OMAHA, Nebraska — No. 2 Texas and No. 7 Mississippi State had a pitching battle in front of 23,885 at TD Ameritrade Park that looked like something out of a Western movie. Both pitchers came out with guns a-blazing setting a College World Series record for the most combined strikeouts, with 33 — 21 by Bulldog hurlers. Texas, designated the home team, was narrowly defeated, 2-1, in a game that went to the bottom of the ninth, with the tying run at third and a potential winning run at first with two outs.
Texas (47-16) plays Tennessee (50-17) at 1 p.m. Tuesday in an elimination game at TD Ameritrade Park. Texas and Tennessee have only met twice before. The Volunteers, who lost Sunday to Virginia, 6-0, won both previous meetings with the Longhorns.
All-American Ty Madden took the loss to fall to 7-5 this season. Madden pitched seven innings, striking out 10, giving up four hits, two runs and two base-on-balls. Relieving Madden in the top of the eighth, Pete Hansen pitched two innings, striking out two and allowing just one hit.
Madden said after the game that the setback should not be viewed as the start of the end for the Longhorns' season.
"Keep believing in us," he said. "We've done it all year. We've won in multiple ways. This team's not done. I still have faith in us ... and y’all should, as well.”
Mississippi State's pitching was outstanding. Starter Will Bednar struck out 15, and gave up only one base when he hit Eric Kennedy with a pitch. Landon Sims relieved Bednar in seventh, struck out six, gave up three hits, one run, and got the save.
The game was scoreless for the first three innings. Mississippi State scored two in the fourth. Third baseman Kamren James walked, reached third on a single by first baseman Luke Hancock and scored when second baseman Scotty Dubrule flied out to center field. Left fielder Brad Cumbest tripled down right-field line, scoring Hancock and stretching the lead to 2-0.
After that, neither team scored until the bottom of the ninth when Texas' Mike Antico hit a home run to right-center to make the score 2-1 and fire up the Texas fans.
In the heart-pounding bottom of the ninth, second baseman Mitchell Daly struck out and first baseman Zach Zubia grounded out before designated hitter Ivan Melendez singled to right field putting the potential tying run on first. Third baseman Cam Williams singled to center field, sending Melendez to third to put runners on first and third, meaning a single would have tied the game, but Right fielder Douglas Hodo III grounded out to second base to end the game.
This game was a pitching battle until the last out. All four pitchers — Madden and Hansen for Texas, Bednar and Sims for Mississippi State — were all forces of nature in the game that lasted 2 hours, 45 minutes.