Patrick Monteverde realized his dream of playing Division I baseball this spring, and the Fox Chapel graduate said he quickly felt right at home in the red and black at Texas Tech.
“I was extremely confident when I made my decision,” said Monteverde, a former pitcher at Seton Hill who had close to three dozen Division I teams interested before he made his decision with the Red Raiders.
“I wanted to come in and do whatever I could to help this team get to Omaha.”
While Texas Tech fell just short of its goal of the College World Series — it was swept by Stanford in the Super Regional last weekend — Monteverde said he couldn’t have asked for a better opening experience.
“These fans here took me in right away,” Monteverde said. “I think it was my fourth home game, and they had Terrible Towels waving. For a team that is red and black, to see those towels waving, I think the opposing dugout was wondering what that was all about.”
Monteverde pitched twice in the NCAA Tournament.
His first experience, in the Lubbock Regional on June 5 against North Carolina, was a win, and it helped put the Red Raiders in position to advance to the Super Regional.
He worked into the sixth and scattered six hits and surrendered two earned runs while striking out seven in Texas Tech’s 7-2 victory.
In Game 2 of the Super Regional, Monteverde started and hoped to pull the Red Raiders even after a 15-3 loss in the opener of the best-of-three series.
However, Stanford built an early 3-0 lead and went on to post a 9-0 victory to advance to the College World Series.
“I tried to keep my team in it and get us to Sunday and a third game, but, unfortunately, it didn’t happen,” Monteverde said. “But it was an awesome experience, something I will be able to tell my kids about. There were so many great experiences I got to see and do this year that I hadn’t before.”
Monteverde said Stanford has a good shot at winning it all in Omaha. The Cardinals open College World Series play Saturday at 2 p.m. against N.C. State.
“If they play the way they did against us, nobody is beating them,” he said. “That was the best baseball I’ve ever seen played in my entire life. They only used three pitchers in 18 innings. It was two amazing pitching performances against a dangerous lineup in ourselves.
“With their lineup, they didn’t miss many mistake pitches. If you threw a fast ball over the inner third, that ball is getting pounded somewhere. They just executed in so many situations. I tip my cap to them for what they were able to do against us.”
Monteverde finished his first season at Texas Tech with a 7-4 record and a 3.75 ERA with 121 strikeouts and only 21 walks in 86 1/3 innings over 16 starts.
“At the start, we felt we were extremely deep on the mound,” Monteverde said. “Losing four key arms to injury this year, those guys would’ve eaten up a ton of innings, I’d say over 250 innings combined. We had other experienced guys, and some younger arms got better as the season went on. I just wanted to come in and do my part to help the team win.”
Monteverde came close to Pittsburgh in mid April as Texas Tech played a three-game series with Big 12 foe West Virginia in Morgantown.
He started Game 1 on April 16 in front of nearly 50 family and friends and had perhaps his best outing of the season. He limited the Mountaineers to two hits and three walks while striking out seven over seven innings, and the Red Raiders scored a 7-2 victory.
“There definitely was incentive in throwing in front of all those people I know,” he said. “There were a couple of my former teammates from Seton Hill there, too. It was awesome seeing them in the crowd cheering me on.”
Monteverde said a big part of his success this year was being able to make adjustments from week to week.
“By no means was I a finished product, even going into the Super Regional. There always was something I could work on, concentrating on something I didn’t do well the week before.”
Monteverde has one year of eligibility remaining under the NCAA’s covid policy that granted an extra year to college athletes affected by the cancellation of the 2020 spring season.
He also is gearing up for a run at the MLB amateur draft set for July 11-13 during the MLB All-Star Game.
Whether he comes back to Lubbock for one more year with Texas Tech or turns pro, Monteverde said he can’t go wrong.
“The last two years, I had a chance to go play pro ball, and I turned it down,” he said. “There’s talk about what round I might go in and what team might take me. It’s all a wait-and-see process. I am just happy that I have put myself in a good position, no matter what I choose to do.”