The No. 3 Red Raiders will attempt to earn their first and only win of opening weekend on Feb. 22 at 11 a.m. when they match up against the No.7 Mississippi State Bulldogs for Tech’s final game of the 2021 State Farm College Baseball Showdown.
After dropping two straight games to the No. 8 Arkansas Razorbacks on Feb. 20 and the No.6 Ole Miss Rebels on Feb. 21, the Red Raiders will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing start to a season with high expectations.
The first loss of the season came in the form of a 13-9 loss to the Arkansas Razorbacks. Hopes were high for the Red Raiders after leading 5-1 to close the fifth inning, but they would go on to be outscored 12-4 before the game was over.
It didn't take long for the Razorbacks to start their comeback, as relief pitcher Ryan Sublette gave up 4 runs in the sixth to tie the game only an inning after Tech took it’s lead.
“A lot of crazy things usually happen on opening day,” head baseball coach Tim Tadlock said postgame. “I'm really proud of the guys’ effort, they did everything they could to play nine innings and obviously there's some fundamental things you’d like to have back, but a sloppy baseball game really.”
The Red Raiders’ attempt to even their record fell short when they took the field against No.6 Ole Miss the next day, as they would lose by a score of 5-4 to the Rebels.
Tech had a chance to win the game against the Rebels in the ninth inning, when they had the bases loaded with two outs and junior Easton Murrell up to bat. Murrell would battle to a full count, but would hit a fly ball out to right field for an easy out and an end to the game.
Tadlock has rarely experienced such failure in his opening weekends, moving to 7-3 at Tech on opening day after the loss to Arkansas and 27-6 on opening weekends after the loss to Ole Miss.
“Just happened to be that we came up on the wrong side of two games,” Tadlock said after the loss on Sunday. “We get a lot of feedback from these types of games, and I think these games are going to serve us well hopefully moving forward.”
Looking to get his team back in the win column, Tadlock will start LHP Mason Montgomery on the mound Monday against Mississippi State in hopes to earn the team’s first win of the season.
Montgomery led all pitchers in wins last season for Tech, earning three wins in four starts before the 2020 season was cancelled due to the breakout of COVID-19.
The only nationally ranked team Mason Montgomery faced off against in his four starts last season was against the same opponent he’s set to start against Monday, the Mississippi State Bulldogs. Montgomery allowed three runs on four hits in a four inning start that would lead to the No.13 Bulldogs upsetting the No.2 Red Raiders by a 3-2 score.
The loss Montgomery suffered against Mississippi State last season was the last start Montgomery would make before the unexpected end to the 2020 season. Leading up to that game, Montgomery had won each of his starts, going 3-0 with a 1.93 ERA against three unranked opponents.
Montgomery and the Red Raiders will look to get back on track Monday morning at 11 a.m. when they play No.7 Mississippi State in their last game of the 2021 State Farm College Baseball Showdown and attempt to earn their first win of the season.