No. 22 Texas Tech baseball’s sophomore Dylan Neuse was in an offensive slump for a couple of weeks but broke out of it with a standout performance in the series finale against No. 18 Baylor.
Neuse impressed at the beginning of his first season as a Red Raider. After playing in the first 27 games of the season, Neuse posted a .393 batting average to lead the team, including a grand slam in the second game against Kentucky, according to Tech Athletics.
“At the time I knew it was big,” Neuse said following the game against Kentucky. “Of course, I didn’t expect it to happen, so it was just in the moment. It was a good feeling.”
After Neuse exceeded expectations, he began to fall into a slump. In the 10 games before playing in the series finale against Baylor, Neuse only earned four hits in 34 at-bats, according to Tech Athletics. Neuse also ranked second on the team with five home runs, but the last time he sent one out of the park was on March 31 in the series finale against Kansas State.
“I’ve been in a slump a little bit but every game, every at-bat, I’m trying to get out of it,” Neuse said. “I’ve been saying, ‘I’m going to have a day,’ for a couple weeks now.”
In the final game of the series against Baylor, Neuse earned two hits. The first was a grand slam over the left-field wall to give the Red Raiders an 8-0 lead.
“I was looking for a fastball, I couldn’t look for a better pitch,” Neuse said about what he was looking for in the at-bat where he hit his grand slam. “He threw it right where I wanted to, luckily I was right there. I hit it, I hit it right on the nose. At first, I thought I hit it well enough but then I saw I was pretty low so I had to start running.”
Following his grand slam, Neuse also hit the game-winning, two-run homer in the bottom of the seventh inning to give Tech a 13-3 run-rule win against Baylor, according to Tech Athletics.
“My approach has been middle of the way to try and get out of my slump, usually that works but it wasn’t working, so I tried something I never really do,” Neuse said. “I looked middle in, and fortunately they were throwing it. I don’t know if they were missing or hitting their spots, but with my approach, everything matched up and squared some balls up.”
After the weekend series, Neuse was added to the Bobby Bragan Collegiate Slugger Award Watch List, according to a BBCSA news release. The list includes some of the top offensive players in the country.
Neuse’s roommate on the road, Braxton Fulford, also had a breakout performance at the plate after struggling recently, as he earned three hits in three at-bats against Baylor.
“With Braxton been going through what he has, that’s big,” Neuse said. “He’s my roommate when we go on the road. Me and him are just trying to get a hit for the room every day, so it was big.”
With two-consecutive wins against Baylor, Tech secured a Big 12 series win 2-1, according to Tech Athletics. The wins improved the Red Raiders’ overall record to 25-13 and conference record 8-7.
“I think these two wins were huge,” Neuse said. “You could see it in the coaches’ faces, they liked it, a big series win, we needed that, especially all the away games not really rallying lately. So, I think being home for 10 games and this series win will help us get on a roll here.”
The Red Raiders will continue their play at home with six-straight home games, starting with a midweek game against New Mexico at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 23, after coming off a three-game series against Baylor at Dan Law Field.