Texas Tech Baseball gains third win over Rice University, 7-6

Senior infielder Brian Klein catches the ball during the Texas Tech baseball game against Rice University on March 8, 2020, at Dan Law Field at Rip Griffin Park. The Red Raiders defeated the Owls, 7-6.

According to Kendall Rogers of D1baseball.com, senior infielder Brian Klein was offered, and intends to sign, a deal with the Washington Nationals on Thursday.

Klein is the fourth Tech product to take the next step to the MLB in the past few weeks. Clayton Beeter was the first Tech player to be taken in the MLB draft by the Dodgers, followed by Bryce Bonnin to the Reds. Shortly after, John McMillon was offered an undrafted free agent contract by the Royals.

Born in Nashville and raised in Texas, Klein has a brimming baseball background. The four-year letter winner at Timber Creek High School was integral to his team’s playoff advancement during his junior and senior seasons. As a senior, Klein batted .435 and was named district MVP, per Tech Athletics.

Coming onto the scene as a freshman for the Red Raiders, Klein started 19 games at second base and played in 27 games overall.

Over the course of 79 at-bats, Klein hit .266 with a .405 slugging percentage, according to Tech Athletics. Against No. 2-ranked TCU, he hit a three-run homerun to give his team the lead. After his performance against TCU, Klein was awarded Big 12 Freshman of the Week. The game against TCU put an emphasis on a six-game hitting streak that served to be the eight-longest on the team for the season. The streak extended from Big 12 play to postseason play.

Although Klein showed promise in his freshman campaign, he improved in almost every statistical category following his first year at Tech.

Klein’s sophomore season included a career-high number of homeruns with four, and his highest batting average, .317, aside from the shortened, 19-game 2020 season.

As a sophomore, Klein started in 49 of the 59 games he appeared in. He spent the majority of the season splitting time between designated hitter and outfielder but transferred full-time to second base for the latter 15-game stretch of the season.

Klein’s batting average ranked seventh on the team, according to Tech Athletics, and his 17 doubles on the season pushed him to third on the squad. Klein had 18 multi-hit games, including five matches with three or more. He had a few streaks during the season, including a nine-game hitting streak and an on-base streak of 11 games. He also set the single-game record for runs in a game with six against Kansas State.

Off the field, Klein earned First Team Academic All-Big 12 honors his sophomore year, as well.

As a junior, Klein played in more games than any other season at Tech. As the only player on the team to start in every game of the season, Klein filled the role with 66 starts as a second baseman.

He continued to climb the team rankings with batting average, with only four other players having higher averages than his .315 percentage. He also ranked fourth on the team with 24 multi-hit games, an improvement from the season before, according to NCAA Statistics.

Defensively, Klein compiled a .988 fielding percentage with only three errors in 249 chances. He had the third-most assists in the Big 12 with 159 and third in double plays with 45.

Klein is recognized as the only Red Raider in program history with multiple homers in Omaha. His performances in Omaha included a team-high tie with three RBI’s, five hits and three runs scored.

In the Big 12, Klein ranked second in the league with 10 doubles and ninth in the conference with 19 RBI’s. On defense, he boasted a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage. His junior year included All-Big 12 second team and Academic All-Big 12 First Team honors.

Despite the shortened 2020 baseball season due to COVID-19, Klein appeared in 19 games where he batted a career-high .391 average. He hit 27 pitches with a .580 slugging percentage in 69 at bats. Defensively, Klein had a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage with no errors in the 19 games that he appeared in.

The Red Raiders have produced a number of talents of late, including 41 draft picks since 2014, which ranks highest in not only the Big 12, but the state, according to NCAAStatistics. Klein is the latest advancement to the major leagues, as he takes his next step with the Nationals.

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