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Carlos Silva Jr. | Lubbock Avalanche-Journal | June 21, 2019

Texas Tech's Klein changes bats, finds offense in Omaha for College World Series

Red Raiders need 'rally gorilla' power to rise in Omaha

OMAHA, Neb. — Even in baseball, where routine is almost an edict, sometimes it's good to change things up a bit.

Brian Klein is a prime example as he's enjoyed a breakout performance during Texas Tech's run through the College World Series.

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In three games, the junior second baseman has been a power hitter and much more as he's recorded two home runs in his last three games and maintained a .384 batting average to go along with three RBI.

And while his teammates have admitted it's been a joy to watch Klein enjoy a bit of success at the plate, Cameron Warren disclosed it did not come on a whim.

"He told us he was going to hit a few (home runs) in the College World Series," Warren said, cracking a smile. "We were like, 'Oh, c'mon Brian. You've only got one all year.

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"But now he's got two, so that's awesome because he's such a great hitter. He's flown out to the warning track more than any kid I've known."

Klein's willingness to switch his game day bat is the reason he feels his power surge has come to fruition.

"He's switched bats, and I don't know if he's told anybody," Warren said. "He's using Grant Little's bat from last year. So, maybe Grant left a few home runs in there."

Whatever was left has been good for Klein and the Red Raiders who were able to win their second straight elimination game, downing Florida State 4-1 on Wednesday, to advance to the national semifinals.

"I guess so" Klein said when asked about using a new bat -- not disclosing if it was the one used by Little -- who currently plays with the Fort Wayne Tin Caps, a Class A affiliate of the San Diego Padres. "I just felt like I was so close (hitting home runs) earlier in the year a couple of a times. So, I just told myself I'm going to mix it up a little bit. It can't hurt.

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"So, I switched it up going into the (Lubbock) Super Regional when I made the switch just for fun. And the bat feels good. I'm just thankful I've been able to put good at bats together."

The key has been using a bat which is more end heavy, and a two-piece, according to Klein who used a more balanced one before making the adjustment.

"I feel like I have a little better whiff through the zone," Klein said. "I just feel real good right now."

Texas Tech downs Florida State 4-1

A big change from having one home run credited to his stat line before heading to TD Ameritrade Park -- labeled as a difficult place to hit home runs.

As for his squad, the Red Raiders are in rarified air after defeating Florida State and sending legendary head coach Mike Martin into retirement.

The Texas Tech baseball program, which had not earned a berth to college baseball's biggest stage before the hiring of Tim Tadlock as head coach, advanced to it fourth game in the CWS for the first time.

Klein was a big reason as he hit a lead-off home run in the sixth inning to give the Red Raiders a 2-1 advantage before the offense tacked on two more insurance runs in the eighth to ensure the Seminoles could not muster a late-game comeback.

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"He's got good pitches to hit and he's smoked them," Texas Tech junior Josh Jung said of Klein's two home runs in the CWS. "That gave us the lead and it just got us on a roll, gave the pitchers confidence and we never looked back."

This article is written by Carlos Silva Jr. A-J Media from Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, Texas and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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Division I
College World Series
June 13-23/24, 2020
TD Ameritrade Park | Omaha, NE

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