school-record 44-game hitting streak. The streak was the sixth-longest in NCAA history. The senior third baseman is batting .407 with nine homers and 47 RBIs.
Louisville two-way star Brendan McKay tied the 41-year-old school record by hitting four homers in a 14-4 win at Eastern Kentucky last Tuesday. He finished 4 for 5 with nine RBIs. On Friday, the Cardinals’ ace allowed three hits and struck out 12 in a 5-4 nonconference win over Toledo. McKay is projected to be one of the top picks in next month’s draft.
TAR HEEL SWEEP
North Carolina raised eyebrows with a sweep of Clemson in a matchup of top-five teams. The Tar Heels (36-9, 19-5) came from behind in all three games. They’re a consensus No. 3 in the polls, five games up on Virginia in the ACC’s Coastal Division and a half-game ahead of Louisville for best record in the league. Redshirt freshman Josh Hiatt earned a win and against Clemson. He retired 17 of the 21 batters he faced.
TIGHT SEC RACES
Mississippi State lost two of three to Auburn, making the SEC West a five-team race heading into the last three weeks of the regular season. Mississippi State and Auburn are tied for first at 14-7 in SEC play, with Arkansas, Texas A&M and LSU each a game back at 13-8. Kentucky (14-7) has a one-game lead over Florida (13-8) in the SEC East. That division might not be decided until the Wildcats visit Gainesville May 18-20.