By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE (June 16, 2016) — Tyler Floyd knows everything he is doing with his Texas Tech teammates, he is doing for the last time.
But if it has to be the last, at least he’s made sure it’s the best.
Floyd and Texas Tech overcame an early 1-0 deficit in a Super Regional series in Lubbock last weekend, rallying to defeat East Carolina in extra innings in game two and in a rout in game three, earning the Red Raiders their second trip to the College World Series in three years.
It’s also their second trip in program history, and Floyd, a 2012 Stephenville High School graduate, has been part of both.
As a sophomore, Floyd knew he wouldn’t be a big part of many game plans in Omaha. As a senior, though, he’s front and center as starting catcher and a solid bat that’s part of one of the best lineups in college baseball.
“It’s a different perspective for sure. Last time, going in, I knew I wouldn’t get a start, but that I might get a few innings,” Floyd explained. “This time, I’ll be in there the whole time. It’s a bigger responsibility, which I’m excited for. Being the last time I’ll probably ever play, I’m just taking it all in, soaking it up and trying to make more memories that I know will last the rest of my life.”
More responsibility is nothing Floyd has ever shied away from, on or off the field. Having already earned a bachelor’s degree in store management and currently working on a master’s degree in personal financial planning, Floyd was named the Big 12 Scholar Athlete of the Year just last week before the Super Regional.
“It’s a good honor, but I just try to take care of my business every day whether that be baseball, school, both or whatever it is. Along the way, some awards have come with that,” Floyd explained. “Others make a bigger deal about it than I do, especially my dad, I know he’s super proud. I get to do things like this interview and bring attention to Tech, Stephenville and all of my friends and teammates, and that’s a positive. But other than that, I appreciate the words, but I’m just trying to take everything one day at a time.”
That’s the only way to take things in the college baseball playoffs. Last week was the perfect example.
“It was a roller coaster of a week. Game one, (East Carolina) came out and punched us in the mouth a little bit with our ace on the mound, so that was a wakeup call,” he said. “Game two was a roller coaster in itself. We had so many chances to win in the first nine innings, then they probably should have beat us in the 11th when they had the bases loaded with one out, but we got two big strikeouts to steal the momentum. Game three, we put up a 3-spot in the first inning and our coaches kept telling us to take it to them the rest of the game and we did.”
He’ll be taking it a day at a time behind the plate at the College World Series, too.
“We’ve got our two stud pitchers up first, but we’re going to have to have guys step up big time as far as our third and fourth starters,” Floyd said. “We have the lineup to carry us, and we’re going to give it all we’ve got. It’s a crapshoot in Omaha, that’s for sure.”
Whenever the end comes, and whether or not Floyd and teammates hoist a national championship trophy in Omaha, he says his college career has been all he’s dreamed of and then some.
“It’s something I never would have expected. I always had goals to go play Division I somewhere, but I never imagined anything like this,” Floyd said. “Honestly, it all goes back to (former Stephenville head coach James Boxley) believing in me and telling me I had the chance to be really good.”
He was really good as a senior at Stephenville, and so were the Yellow Jackets, reaching the regional quarterfinals for the first time in what is now Class 5A.
“That year was so fun with all the other seniors like Brian Picha and Trent Morrison. That was probably still the most fun I’ve ever had during a baseball season,” Floyd recalls. “I’ve had great years and made great friends here at Tech, but looking back, that last season of high school was probably the most fun.”
Boxley wasn’t the only person who believed Tyler had a future behind the plate. Parents Dr. Daryl Floyd, former superintendent of Stephenville ISD, and Dr. Cheryl Floyd, superintendent of Huckabay ISD, have been there every step of the way.
“I have the best parents in the world, who have always supported me in whatever, school, baseball, anything. They were driving me to Dallas three times a week in high school to play summer ball. That’s how I got seen by (McLennan Community College) and by coaches here at Tech,” he explained. “Every time I go back home I love catching up with people and what’s going on in their lives and tell them about Tech and everything we have going on here.
“I feel like i grew up in the best community in the world and now I’m at the best university in the world,” Floyd continued. “I can’t imagine having it any better.”
And it all ends at the College World Series, where dreams are made and broken and many more memories made.
“This is it. It’s been kind of surreal, but it’s been a good career,” Floyd said. “I’m excited about the way it’s going to end.”