BILOXI – Timely hitting, along with a solid outing on the mound by graduate starting pitcher Carlisle Koestler and the bullpen helped the Mississippi State baseball program to a midweek, two-game sweep of No. 4 Texas Tech in front of 6,029 fans at MGM Park.
Junior Josh Hatcher delivered the go-ahead RBI double in the seventh inning to help State hand Tech back-to-back losses for the first time in 37 games, dating back to the 2019 season. Texas Tech entered the weekend leading the NCAA in hits and runs scored, averaging 12 hits per game, and Mississippi State held them to eight hits total in the two games.
"It's huge for us," said MSU coach Chris Lemonis. "[It's] momentum, and the way we played and the way we pitched, I was really proud of our arms. That's one of the better offenses in the country, and we played two really clean games in an unbelievable environment...For some people, these are the only Mississippi State games they'll see because they live on the coast, and for us to come out here and play really well in a great environment was a lot of fun."
Mississippi State (12-4) took the early lead with a run in the third, before Texas Tech (16-3) tied the game at one in the fifth. Two runs in the seventh gave the Diamond Dogs the lead for good, but the Red Raiders would cut the advantage to just one with a run in the eighth.
For the second straight night, graduate Spencer Price was called upon to close the door on the Red Raiders. Price struck out one in a perfect ninth inning to collect his second save of the season and 16th of his career to move him into a tie for No. 7 on the career charts. Price has equaled Bryan Hardwich (16; 1979-80, 82) and former teammate Cole Gordon (16; 2016-19).
Koestler worked five innings and allowed one run on four hits in the no decision. After allowing four base runners in the first six hitter, the right-hander sat down 12 of the next 15 to hold Tech at bay. Senior Riley Self (1-0) didn't allow a base runner in two scoreless innings of work to earn the win, before junior Jaxen Forrester allowed one run on one hit and one walk. Both Self and Forrester struck out two batters.
Junior Rowdey Jordan and freshman Logan Tanner each reached base three times in the game, with Jordan scoring two of the three runs. Jordan doubled, singled and walked in the game, while Tanner had a pair of walks and one single.
Hatcher drove two runs and scored the eventual game winning run on Luke Hancock's RBI double with two outs in the seventh inning. Hancock also had two hits in the game.
"We've always been a little bit of a momentum offense," Lemonis said. "As we get going and getting some of those two-out hits, that is huge [momentum for us]. I thought one of the biggest plays was Rowdey stealing the bag [in the seventh inning]. We're doing a little bit of everything right now."
Jakob Brustoski (1-1) took the loss with two runs allowed in two-thirds of an inning of work. Starting pitcher Hunter Dobbins worked six innings and allowed one run on seven hits. Dobbins walked one and struck out five in the no decision.
Mississippi State will host Arkansas in a three-game series beginning on Friday night at 6:30 p.m. at Dudy Noble Field.
Following guidelines from the Southeastern Conference, Mississippi State Athletics announced Wednesday evening that beginning Thursday and proceeding through at least March 30, attendance at all MSU Athletic events will be limited to student-athletes, coaches, event staff, essential team and conference staff, credentialed media, and immediate family members of the participating student-athletes and coaches.
MSU Athletics will continue to monitor and evaluate the COVID-19 situation with University leadership, the SEC and NCAA. Taking all precautions to protect our student-athletes, coaches, staff, fans and community remains our top priority.