Red Raiders open CWS against No. 1 Florida


The No. 9 Texas Tech baseball team begins its third NCAA College World Series on Sunday, June 17, against No. 1 Florida at 6 p.m. on ESPN2 at T.D. Ameritrade Park in Omaha.

The Red Raiders (44-18) and the Gators (47-19) play the fourth game of the opening round of 2018 CWS. The two teams are matched up with No. 5 Arkansas (44-19) and No. 13 Texas (42-21), two squads Tech has already faced this season, who will play at 1 p.m. on Sunday.

All of the final round of games will air on the ESPN family of networks and can be streamed on the ESPN app or on WatchESPN.com. As always, Tech games can be heard on 97.3 FM, the 97.3 app, the TuneIn app and online at TexasTech.com.

The Red Raiders are playing in their third College World Series in school history, doing so in each of the last three even years, making the CWS in 2014 for the first time and returning in 2016. Tech is one of just three programs with three or more appearances in Omaha in the last five years.

The third berth was clinched on June 11 at the end of a three-game set with Duke in the NCAA Lubbock Super Regional at Dan Law Field at Rip Griffin Park. The Red Raiders won game one of the series, 6-4, after erasing a 3-0 deficit & taking the lead in the eighth to capture the opener. After a loss in game two, Tech rebounded and never trailed in the finale to punch its ticket to the next round.

The Red Raiders will face the defending national champions in the opening game of the CWS. The Gators have appeared in each of the last four rounds of the College World Series, meeting up with Tech in an elimination game in 2016 for the only meeting between the two squads. In that contest, the Red Raiders used a 3-2 victory to claim their first-ever victory at the CWS in school history.

Senior Michael Davis and junior Davis Martin both competed in that matchup with Florida. Martin recorded his 10th win of his freshman season in that game, tossing 7.0 scoreless frames with three hits, three walks & three strikeouts, while the sophomore Davis started at second base & helped record the final out of the game.

Tech would drop its third game of the 2016 CWS to the eventual national champions in Coastal Carolina. In 2014, the Red Raiders lost both of its first two games to TCU and Ole Miss in a pair of one-run contests.

The 2018 postseason marks the 13th appearance for the Red Raiders and the third year Tech has advanced to Super Regional action. The previous two came in 2014 and 2016, as both clubs won the Supers to continue their seasons.

The Red Raiders reached the second weekend of postseason play after sweeping the Lubbock Regional for the first time in school history. Tech picked up a 9-2 victory in game one over New Mexico State, then moved into catbird seat with a 10-4 win over Louisville in the 1-0 contest. After the Cardinals staved off elimination against Kent State, the Red Raiders threw down 11 runs in their second game against Louisville for an 11-6 victory to advance with a clean 3-0 slate.

Tech was selected as the No. 9 national seed by the NCAA Selection Committee, making it the third-straight year Tech was named a national seed for the tournament. The Red Raiders have spent the entire 2018 season ranked in the top 10 via both nationally-voted on polls & the NCAA RPI Rankings.

The Gators roll into the CWS hitting .278 this season as a squad, with five starters above the team average. Jonathan India leads Florida with a .354 clip at the plate, also pacing the team in hits and runs with 75 and 63, respectively. Will Dalton has driven in the most runs this year with 60 RBI. The Gators have tagged opposing pitchers for a 6.13 team ERA, while its open pitching staff has a 3.46 earned run average and has held opponents to a .230 mark at the plate.

The Red Raiders offense continues to lead the Big 12 and ranks fifth in the country with a .311 overall clip, as six starters are hitting above the team line. Sophomore Josh Jung paces the class with 97 hits, 78 RBI and 68 runs scored. Freshman Gabe Holt & sophomore Grant Little follow closely with 90 & 87 hits, respectively, while Holt is tied in runs scored with Jung at 68. Tech's hitters have tagged opposing pitchers for a 7.91 ERA this season, while the Red Raider pitching staff has hold opponents to a .244 average at the plate for a 4.40 team ERA.

The trio all picked All-America accolades this week, as Jung & Little each have five to their name this season, while Holt has three freshman honors & an honorable mention All-America award heading into the weekend.

The Red Raiders will face either No. 5 Arkansas or No. 13 Texas at either 1 p.m. or 6 p.m. on Tuesday, June 19, from T.D. Ameritrade Park on ESPN.

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