Since the program reshaped in 2013 after the head coaching transition from Dan Spencer to Tim Tadlock, Red Raider baseball has been successful on the national scale for nearly half of a decade.
In 2014, Tadlock’s second year as head coach, the program went from a 26-30 record (8th in the conference), to a 45-19 spot which rocketed them to fourth in the conference, according to Big12sports. In the same year, Tech made a historic trip to the NCAA College World Series. Winning became a regularity under Tadlock, and led by him, the Red Raider baseball program has yet to dip below fifth in the conference since he took the reins.
Since 2014, the Red Raiders have sent 45 players to the professional stage through the MLB Draft, according to baseball-reference. Most recently, Clayton Beeter (Dodgers) and Bryce Bonnin (Reds) were drafted. The duo completed the 2020 draft class for Tech. In 2019, the Red Raiders sent seven, and in 2018, they sent a program-high eleven players, led by Grant Little, who was drafted with the 74 overall pick by the Padres.
In line with the major league success of former Red Raiders, there are three standouts that will be participating in the MLB Playoffs starting on Wednesday on both the player and coaching level.
It could have been another, but former Red Raider pitcher Robert Dugger and the Marlins were short of the playoff mark.
Dugger moved to Tech in 2016 after two seasons of pitching a Cisco Junior College.
At Tech, Dugger made 30 appearances as a junior, where he went 6-1 with a 2.67 ERA, according to baseball-reference. Dugger recorded just over 60 relief innings.
After his junior season at Tech, he was drafted in the 18th round by the Mariners. He played for the Mariner’s minor league team his inaugural season as a pro. He went on to play for eight minor league teams in three years.
Dugger pitched 431.1 innings in the minor league, according to MLBPlayerIndex. He totaled a 3.84 ERA and had 26 wins and 24 losses through 91 total games, and 72 games started.
Last season, in 2019, Dugger got called up to the Miami Marlins, where he still plays.
Josh Tomlin, who was drafted in 2006 after his stint at Tech, is now an 11-year veteran in the major leagues.Tomlin was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the 19th round, and signed with the team. He was one of seven players drafted in 2006.
He will be pitching for the second year in a row for the Atlanta Braves, who boast a No. 2 seed for the playoffs.
Tomlin has been a steady hand for the Braves, having pitched 39.2 innings, which is second on his team, according to Tech Athletics. Heading into the playoffs, Tomlin has a 2-2 record to go along with a 4.76 ERA, which is higher than his career average.
Prior to the Braves, Tomlin spent the brunt of his career in Cleveland with the Indians, where his nine-year tenure saw him with 61 wins and 53 losses. He also pitched a 4.77 ERA, according to baseball-reference.
Tomlin and the Braves will welcome the Cincinnati Reds at 11 a.m. on Wednesday for their first playoff game. The match will be televised on ESPN.
Another former Red Raider, Stubby Clapp, will be taking his talents to the playoffs as a coach.
As a Red Raider, Clapp set records for triples in a season, runs in a game, strikeouts in a game and walks in a game for Tech, according to ESPN.
In 1998, Clapp played for the Arkansas Travelers, a Double-A team. He led the league with 86 walks and 139 games played, according to baseball-almanac. Clapp ,drafted in 1996 by St. Louis, did not play his first professional game until 2001 with the Cardinals. He played both second base and left field for the organization.
Now, nearly two decades later, Clapp is a coach for the same organization. Clapp and the No. 5-seeded Cardinals will play against the Padres at 4 p.m. on ESPN 2. This will be the first time Clapp has appeared in the postseason as a coach.
The third Tech graduate to appear in the playoffs is another coach, Josh Bard.
Bard, who attended Tech from 1997 to 1999, was a catcher for the Red Raiders. In fact, statistically, Bard was one of the most elite catchers in Red Raider history during his time in Lubbock.
His career earned him a Tech Hall of Fame induction in 2016.
At Tech, Bard and the Red Raiders won a Big 12 title back-to-back, according to TexasTech. They also went to NCAA Regionals all three seasons he was there, while earning Big 12 freshman of the year and All-Big 12 first team honors twice. He is one of two players in the history of Tech Athletics to be given the honor twice in his Red Raider career.
Bard was drafted in the third round of the 1999 MLB First-Year Player Draft by the Rockies. His selection was the highest a Tech pitcher had ever been drafted, according to Tech Athletics.
He played 10 seasons in the MLB before ending his career as a Dodger. Now, he serves the organization as a bullpen coach.
As part of the Dodger staff, his team is sitting atop the league with a 43-17 record heading into the playoffs, an MLB best.
He will make his playoff debut at 9 p.m. on Wednesday against the Brewers on ESPN.
As a whole, the Major League Baseball posteason will host the Wild Card Series schedule beginning on Wednesday. Due to the games being played at parks of higher-seeded teams, there will be no breaks between games, and they will all be played in succession, according to the MLB.
The league’s postseason has already caught traction, as the Astros began by defeating the twins.