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2017 Houston College Classic: Q & A With Viva The Matadors

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Ahead of Sunday's finale vs Texas Tech, I talked to Brice Paterik of Viva The Matadors

PodKATT: TxTech has just a single loss so far this year, a late Sunday game in the fabulous metropolis of StarkVegas. Like most of the teams in Houston, this weekend is a significant step up in competition quality. Do you think Tech is ready for this big, nationally televised stage and how well do you think the weekend will go?

Brice Paterik:  Tech hasn't faced competition like they'll see this weekend yet and with the team being so full of younger players it will be telling to see how they handle this weekend. They just swept a four game series with Cal, and though Cal is rebuilding, beating a team with their history as badly as this team did gives hope that they're ready for this weekend.


PK: On the mound this year, Tech returns Steven Gingery and Davis Martin from last year's starters, along with moving Ryan Shetter from the bullpen to a starting role. They're all off to great starts so far. Is this the rotation you expect to carry the weekend loads this year and what can you tell us about Shetter, the presumed starter against LSU on Sunday

BP: Shetter had a solid 2015 campaign but I did not expect this level of early success. Last weekend I got the chance to see him in person and his stuff looked excellent. Freshman catcher Michael Berglund has done a stellar job of handling the pitching staff this year, leading to their success. Shetter is confident in his command and when his stuff is on, he's going to be tough for any lineup to crack.


PK: The Red Raiders look plenty powerful at the plate, especially SR 1B Hunter Hargrove who's currently leading the BXII in hits, doubles, RBIs, and total bases. What type of offensive style does Texas Tech use and how well is it working this year?

BP: Hargrove's offensive explosion was an extremely pleasant surprise, as were several of the other offensive leaders for the Red Raiders this year. Last year's offensive juggernaut center fielder Tanner Gardner (.379/.484/.549 2016 slash line) got off to a rough start but has a 2 game hit streak going and has looked better of late. Short stop Orlando Garcia is having an excellent offensive season but Coach Tadlock likes him in the bottom of the order.

This team has some solid power but Coach Tadlock likes to play small ball when he thinks it might be prudent. Texas Tech has a deep lineup that relies on multiple ways to beat opponents should one facet be shut down.

PK: Any Freshmen on the roster who have stepped up big so far in this young season?

BP: Earlier I mentioned catcher Michael Berglund as a freshman who stood out. This season was thought to be a rebuilding year, so there are a few freshman getting significant playing time and making the most of it. Lead off hitter and corner outfielder Grant Little is capital R Raking this season. He leads the team hitting .433 with a healthy number of walks as well.

Third baseman Josh Jung is another freshman doing work. The power numbers aren't quite there yet, but with a .395 on base percentage, his offensive output has been impressive this season.

PK: Bot 9. 2 out. Down 1. Runner on. who Do you want at the plate?

BP: In crunch time I'd rather have nobody up there but the OG Orlando Garcia. The short stop has been hot lately and when crunch time comes you have to go with the hot hand.