ARLINGTON, Texas — No. 3 Texas Tech’s trip to Arlington included three intense games against some of college baseball’s best, but the Red Raiders will return to Lubbock empty-handed. They lost 11-5 to No. 7 Mississippi State Monday, finishing the State Farm College Baseball Showdown 0-3.
The two teams went back-and-forth for most of the contest, but Mississippi State added five insurance runs to a 6-5 lead in the ninth inning, and Texas Tech went down quietly in the ninth.
TTU lost its previous State Farm Showdown games to No. 8 Arkansas and No. 6 Ole Miss on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
In Monday’s game, Mississippi State was able to convert scoring opportunities just by putting the ball in play, extending innings with infield and bloop hits. Texas Tech struck out 15 times to Mississippi State’s five.
The Red Raiders were able to generate baserunners but struggled to bring them home. They reached base 10 times on walks and were hit by pitches four times, but left the bases loaded in the fifth and sixth innings, squandering key opportunities to add runs.
The starting pitchers kept the opposing offenses in check for the first few innings of the game. MSU’s Jackson Fristoe held the Red Raiders scoreless in three innings, and TTU’s Mason Montgomery allowed one run in four innings.
Once the bullpens took over, both offenses woke up. Texas Tech finally broke through in the fourth inning on a Braxton Fulford RBI double, and used a barrage of walks and singles to score three runs in the fifth.
Mississippi State touched up Texas Tech reliever Chase Hampton for four runs in two innings, bringing a 5-4 lead into the bottom of the sixth.
The Red Raider hitters worked deep counts against the Mississippi State pitching all day, and Dylan Neuse, Easton Murrell and Jace Jung walked three times each. Neuse’s third free pass of the day led off the sixth inning, and he came around to score and tie the game on a Dru Baker fielder’s choice.
Mississippi State re-took the lead in the eighth inning on a check swing, two-out, RBI infield single by Scotty Dubrule, and added five runs to it in the ninth. Two of those runs came on a Baltimore chop that was fielded by pitcher Chase Webster. No one covered first base on the play, and Texas Tech’s confusion allowed two runs to score.
The Red Raiders showed flashes of the elite team that folks around college baseball expected them to be, but could not put it together for nine innings in any of their three chances. The season is young, and the team has plenty of time to improve, but the Red Raiders failed their first three tests.