This week, the Texas Tech baseball team was swept on the road by No. 10 Mississippi State for the Red Raiders’ first losing streak of the year.
Texas Tech baseball head coach Tim Tadlock often puts his team through the type of schedule that only a glutton for punishment would consider worthwhile. This week, that trend continued and it resulted in the season’s first losing streak as the No. 2 Red Raiders were swept by No. 10 Mississippi State in Biloxi, Mississippi.
Tech fell in the opener Tuesday night 6-3 before losing Wednesday’s contest 3-2. Those defeats dropped the Red Raiders to 16-3 on the season and snapped the team’s 12-game winning streak.
Tech came into the week as arguably the best offensive team in the country but managed only five combined runs and eight total hits in the two games while failing to hit a home run. It was a reminder that this year’s rebuilt team, one that is relying on a slew of newcomers and young players, isn’t just going to mow through the elite teams in the nation the way it has felt destined to at times early in the season.
Tuesday night, Tech jumped out to a 1-0 lead thanks to some small ball. Max Marusak singled and then stole second before scoring on a throwing error in the top of the third.
But in the bottom of the fifth, the Bulldogs plated three runs by using small ball themselves. Scoring on an infield single, a bases-loaded walk, and a sacrifice fly, MSU manufactured offense in a very uncommon way for a college baseball team.
In the sixth, Tech got a run back when Jace Jung walked with the bases loaded to drive home Dru Baker. But, in the bottom of the inning, MSU would add two more runs on a single and a double and in the seventh, they picked up an insurance run to extend their lead to 6-2.
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Tech attempted to rally in the 8th when Cole Stillwell picked up an RBI single but that would be all the Red Raiders would muster on the evening. Starting pitcher Mason Montgomery picked up the loss, dropping to 3-1 on the season, after tossing four innings and allowing three runs on four hits while striking out four.
Wednesday, another low-scoring affair went the way of the Bulldogs. In the 3-2 loss, the Red Raiders left six runners on base failing to capitalize on a fantastic start by Hunter Dobbins.
The sophomore from Bryan, Texas gave his team six innings of one-run ball while striking out five and walking just one. But in the seventh, reliever Jacob Brustoski was touched for a pair of runs in what was his first shaky outing of what has been an excellent start to the season.
Giving up a two-out RBI double, Brustoski was on the mound when the Bulldogs took the lead and was charged with the third MSU run when Ryan Sublettd allowed an inherited runner to score on the second MSU double of the inning.
Tech picked up a run in the fifth as shortstop Cal Conley drove home Parker Kelly with a double to right and another run in the eighth when Conley scored on a Stillwell single. But that was not enough offense to author another late-inning comeback as this team has already shown the propensity for this year.
It was a much different outcome than the last time Tech faced a top 25 team in hostile territory. On the final day of February and the first day of March, Tech swept No. 15 Florida State in Tallahassee as Tadlock continues to put his team through a gauntlet intended to fortify it for the rigors of Big 12 play.
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Conference action was supposed to begin this weekend in Lubbock with a visit from West Virginia but given the wave of cancellations and suspensions due to the Coronavirus outbreak, that series seems to be in doubt though no official word has been released by Texas Tech or the Big 12. Still, it seems like the sweep in Mississippi might be what Texas Tech fans have to chew on for a while given the uncertainty that exists in our world these days.