The Texas Tech baseball team held their first official practice of the spring semester Friday and head coach Tim Tadlock expects his second season to run a lot smoother.
"I think we got some guys back from last year and some guys bought in in the fall and started having some mature at-bats, doing what you gotta do to win baseball games, driving in runs and getting on base."
The 2013 squad struggled heavily on offense with just one hitter cracking the .300 mark in Todd Ritchie. Senior infielder Jake Barrios, who hit .297 and scored 12 runs in 2013, believes the team is improved.
"Experience is a big thing in baseball," Barrios said. "We have a lot of depth, like coach said, on the mound and you know, the hitters."
In addition to eight returning pitchers, the lineup bolsters eight returning starters. Add in Heath Herrington, who redshirted in 2013 after leading the Cisco Wranglers to their first NJCAA World Series berth, and Tech has plenty of experience. The roster is also bolstered by a number of JUCO transfers plus Adam Kirsch, an outfielder from Florida International.
The Red Raiders finished eighth, just ahead of Texas, in the Big 12 in 2013 with a 26-30 overall record and a 9-15 conference record. The last time Tech played in a regional dates back to 2004 when the team featured Dallas Braden and Larry Hays was in charge.
Texas Tech opens the season Feb. 14 against No.7 Indiana at Rip Griffin Park.
Texas Tech dropped Friday's season opener 1-0 to No. 3 Indiana…