ARLINGTON, Texas (MSU Athletics) – A ninth-inning rally came up short, as pitching ruled the opening game of day two at the State Farm College Baseball Showdown inside Globe Life Field, as the No. 8 Mississippi State baseball program dropped a 3-2 decision to No. 13 TCU on Sunday (Feb. 21) afternoon.
Mississippi State out-hit TCU, 7-4, and had the bases loaded with one out in the ninth inning, before Horned Frogs’ closer Garrett Wright induced the game-ending double play ball.
TCU benefited from seven walks by the MSU pitching staff and was able to scratch across single runs in the first, sixth and seventh innings.
Rowdey Jordan provided the first run of the game for MSU, as he homered for the second straight game. It is the second time in his career that he has homered in back-to-back games, after he hit a solo home run against Texas in the season opener on Saturday. Jordan also went consecutive games with a home run on May 4-5, 2018 at Alabama.
The Diamond Dawgs got a run back in the ninth before Wright got the final two outs on the bases loaded double play. Logan Tanner got the inning started with a double and came around to score on an RBI single from Josh Hatcher. A Luke Hancock single was followed by a walk to Scotty Dubrule to load the bases, before the final two outs were recorded.
Starting pitcher Houston Harding (0-1) took the loss as he allowed one unearned run on one hit. He walked three and struck out four in 3 1/3 innings of work in his third career start at MSU. Brandon Smith made his return after missing the 2020 season due to injury and fanned two in 2 2/3 innings of work.
Head Coach Chris Lemonis
On the Bulldogs late rally against TCU
“You have to tip your cap to [TCU] starter Russell Smith. He was phenomenal. It was down-angle at 6-foot-9. We were having a hard time with it and I tip my cap to him more than I get on our guys. I thought in the seventh and eighth innings we might have got something going, and we just didn’t have great at-bats … Our guys fought at the end and we had some really good at-bats in the ninth [inning]. Drew McGowan stung that one and it was about the only [place] that he could have hit it for them to turn [the double play] on him because he runs so well.”
On Brandon Smith’s first appearances since 2019
“He pitched great. That is a veteran guy … I think with Brandon, what you are going to see – these guys coming off of Tommy John – is every time they pitch they’re a little bit better and their stuff grows. He is in that process now and he is going to a big part of our bullpen right now to help us extend some games.
A one-out walk came around to score due to a pair of MSU errors with two outs in the inning. Tommy Sacco worked a walk from Houston Harding with one out, before the left-hander got the second out via strikeout. An error extended the inning and with runners on first and second, a double steal was compounded by a throwing error from the catcher that allowed the first run of the game to score.
TCU 1, Mississippi State 0
The game was scoreless over the next 4 1/2 innings until a leadoff single from Hunter Wolf started the sixth inning and Gene Wood walked. After a wild pitch, Austin Henry grounded out to push the run across.
TCU 2, Mississippi State 0
Rowdey Jordan led off the inning with a solo home run to left-center field.
TCU 2, Mississippi State 1
TCU got the run right back thanks to a sacrifice fly from Henry with one out. Luke Boyers walked with one out and moved to third on an Elijah Nunez double, before scoring on the flyball to center field.
TCU 3, Mississippi State 1
Four straight Bulldogs reached base with one out to put MSU in prime position to tie the game, as Logan Tanner started the inning with a double . He came in to score on Josh Hatcher’s single up the middle. After a single by Luke Hancock put runners on the corners, Scotty Dubrule walked to load the bases against newly inserted reliever Garrett Wright. The right-hander then coaxed a ground ball from Drew McGowan that led to the game-ending double play.
TCU 3, Mississippi State 2
Mississippi State concludes the State Farm College Baseball Classic Arlington, Texas at 11 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 22 against No. 3 Texas Tech.