BILOXI, Miss. - The No. 17 Mississippi State baseball program got a solid start from junior Houston Harding and two dazzling relief appearances from freshman Landon Sims and graduate Spencer Price in a 6-3 victory over No. 3 Texas Tech on Tuesday (March 10) evening in front of a capacity crowd at MGM Park.
Texas Tech (16-2) opened the scoring with one unearned run in the third inning, before Mississippi State (11-4) tallied three in the fifth, two in the sixth and one in the seventh. The Red Raiders also added single runs in the sixth and eighth innings.
It was the pitching that led the way for State, as four pitchers combined to allow just three runs on just three hits and three walks against the most potent offense in college baseball's early season. A pair of errors also factored in, as two of the three TTU runs were unearned.
Harding (1-0) collected his first victory on the mound in the maroon and white with 5 2/3 innings of work and four strikeouts. He allowed two unearned runs on two hits. The left-hander didn't walk a batter and retired the side in order in four of the six innings in which he pitched.
Six of the seven outs that Sims recorded came via the strikeout, with only an eighth inning walk coming in to score on a two-out base hit. Price recorded his first save since April 20, 2017 versus Alabama with a perfect ninth inning. He fanned two of the three hitters he faced, including the final batter of the game.
Juniors Jordan Westburg and Josh Hatcher each posted two-hit nights and drove in RBIs. Westburg doubled twice and junior Justin Foscue accounted for the only other extra base hit, a leadoff double in the eighth inning. Junior Rowdey Jordan scored a pair of runs in the game.
Three Diamond Dawgs were playing close to home, as sophomores Brad Cumbest and Landon Jordan each reached base and scored a run, while freshman Logan Tanner had a base hit and one RBI in the contest.
For Texas Tech, starting pitcher Mason Montgomery (3-1) threw four innings and allowed three runs on four hits. He struck out five and walked two. At the plate, Cole Stilwell reached base twice and drove in one RBI, while Jace Jung plated a run with a bases loaded walk.
Head Coach Chris Lemonis
On the team's approach at the plate
"We had some big hits. I'm really proud of the way our guys jumped on some balls and laid off some pitches and made [Texas Tech's pitchers] work a little bit. Rowdey Jordan had a huge at-bat there in that big inning to keep [the fifth inning] going and so did Brandon Pimentel. [Brandon] has struggled a little bit lately, but he had two huge at-bats tonight that helped us win that game."
After Houston Harding retired the first two batters of the inning, Max Marusak singled and then stole second. Dru Baker then reached on a fielding error by Jordan Westburg, which allowed the run to score from second.
Texas Tech 1, Mississippi State 0
The first three batters of the inning reached base, as Brad Cumbest singled before walks were issued to Brandon Pimentel and Rowdey Jordan. After a strikeout, Josh Hatcher tied the game with an RBI infield single, Justin Foscue walked to push across the second run and Kamren James hit a sacrifice fly to make it a two-run game.
Mississippi State 3, Texas Tech 1
An error, a single and two walks pushed the second run of the game across for Texas Tech. Baker reached on an error with one out, before a flyout. A single put runners on the corner, ending the night for Harding. State relief pitcher David Dunlavey walked two batters, which forced in a run, before Landon Sims entered and got a strikeout to end the frame.
Mississippi State 3, Texas Tech 2
A leadoff walk to Landon Jordan was followed by a wild pitch and a strikeout. A Pimentel single plated the first run of the frame, before a fielder's choice put a runner on first with two outs. Westburg doubled into the right-center field gap, scoring Rowdey Jordan from first and extending the MSU lead.
Mississippi State 5, Texas Tech 2
A leadoff double by Foscue was followed by a ground out, before Logan Tanner delivered the RBI base hit. Mississippi State 6, Texas Tech 2 Top Eighth A leadoff walk came in to score on a two-out RBI single from Cole Stilwell for the only blemish on Sims' pitching line.
Mississippi State 6, Texas Tech 3
Mississippi State closes out its stay in Biloxi with a 5 p.m. first pitch against Texas Tech at MGM Park.