The Texas Longhorns started their NCAA baseball College World Series opener with a 2-1 loss to Mississippi State on Sunday night in Omaha. Here are my five thoughts from the game as the Longhorns will play in an elimination game on Tuesday afternoon.
1. A Pitching Duel
Ty Madden took the mound for Texas while Mississippi State had Will Bednar. Both guys were phenomenal on Sunday night and did more than enough to help put their team in a great position to win the game. If you enjoyed a pitching matchup, this was a game any baseball fan could enjoy.
2. Ice Cold Bats
Back in February when these two teams met up, Texas could not hit the ball against the Bulldogs, and it was just about the same story on Sunday. The Longhorns struck out 21 times and had just one hit going into the seventh inning. Mississippi State pitcher Will Bednar struck out 16 batters while reliver Landon Sims came in and struck out six more to close out the game. Texas really had no answer for either pitcher but did manage to make things interesting late with the tying run on third and the winning run on first in the bottom of the ninth. If not for Mike Antico’s solo shot, the Horns would have gone scoreless.
3. Ty Madden Was Still Great
Say what you want about the Longhorns but starting pitcher Ty Madden was excellent for the Longhorns. Madden went seven innings and struck out ten batters while allowing two runs. He has been great for Texas all season and it would be a shame for this to be his last outing on the season. He just needed a little help from the Texas bats but just never got it.
4. The Home Plate Umpire
I understand Texas couldn’t hit a darn thing and struck out too many times to count but my goodness, it was tough to watch at times. His strike zone was all over the place and I thought he was shaky for both sides. I get it, human error, and all but some of the strike calls I witnessed in this game were laughable. If there is anything Mississippi State and Texas fans could agree on, it would be that the home plate ump was off tonight.
5. What’s Next?
It’s win or go home for Texas. The last time the Longhorns made it to Omaha (2018), they lost their first two games and were sent home. This team faces that same fate on Tuesday afternoon against Tennessee. I thought this team could make some noise in Omaha, but they will have to pick themselves up and get ready to play a gritty Tennessee team and find a way to survive.