In may ways, Dylan Dusek has lived a life of baseball.
Texas Tech's left-handed pitcher has experienced the highs of highs -- two trips to the College World Series -- and suffered through the lows and lows -- undergoing a pair of surgeries, including Tommy John's three years ago.Through it all, though, the senior has kept an eye on the final product rather than focus on the present.
"Obviously, I thought it was going to come, but actually in some other points I thought I'd never make it here," Dusek said of his senior day moment. "Having two major surgeries, just having no idea if you're going to come back from it is kind of tough to handle. ... At one point in my career, maybe I thought I wasn't going to finish -- at least not in a baseball uniform playing for the team. But it's definitely and exciting feeling that I'll be out there on Sunday knowing I finished. Ready to move on from there."
Dusek, along with fellow seniors Michael Davis, Connor Beck, Zach Rheams and Jose Quezada, will look to end their senior home campaigns on a positive note when No. 9 Texas Tech hosts No. 24 Texas for a three-game Big 12 series inside Dan Law Field at Rip Griffin Park. The first contest is set for 6:30 p.m. Friday and it scheduled to be broadcast on FOX Sports Southwest Plus.
The Red Raiders (34-12 overall, 11-7 in the Big 12), who after a midweek, nonconference contest with Dallas Baptist on May 8 with end their season with a three-game set against Big 12 foe Oklahoma State, are set to take on two teams at the top of the conference standings.
"The way I'm looking at it, is we get to go play (Friday)," Texas Tech coach Tim Tadlock said. "We've got an opportunity to get better. Each day, if we continue to get better, throughout this process we're going to be right where we need to be -- maybe not in the Big 12 race, but as far as playing good baseball and the postseason."
The Longhorns (31-17, 12-6) come into the contest hot off an 11-10 walk-off win over Texas State on Tuesday. It marked the 13th come-from-behind victory this season.
Texas' Kody Clemens has paced the offensive by hitting at a .333 clip with 13 home runs and 50 RBIs. Zach Zubia (.304, nine home runs, 37 RBIs) has helped in that department.
On the mound, Nolan Kingham (5-2, 3.32 ERA), Chase Shugart (4-2, 4.43) and Blair Henley (5-6, 3.32) are expected to earn the starting nod for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
Texas Tech will counter with Davis Martin (6-3, 3.17) and Caleb Kilian (7-1, 1.75) on Friday and Saturday, respectively, before deciding who will take the bump on Sunday. Normal Game 3 starter John McMillon may throw some innings earlier, which is why he is not penciled in. He's anticipated to start Sunday, though, per Tadlock.
Grant Little (.391, 57 RBIs, 10 home runs) and Josh Jung (.398, 61 RBIs, nine HRs) have been the linchpins of the Red Raiders lineup, collecting hits in big moments throughout the season. Little earned his first start at shortstop Tuesday and could continue to see time in the middle of the infield.
"We didn't do it, just to do it," Tadlock said when asked about moving Little to shortstop. "Kind of wanted to look at some things. There's a little room for improvement. You want to build some margin for error in there in every game. If that does that, we'll move forward with it." ___