Miscellany

Texas Tech Top Ten: 2018-2019 Games Part 1

This week, we’re going to release our Top 10 games from the 2018-2019 athletic season, starting with our honorable mention and No. 10-6.

A couple weeks ago, we listed our Top Ten Texas Tech Athletes. Last week, we released our Top Ten Texas Tech plays. Now it’s time for our Top Ten Texas Tech Games from this past season. If you missed our previous lists, you can click the links below:

Staking The Plains Top Ten 2018-2019
Athletes (Part 1/Part 2) Plays (Part 1/Part 2) Games (Part 1/Part 2) Performances (Part 1/Part 2) Programs (Part 1/Part 2)

For this list, we’re going to be listing them based on a few things. We’re to look at how big the game was to that season and program, if it was a regular season or postseason game, how many people were watching it among Texas Tech fans and national fans, and how well the Red Raiders played.

When making this list, much like last list, this was difficult to make. I kind of knew what I wanted to for the top four games, but I kept on moving around No. 5-10 and the honorable mention. There was so many good games to choose from, it was just hard to pick only six of them.

The biggest problem was how many basketball games to pick, since their season was the best we’ve ever seen with a national title run and Big 12 title. Some of these games that I left off the list might’ve been in the Top 5 last year. I had to leave out a baseball game or two as well.

Let’s take a look at our honorable mention before getting to our Top 10-6 plays of the season:

Honorable Mentions:

  • Football vs Houston — This game featured record breaking performances from Alan Bowman and Antoine Wesley, along with their first win of the season over a D-1 program. It gave Texas Tech fans some hope heading into the Oklahoma State game.
  • Basketball vs Michigan — For only the second time in Sweet Sixteen history, the Red Raiders came out victorious. But it’s how they did it that made it a top game of the year. The Red Raiders dominated the Wolverines in the second half, behind 22 points from Jarrett Culver and 15 points from Davide Moretti.
  • Baseball vs Baylor — Although this game was just one out of 24 conference games, this game actually decided who won the Big 12. Micah Dallas and Taylor Floyd combined for one earned run, and Cody Masters walked-off with a single in the bottom of the ninth.
  • Baseball vs DBU (Game 2) — The second game of a regional is always the most important. It’s the difference between having to win three games or four games. And this was a close one. It needed huge plays, like Cameron Warren’s two run home run and brilliant pitching by Taylor Floyd, to win 3-2.
  • Volleyball at No. 19 Baylor — The volleyball team hasn’t made much noise the past few seasons, but they did have some good wins this season. Perhaps the best one was their 3-1 victory over No. 19 Baylor to start Big 12 play. This team showed a lot of promise for the future.
  • Softball vs No. 13 Arizona State — Softball started off with 10 straight wins, and fans were wondering if this team was legit. One way to do so is to run rule a Top 15 team in a tournament setting. They did exactly that when they defeated No. 13 Arizona State 8-0 in five innings.
  • Big 12 Track and Field Championships — This wasn’t the best Track and Field championship the team participated in this year, but a conference championship is a conference championship. And once again the Red Raiders walked away with one. They scored 164 points, 38 more than Iowa State.
  • Felicity Maltby vs Petra Melounova — Maltby became the first Texas Tech player ever to advance to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Women’s Singles Tournament. She defeated Melounova in a hard fought first set 7-5 before sweeping her in the second set 6-0.
  • Softball vs No. 11 Texas — Out of all the softball games, this one might have included the most drama. In fact, it ended with drama, with a 3-2 walk-off win over No. 11 Texas during Big 12 play, in which Brianna Russell hit home Yvonne Whaley.
  • Basketball vs Virginia — Unfortunately this game didn’t end the way we wanted. But it was for a national championship, it went back and forth throughout, and went to overtime. Brandone Francis had a team high 17 points, Davide Moretti had 15 points, and Kyler Edwards had 12 points. All Shot 50% or better as well.
  • Baseball vs Florida State — There was a lot happening this game. First off, it was a very strange game, with a lot of small ball played outside of the Brian Klein home run. Secondly, no earned runs were scored by Florida State. Bryce Bonnin was wild but effective, and Taylor Floyd pitched perhaps his best performance. Finally, the Red Raiders won 4-1, advancing to their first CWS semifinals.
  • Basketball vs Duke — Much like the Virginia game, this one didn’t result in a victory, but it was one of most memorable games of the season. The Red Raiders were ranked in the Top 15 and undefeated, facing against a team with three lottery picks. Texas Tech was leading a good part of the game and Jarrett Culver was the best player on the floor that game, solidifying his lottery pick status.

No. 10 Softball vs LSU

Date Score/Result Top Performers
5/19/2019 Texas Tech 5, No. 10 LSU 4 Zoe Jones (1-2, 2R HR); Jessica Hartwell (3-3, 2 RBI); Heaven Burton (2-4, 2 Rs); Erin Edmoundson (5.2 IP, 3 ER, 3 K’s)

Why This Was Chosen?: Although this game wasn’t watched as much as other games on this list, it was huge to the softball program. The softball team advanced to their fifth Regional final all time and were looking to advance to their first Super Regional. They needed to win two games against LSU and nearly pulled it off, including this thriller on Sunday afternoon.

LSU was the No. 10 seed in the NCAA tournament, and the Red Raiders had a slight chance of hosting despite not performing as well in Big 12 play as they hoped. Texas Tech took care of buisness against Louisana Tech twice, but were unable to pull off the upset on Saturday when they lost to LSU in 13 innings. They needed this win.

Fortunately, thanks to scheduling from head coach Adrian Gregory, the Red Raiders were used to playing tough competition on the road. Despite throwing 289 pitches in the regional thus far, ace Erin Edmundson took the mound. And she started off fantasic, allowing only one earned run in the first five innings.

That being said, LSU did score an unearned run in the thrid to make it 1-0 Tigers early on. That didn’t last long though, as Heavon Burton doubled in the next inning and scored on a Jessica Hartwell sac fly. After LSU answered the next inning, Zoe Jones develied a big blow in the bottom of the fourth with a two run shot over the left center field wall.

The Red Raiders tacked on another run via the walk next inning and it looked like Texas Tech was in control, but LSU wasn’t going to go down easily, and scored on a couple extra base hits to tie in the at 4 in the sixth.

Missy Zoch came in for Edmoundson to end the threat, and in the bottom of the inning, Hartwell drove in the game winning RBI to force a final game. It was an incredible postseason game full of lead changes and an exciting, late inning finish.

No. 9 Baseball vs OKST (Super Regional, Game 1)

Date Score/Result Top Performers
6/7/2019 No. 8 Texas Tech 8, No. 9 OKST 6 Brian Klein (2-3, 2 RBI, R); Dylan Neuse (2-4, 2 RBI, R); Josh Jung (2-5, HR);  Micah Dallas (5 IP, 2 ER, 9 K’s).

Why This Was Chosen?: Much like Florida on last year’s list, Oklahoma State is going to take a beating on this year’s list. I had a debate which baseball game I wanted on here, but I choose this one over games like Florida State and DBU because of it’s constant back and forth nature, when the other two felt more one sided.

Unless you are an SEC team, where there’s a billion teams in the tournament, it’s rare to see a rematch from a regular season series in the postseason. Although this is what we had here with Oklahoma State and Texas Tech.

The Red Raiders swept the Cowboys in Lubbock earlier in the year, but they needed another series win to advance to the CWS. And nearly 80% of teams that win Game 1 move on, so this was incredibly important.

After Micah Dallas threw two effective innings, Dylan Neuse pushed two runs across with a two out single. Cody Masters added a home run in the third to make it 3-0. Oklahoma State got two runs back in the fourth, but Texas Tech added three more runs from a Brian Klein single and a two run error by the center.

However, Oklahoma State wouldn’t quit, adding three runs to make it 6-5 in the seventh. This is when the Josh Jung show arrived. He hit a solo home run to add an insurance run in the seventh, then after the Cowboys added the run back in the eighth, Jung made a fantastic play on a grounder up the middle to prevent the tying run from scoring.

The Red Raiders added another run in the eighth and John McMillon closed out the game. This game was huge for a postseason run and needed big plays from several players. Even though I may have it higher than some people, I think this deserves to be on the list.

No. 8 Basketball vs Kansas

Date Score/Result Top Performers
2/23/2019 No. 14 Texas Tech 91, No. 12 Kansas 62 Jarrett Culver (26 pts, 4 asts, 10-21 FG); Matt Mooney (13 pts, 6 asts, 5-8 FG); Norense Odiase (8 pts, 13 rebs, 3-4 FG); Davide Moretti (11 pts, 5 asts, 4 rebs).

Why This Was Chosen?: This is another one where I wasn’t sure which basketball game I wanted to pick. Even though the Michigan game was a blow out in the NCAA tournament, this one put the idea of serious national title contenders in the mind of Red Raider fans, and could possibly be a changing of the guard in Big 12.

To set the stage of this game, we have to go all the way back to Super Bowl weekend. Texas Tech had defeated Kansas last year in Lawrence, and the Jayhawks were looking for blood, dominating the Red Raiders in a revenge game. Texas Tech fell to 5-4 in conference play, the Jayhawks improved to 6-3, and Kansas State was 7-2.

Fast forwarding to the end of the month, Texas Tech was tied with Kansas in the conference and a game behind Kansas State. They had a weak schedule left (minus at Iowa State) and Kansas State still had to play in Lawrence. It was the perfect chance to make a statement and move into position for a title. And the Red Raiders did exactly that.

Out of all the games Texas Tech had played, this was the most dominant I have seen them play. For starters, they got off to a double digit lead before the 15 minute mark. They ended the first half with a 45-20 lead, more than doubling Kansas up, and shooting 55%. Somehow, they shot even better in the second half, shooting 68%. They shot 60% for an entire game, which is completely insane, espically against a Top 15 team.

Only one person shot below 50%. That was Jarrett Culver, who was 10-21 with 26 points. Norense Odiase continued to kill Kansas, as he dominated Dedric Lawson and corraled 13 rebounds.

We had a fantastic Culver breakaway dunks, big threes from Davide Morettti and Brandone Francis, and it was all on ESPN. Kansas just doesn’t lose like that, but the Red Raiders made it happen. Perhaps that was a sign for years to come.

No. 7 Baseball vs Arkansas

Date Score/Result Top Performers
6/17/2019 No. 8 Texas Tech 5, No. 5 Arkansas 4 Caleb Kilian (7 IP, 3 ER, 9 K’s); Cameron Warren (1-3, 2R HR, 2 R); Josh Jung (1-4, HR, 2 R); Easton Murrell (1-3, HR).

Why This Was Chosen?: Despite Texas Tech needing to win four games in a row to make it to the College World Series final, this game was still one of the greatest games of the year. Defeating an old conference foe, who knocked you out last year, and doing so at the big stage in dramatic fashion, makes this a good game.

One could also argue that this game summed up the Texas Tech baseball team all season. The Red Raiders squad made a ton of comebacks this year down multiple runs, which includes wins over Oregon, Kentucky and Oklahoma State. They also fell behind early in conference play and ended up taking home the title.

Well in this game, Arkansas quickly jumped out to a 3-0 lead early on. But the Red Raiders weren’t going to go down without a fight. Cameron Warren cut the lead to 3-2 with a two run home run in the bottom of the fourth inning. Texas Tech would tie the game next inning on a solo shot by former Razorback Easton Murrell.

Finally the Red Raiders would have a lead against Arkansas in a College World Series game after Josh Jung broke the tie with a home run. The Razorbacks would get a run back in the eighth before Texas Tech scored on one of the more memorable plays in Red Raiders history.

Warren drew a 3-2 walk, reaching first with two outs for Cody Masters. On a 3-1 count, Warren took off from first, and Masters blasted one to the top of the right field wall. The first baseman ran as fast as he could around the bases, scoring to take the lead with an inning left.

Taylor Floyd closed out the game and the Red Raiders survived to play another game. It was a thriller with a fun comeback and memorable plays on a big time stage.

No. 6 Football vs Oklahoma State

Date Score/Result Top Performers
9/27/2018 Texas Tech 41, No. 15 OKST 17 Alan Bowman (35-46, 397 yards, 2 TDs); DeMarcus Felton (14 rushes, 130 yards, 2 TDs); Jordan Brooks (6 tackles, 2.5 TFL); Eli Howard (4 tackles, 1.5 sacks).

Why This Was Chosen?: Kind of like the Houston game last year, this game gave Texas Tech fans a reason to be excited for the 2019 season, even if that excitement eventually faded in the coming weeks. This was a primetime win over a ranked team and a conference opponent the Red Raiders had trouble with as of late.

The win over Oklahoma State was the first time a Texas Tech did so since 2008, when the Red Raiders went 11-1 in the regular season. It was also the second highest ranked team Kliff Kingsbury defeated (No. 14 Arizona State was the highest) and highest ranked team during the regular season.

It looked like it was going to a hard fought back and forth battle at first. After both teams failed to score in their opening possessions, the two teams started exchanging scores, with a turnover by both teams included. Really, the domination of the Cowboys started about halfway through the second quarter.

Sarodorick Thompson scored with about seven minutes left in the quarter. The Red Raiders quickly forced a punt and put up a field goal with little time left in the quarter. The Cowboys were driving, but an Eli Howard sack ended any threat of a score to end the half.

After a bad interception by Alan Bowman early in the third quarter, DeMarcus Felton added to his already 56 yards rushing the second half with a 27 yard touchdown to give Texas Tech a 31-17 lead. Clayton Hatfield ended the quarter with a field goal, and Felton added to an already three possession lead with a 17 yard touchdown.

This was Felton’s career moment, as had 12 carries for 117 yards and two touchdowns in the second half alone. The defense, lead by Eli Howard with 1.5 seconds and Jordyn Brooks with five tackles (and 2.5 TFL), didn’t allow a score in the last 40 minutes in the game. It was a big time win and gave all Red Raider fans hope on a good season.

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