When the opponent breaks a 56 year-long College World Series strikeout record, it makes them almost unbeatable. Yet, Texas nearly pulled off the impossible in a 2-1 loss to the Mississippi State Bulldogs Sunday night in Omaha.
The bats were silent throughout for both sides, leading to multiple CWS pitching records being broken. The Bulldogs’ duo of Will Bednar and Landon Sims combined for 21 strikeouts, the most ever in a nine-inning CWS game.
Both teams combined to throw 33 strikeouts through nine innings, also the most ever in CWS history.
Call it a furious fight on between two future MLB prospects on the mound at TD Ameritrade Park. Texas’ Ty Madden strutted his top 10 draft status, freezing Bulldog hitters left and right with his signature slider.
Madden allowed two earned runs and 10 strikeouts through seven innings of work. Texas’ David Pierce couldn’t have asked for a better outing.
Of course, Bednar had to spoil the night for Madden’s potential final game.
In just six innings, the Bulldogs’ ace tossed a shutout and struck out every Texas batter at least once on his way to 15 strikeouts. He also only allowed one hit and one walk while also hitting Eric Kennedy in the bottom of the fifth.
A fourth inning momentum shift boosted Mississippi State out front. Brad Cumbest tripled to right field to give the Bulldogs a 2-0 lead.
The Longhorns had been in this same position one long week ago against USF in the Austin Super Regional. This time though, the hole felt different.
Mississippi State has seen these kinds of classic Omaha battles before, as Sunday marked their third straight CWS appearance. For the exception of senior first-baseman Zach Zubia, not a single Longhorn to touch the diamond on Sunday night had any prior experience at Omaha.
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Most had little playoff experience due to the cancellation of the 2020 season thanks to COVID-19.
Mike Antico blasted a solo home run that all of a sudden brought Texas closer at 2-1. A nervous aura fell over the park, both sides realizing how quickly the game had changed for them.
Two Longhorn groundouts brought the Hail State fanbase to its feet. A stressful 12-pitch at-bat for Texas’ designated hitter Ivan Melendez kept the crowd standing for just a little bit longer.
Third baseman Cam Williams then sent a ball to center field to give the Texas runners at the corners. Three pitches later, Douglas Hodo III would ground out to seal a Mississippi State victory.
Baseball can be a cruel game though. The hopes of a Texas comeback were wiped away in an instant. Now, they fight to stay alive against No. 3 Tennessee on Tuesday at 2 p.m. EST
In what will be a battle of the “UT’s”, Tuesday’s elimination game means everything for Texas.
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