If you are a Texas Tech fan, though, you prefer to think of it as a win away from moving on as one of the six teams still in the hunt for college baseball’s ultimate prize: the national championship.
The Red Raiders (45-20) will face Mississippi (46-20) in a loser’s bracket contest on Tuesday afternoon at TD Ameritrade Park. The winner will move on in the championship, but the loser will be sent packing, narrowing down the World Series field down to six teams.
Louisville was the first team to be bounced from the field, losing to Texas in a similar situation on Monday afternoon.
Texas Tech lost it’s opening-round game to TCU, losing by one run, 3-2. Later that same day, Ole Miss fell to Virginia, also by a single run, 2-1. setting up the do-or-die showdown between the Big 12’s Red Raiders and the Rebels out of the SEC.
So far it has been a College World Series ruled by pitching. Five of the six games have been decided by two runs or less. And coach Tim Tadlock’s Red Raiders are going to have their hands full with another tough pitcher matchup against Ole Miss lefty starter Christian Trent, who has been lights out in the postseason this year and is 9-0 on the season.
Trent has given up only two runs in two quality starts (minimum of six innings pitched while giving up three runs or less) this postseason and has a 2.21 ERA in 101 innings for the 2014 campaign.
“We have all the faith in our hitters,” Tadlock said to reporters on Monday’s day off. “They probably need a little more out of me in terms of slowing things down, but then you have someone who is throwing like Morrison (of TCU) was (Sunday) and you probably need more than just your two-strike approach.”
Tadlock surprised some people when he announced late Monday that his starter for the elimination game with Ole Miss would be freshman right-hander Ryan Moseley. Most experts had anticipated that the Red Raiders would go with another freshman, Dylan Dusek, or even Cameron Smith, both left-handed hurlers.
Moseley has made only four starts this season and has a 1-2 record with a 3.32 ERA in 43 innings. Dusek is 9-0 with a 1.94 ERA and Smith is 8-2 with an ERA of 2.81. Both Dusek and Smith have had clutch performances in the regionals and super regionals that got Tech to its first College World Series.
Mosely did pitch six shutout innings against top-seed Miami in the Coral Gables (Fla.) Regional.
No explanation was given for why the choice of Mosely over Dusek. Perhaps Tadlock is hoping his offense will come through and the Red Raiders can get by the Rebels. If so, Tech would be in excellent shape with starting pitching when the challenge gets even tougher the further you advance in the bracket.
The Red Raiders are going to have to be more productive on offense against Ole Miss, however, it they hope to move on in the CWS. On Sunday vs. Big 12-rival TCU, Tech had nine hits, but left eight runners stranded in a one-run game.
“We have a tough challenge ahead of us, playing Ole Miss” Tadlock said, “and it will be a good challenge for us.”