Texas Tech baseball wins home opener against Houston Baptist 5-1

Sophomore pitcher Micah Dallas throws from the mound during the Texas Tech baseball vs. Houston Baptist game on Feb. 14, 2020, at Dan Law Field in Rip Griffin Park.

Opening the 2020 baseball season, Texas Tech’s pitching duo redshirt sophomore Clayton Beeter and sophomore Micah Dallas dominated the game against Houston Baptist, helping the Red Raiders with their 5-1 win.

Beeter started the season opener at the mound for the Red Raiders for the first time in his career. Last season, Beeter was a reliever for the Red Raiders, pitching through 20.2 innings. In his time at the mound, Beeter struck out 40 batters, giving up just 12 hits and eight earned runs.

In his first game as a starting pitcher for Tech, Beeter stayed at the mound for 6.0 innings, throwing 68 pitches. Beeter received his first win of the season after striking six batters out, allowing just two hits and a run.

“It was a lot of fun,” Beeter said. “I was looking forward to this for this whole week, and the excitement was definitely building up the entire time. It was a lot of fun.”

While this was Beeter’s first time starting for Tech, this was not new to him as he started at the mound in high school. Despite starting in high school, Beeter said there is a big difference between starting and coming out of the bullpen other than the inning you head to the mound.

“It’s just, in the bullpen, you don’t have a lot of time to think about it, you just get hot and go in,” Beeter said. “Starting is a lot more mental in my opinion. Trying to hone in your focus and not really think about the noise and everything like that.”

After redshirting a year and coming out of the bullpen a season after having Tommy John surgery in December of 2017, Beeter said he knew he could be a starter for Tech. After building his stamina up and pitching through six innings, Beeter said he felt good going into the fifth and sixth innings but tried to stay warm in the cold weather.

Dallas entered the game in the seventh inning and closed the game for the Red Raiders with 3.0 innings pitched. In his time at the mound, Dallas recorded five strikeouts of his 10 batters faced. He gave up no hits, runs or walks.

“Arm feels great,” Dallas said. “It’s just exciting to be able to play out here for the fans. I just love playing the game of baseball. It felt amazing.”

As Dallas was all smiles following the game, this was his first game coming out of the bullpen since being named a starter for the Red Raiders on March 21, 2019, as Tech took on Michigan. Last season, Dallas pitched through 76.0 innings, striking 84 batters out.

“As a starter, you kind of feel like you have to, you’re going the distance,” Dallas said. “As a reliever, you can just come in there and shut it down. You kind of have this different swagger to you. Just you’re in there to shut down the game.”

Last weekend, Dallas’ arm was sore, resulting in him not pitching during practice to be on the safe side. Head coach Tim Tadlock did not want to start Dallas without the innings and pitch count from the weekend.

Opening his sophomore season at the mound, Dallas said he is a lot more comfortable with a season of experience under his belt. He said he believes the year of experience has helped him mature and gave him a better approach to the game.

Dallas and Beeter combined for 11 strikeouts, two hits, one run and one walk. The two threw 101 total pitches, matching Houston Baptist’s starting pitcher Kyle Gruller’s outing alone. Coming out of the bullpen, Dallas said his energy is effective for short outings with the emotion he brings.

“I just love the adrenaline rush from pitching. It’s something I can’t even describe,” Dallas said. “When I go out there, I put everything I have. I give it my all. If my emotion comes out, then it comes out. I think it fires up the team and some fans a little bit.”

Despite not starting, Dallas said he is not mad about coming out of the bullpen. Looking forward to the rest of the season, he said he just wants to help the Red Raiders in whatever way possible.

“When it’s said and done, it’s what the coaches put me as, and so anything that’s going to help my team win,” Dallas said regarding seeing himself as a starter or reliever. “I see me out there as a pitcher. I just love going out there to pitch.”

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