The School: Texas Tech (checks notes) University. You may know it better as Texas Technological College, as it was known until ‘69 (nice). TTU’s motto—From here, it’s possible—is likely there for legal reasons, as technically they did not promise their graduates anything. Alternate mottos previously considered: 1) In sole est, guns est, 2) Videte ne quis vos, qui magnam rotam, and 3) Quaeritur de nostris nos Latine certamine motto.
Location: Lubbock, Texas. Known for their car-sized tumbleweeds and vast expanse of nothingness, Lubbock’s main industry is The Witness Relocation Program.
*Fun Fact: Lubbock, TX is the birthplace of Buddy Holly.
**Less Fun Fact: Tom lives there.
The Mascot: Like The Auburn University War Tigers, Tech couldn’t settle on just one mascot. Though the primary mascot is “The Masked Rider,” they also have “Raider Red,” who, according to his Wikipedia entry, “is used at events where The Masked Rider is not allowed or would not be appropriate.” Of course, the student who plays Raider Red is always a member of “The Saddle Tramps,” so I have a feeling judging appropriateness is not a Texas Tech strong suit.
Record: 44-18, 16-8 in the Big XII Conference.
How’d they get here? Though they lost to West Virginia in the semifinals of their conference tourney, Tech was awarded an at-large bid and the final National Seed (#8). They swept through Army and Dallas Baptist in a surprisingly easy Regional, and then took 2 out of 3 from conference foe Oklahoma State in the Super Regional.
Best win: They swept Oklahoma State, and then beat them in the Super Regional. Going 5-1 against the team who is likely your best conference foe is pretty impressive. In addition, they swept Michigan, the team they are scheduled to play in the first game in Omaha, in an out of conference series back in March. Win or lose on Saturday, they will not face a team they swept in the following game, as they have neither played Arky nor Florida State this year.
Most embarrassing loss: An April 30th 3-6 loss to a school called “UTRGV” during “Bark at the Park.” You never want to lose to a school with an acronym greater than 3 letters, especially if that acronym reads more as “HGTV Spin-Off Network” than “Institute of Higher Learning,” and certainly not one which may or may not be manned exclusively by Air Buds.
Most terrifying batter: Jr. 3B Josh “The Psychoanalyst” Jung. Jung was the #8 overall pick in this year’s MLB draft (selected by the Texas Rangers) and slashed .342/.476/.636 with 22 2B, 1 3B, 14 HR, and 56 RBI. Believe it or not, this was a bit of a down year for The Psychoanalyst, as he slashed .392/.491/.639 with 17 2B, 6 3B, 12 HR, and 80 RBI in 2018. Draft year nerves, I guess...
*Note: This is the first time in our Postseason Previews that an opposing hitter actually qualifies as “Terrifying.”
Best pitcher: Tech is a much better offensive team than a pitching team. Their Ace is Fr. RHP Micah “I Shot J.R.” Dallas (7-0, 3.38 ERA in 11 starts). Dallas was home schooled, and presumably took the Homecoming Queen (his mother) to prom.
Best name: Easy one. Jr. right handed relief pitcher Connor Queen. He’s a Connor Queen, Gunpowder, gelatin/ Dynamite with a laser beam/ Guaranteed to blow your mind/ Anytime.
Best NCAA Tournament result: Counting this year, they have made it to Omaha four times in the past six years, which is... otherworldly, especially considering Head Coach Tim “Padlock” Tadlock only got the job in 2013. Unfortunately, they went 2 and Que in ‘14 (you know, the greatest CWS ever), 1-2 in ‘16, and 1-2 in ‘18. Winning in Omaha, as you may already know, is hard.
When would we have to face them? Only in the CWS finals if they get through Michigan, Florida State, and Arkansas. They’re on the other side of the bracket.
Should Vanderbilt Be Scared? Tim Corbin has fear? A thousand times no!
Tim Corbin has fancy plans... and pants to match! Feel my skills, donkey, donkey, donkey, donkey, donkey...