The Morning Stake

The Morning Stake | 2018.05.21

Your daily dose of all things Texas Tech athletics.

Leading Off

Congrats to the 40 student athletes who graduated this weekend from the greatest university on the planet (official site):

Baseball: Connor Beck, Cameron Warren
Men’s Basketball: Justin Gray, Keenan Evans, Niem Stevenson, Norense Odiase, Tommy Hamilton IV, Zach Smith
Women’s Basketball: Dayo Olabode, Recee Caldwell
Football: Joseph Clark, Justin Murphy, Kyle Heffron
Men’s Golf: Hurly Long, Wes Artac
Women’s Golf: Gabby Barker
Soccer: Haleigh Fancher
Softball: Allison Knopp, Camaury Washington, Kaylee Strickland
Men’s Tennis: Jolan Cailleau
Women’s Tennis: Gabriela Talaba, Katelyn Jackson, Lynn Kiro, Sabrina Federici
Women’s Track & Field: Bailey Blunt, Hattie Schunk, Kaylee Amershek, Lauren Younger, Tayler Jameson
Men’s Track & Field: Clark Blunt, Colten Gayle, Dorian Williams Jr., Ebenether Wondaferew, Hunter Hopkins, Jack Robb, Kyle Collins, Steven Champlin, Todd Mickey
Volleyball: Audrey Fragniere

Huge congrats to Devine Oduduru and Wes Kittley, Oduduru being named the Male Performer of the Year and Kittle for beign named the Men’s Coach of the Year for the Big 12 (official site). There will be 39 athletes in Sacramento this week for the NCAA West Preliminary Competition starting on Thursday (official site).

The softball team’s post-season run in the NISC Tournament came to an end on Friday night, falling to UT Arlington, 5-2 (official site). Congrats to Coach Gregory and the team for a terrific season. Lots of freshmen played and I’d guess that the future looks pretty bright for this program.

The women’s tennis team fell to Duke, 4-1 on Saturday morning after their spectacular post-season run, making it to the Elite Eight (official site). The Red Raiders were 23-7 overall and made it to the Elite Eight for the second straight year.

Soome soccer news, including the promotion of Gibbs Keeton to No. 1 assistant coach (official site). Keeton is a Texas Tech alum, graduating in 2006 and has served in a handful of spots for the soccer team since 2009.

And last, but not least, from A-J Media’s Don Williams, he writes about all of the winning that’s happened with the spring sports and a quote from men’s golf coach Greg Sands about athletic director Kirby Hocutt:

“With his leadership,” Sands said, “he’s one of the best if not the best in the business, so I can’t imagine working for anybody else, especially a guy that cares about Olympic sports and cares about what we do. I know there’s a lot of ADs out there who it’s really just about the big sports and that’s it, but he wants to be good in everything.”

Really, the only sports that are lagging behind are football, volleyball (this is improving) and Lady Raider basketball, where they have a new head coach.

Texas Tech Baseball

Texas Tech will play TCU on Wednesday, first pitch scheduled for 7:30 p.m. in Oklahoma City at the Bricktown Ballpark. As I mentioned in the series thread where Texas Tech swept Oklahoma State, this is a double-elimination tournament and Oklahoma State an West Virginia are also in their tournament mini-bracket. We’ll have an open thread and preview (so long as I have time) for each game.

Some of you after the sweep of Oklahoma State where the Texas fans were to thank Texas Tech for sweeping the Cowboys and of all things, Horns24/7’s Chip Brown did write, “Let’s be honest, Texas is celebrating an outright Big 12 baseball title thanks to the Red Raiders, who went to Stillwater and swept previously first-place Oklahoma State.” As I wrote after the game, it didn’t matter to me if Texas thanked Texas Tech, it is what it is and I’m more interested in the NCAA Tournament and who is starting on Wednesday than anything else.

Speaking of the NCAA Tournament, D1Baseball’s Kendall Rogers wrote about what that OSU sweep did for Texas Tech’s national seed hopes:

Texas Tech: We mentioned the Red Raiders did Texas a favor by sweeping Oklahoma State on the road this weekend. Well, they also helped their case for a national seed. Tech entered the weekend in solid shape to host, but now they’re aiming for a top-eight seed. With the series sweep over OSU, Tech is up to 6 in the RPI with a 38-15 overall record and a 15-9 mark in the Big 12. Though TTU is 2-5 vs. RPI Top 25, it’s 13-11 vs. RPI Top 50 and 25-15 vs. RPI Top 100. Tim Tadlock’s club still has work to do, but they’re clearly in the mix.

Texas Tech Basketball

BleacherReport’s Paul Kasabian writes about the impressive measurements from the Chicago combine and Zhaire Smith is mentioned:

Texas Tech guard Zhaire Smith gave DiVincenzo a run for his money in both leaping categories, earning a 41.5-inch max vertical (third at the combine) and 33-inch standing vertical leap (fourth).

Texas Tech Football

A-J Media’s Don Williams writes about how the two practice fields have flipped positions, the artificial field is where the grass field was and vice versa. The grass field won’t be ready until sometime in August and the project cost $2.4 million and has already been paid for by The Campaign for Fearless Champions.

24/7 Sports’ Gabe Brooks reports on the ETSN.com/APEC East Texas Recruiting Combine and Cameron Cantrell showed out for the receivers (at some point, I’m probably going to type out Dylan when I mean Cameron, but old habits are hard to break):

WR MVP: Cameron Cantrell, 2019 WR, Whitehouse (Texas) — Cantrell is a longtime Texas Tech commit and the younger brother of 2018 NFL Draft pick Dylan Cantrell. The younger Cantrell had perhaps the best overall testing day at the event. At 6-foot-1 1/2, 179 pounds, Cantrell ran a 4.66-second 40 with a blistering 3.96-second pro agility. He also recorded a 40.5-inch vertical and an outstanding broad jump of 126 inches (10 1/2 feet), while benching 185 pounds 14 times. Cantrell committed last August to Texas Tech and remains solid to the Red Raiders.

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