By: William Knox
For the first time since 2005, Texas Tech started the season with 4 straight victories. Pitchers A.J. Ramos and Miles Morgan returned from injury with incredible results, but 2B Willie Rueda and C Jeremy Mayo were struck by injuries that could limit them for the next couple of weeks.
Saturday saw the triumphant return of former Big 12 Freshman of the Year Miles Morgan, who has only pitched 4 innings since his stellar freshman campaign in 2006. Morgan was back to the form that garnered him national attention, striking out 11 batters in 6 innings and picking up the win. A.J. Ramos seemed to have healed nicely after facing Tommy John Surgery in the middle of last season. Ramos, limited to only 47 pitches, threw 3 shutout innings against Texas-Pan American on Sunday before being relieved by Lorenzo Douglas in the 4th.
Rueda pulled lame in Saturday’s game after attempting to beat out a slow ground ball to first base against Southern Utah. The initial diagnosis is a pulled hamstring, which will keep the senior speedster out indefinitely. If the injury is minor, Rueda could return as early as Friday when the Raiders begin an 8 game road trip in California against Cal-State Northridge, but a severe pull could cost him a few weeks on the bench.
Mayo dislocated his thumb in the 4th inning of Saturday’s game on a Miles Morgan pitch. Mayo will not miss as much time as Rueda, possibly being fully healthy for the first game in Northridge on Friday.
With Rueda out of the lineup, Jr. Joey Kenworthy will slide over to 2B. Justin Berry will play his natural position of SS while Kellen Monreal plugs the hole at 3B. Kevin Whitehead will fill in full time for Mayo at C with Logan Leslie being the main hitter at the DH spot.
The injury to Rueda is not good, but it does have its upside. With Rueda out, Monreal will be a full time starter, allowing Dan Spencer to insert Logan Brown or one of the freshmen into the outfield. The freshman, Whitehead, will also gain valuable time behind the plate in Mayo’s absence.
The Red Raiders return to Dan Law Field on Tuesday against the New Mexico Lobos. Jr. Nate Karns will start for Tech on Tuesday, while So. Robert Kilcrease will take the mound on Wednesday. Expect to see 4 freshmen in the field on Tuesday, with Berry and Whitehead at 2B and C, Mason Macnoll in RF, and Scott LeJeune at DH (subject to change).
The Lobos head to Lubbock with a 3-1 record, taking 3 of 4 games against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi over the weekend.
William Knox is currently a senior at Texas Tech University. He is also the founder of Absolutely Obnoxious where he gives his opinion about Texas Tech athletics. You can check out his site by clicking here.