Texas Tech to CWS after crushing East Carolina in Game 3
LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) -- For 725 days, Texas Tech coach Tim Tadlock has thought about getting back to the College World Series.
The Red Raiders went two and out in their first trip to Omaha, Nebraska, in 2014. A return has been on their minds every day since.
"We're going to lay our head down every night," Tadlock said, "and wake up every morning trying to get back."
When Tadlock and the Red Raiders wake up Monday, they'll be able to plan for another trip.
Erikson Lanning struck out a career-high six, Eric Gutierrez drove in three runs and Texas Tech advanced to the CWS for the second time in three seasons, beating East Carolina 11-0 on Sunday in Game 3 of the super regionals.
The Red Raiders (47-18) won two straight games after losing the opener to the Pirates on Friday. Texas Tech posted three three-run innings Sunday after edging ECU (38-23-1) in 13 innings Saturday.
It was the first time in two years and only the 30th time since 1999 that a team came back to win a super regional after being down 0-1 in the series.
"This is what we do," Tadlock said. "Everybody that coaches college baseball is doing everything they can each day to try and reach Omaha and win the whole thing. But we need to realize that players win games. And you can get them here, but then they have to perform."
Lanning did just that, holding the Pirates to two hits over seven innings in the longest outing of his career. He retired 10 consecutive batters after putting runners on second and third with one out in the first inning. He also struck out the side in order in the top of the third.
Texas Tech found ways to shut down ECU's offense throughout the game and especially catcher Travis Watkins. He accounted for driving in seven of ECU's nine runs over the first two games but went 0 for 3 with a walk on Sunday.
The Red Raiders turned its seventh double play of the series in the second inning while ECU never got another runner on base until the sixth.
"I didn't really do it alone," Lanning said. "That's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be able to go out there and even participate in that game. I was definitely excited, but if he would have told me that I wasn't, I would have complete confidence in whoever was going out there at the same time."
Gutierrez picked up where he left off after his go-ahead, two-run single in the 13th inning of Game 2. He drove in two runs to make it 3-0 in the first and added another in the seventh to make it 7-0.
Hunter Hargrove finished the day 3 for 5 showing while tacking on four more runs for the Red Raiders.
East Carolina immediately dipped into its bullpen in the first inning after Gutierrez's two-run single on starter Jacob Wolfe's 28th pitch. The Pirates switched pitchers three times in the first four innings while the Red Raiders built a 6-0 lead.
The Pirates used 10 pitchers in the final two games and were held without a run over the final 16 innings of the series.
"(Texas Tech) had the momentum going into today," ECU coach Cliff Godwin said. "It just carried over and we weren't able to do anything against their pitcher, and they did a really good job offensively."
ECU is 1-11 all-time in the super regionals and has the most tournament appearances (27) without reaching the College World Series.