BILOXI – Mississippi State’s toughest test of the season starts tonight on the gulf coast. 

The No. 17 Bulldogs (10-4) play host to No. 3 Texas Tech (16-1) at MGM Park for a two-game series starting Tuesday night at 6 p.m. It’s a matchup of two teams who have reached the College World Series in each of the last two seasons. 

Junior lefty Houston Harding (0-0, 6.75 ERA) gets the start for Mississippi State. Sophomore lefty Mason Montgomery (3-0, 1.93 ERA) is Texas Tech’s starter. 

Mississippi State’s full batting order / starting lineup: 

  1. Junior Rowdey Jordan (CF)
  2. Junior Jordan Westburg (SS)
  3. Junior Josh Hatcher (1B)
  4. Junior Justin Foscue (2B)
  5. Freshman Kamren James (DH)
  6. Freshman Logan Tanner (C)
  7. Junior Tanner Leggett (3B)
  8. Sophomore Brad Cumbest (RF)
  9. Sophomore Brandon Pimentel (LF)

Follow along below for live inning-by-inning updates of the game. 

Top 1: Harding pitched a 1-2-3 inning with a strikeout, ground out and pop out. 

Bottom 1: Jordan struck out looking. Westburg doubled down the third base line. Hatcher grounded out to second base, moving Westburg to third base with two outs. Foscue grounded out to second to end the inning. 

Top 2: Harding sat the Red Raiders down in order again fly out, a ground out and a foul out to deep left. He only needed 25 pitches to get through the first two frames. 

Bottom 2: James struck out while Tanner and Leggett grounded out to send the Bulldogs back to the dugout in three up, three down fashion. 

Top 3: Harding got the first batter to fly out to the warning track in left. The second struck out swinging at an off-speed pitch. The third reached on an infield hit to shortstop and stole second.

Still only needing one out, Harding got a batter to ground to short again. Westburg had an errant throw on what looked to be a routine play. The runner scored from second to put Texas Tech ahead 1-0. Harding got out of the inning on a foul out. 

Bottom 3: Mississippi State went down without a fight, again. Two fly outs from Cumbest and Jordan were sandwiched around a Pimentel strike out. Montgomery only needed 32 pitches to get through three innings. 

Top 4: Harding hurled another 1-2-3 inning with two ground outs and a fly out. 

Bottom 4: The Bulldogs worked Montgomery’s pitch count up with two infield hits and a grounder into left field by James, but to no avail. Leggett struck out with the bases loaded to keep a goose egg on the board for the Bulldogs. 

Top 5: Harding recorded his third and fourth strikeouts of the night and got the third batter to fly out to right field. It marked the fourth time in five innings for Harding to go three up, three down. 

Bottom 5: Talk about a small-ball rally. 

Only two balls left the infield for Mississippi State in the inning, but the Bulldogs still scored three runs. Cumbest started the frame it with a leadoff single. Walks from Pimentel and Jordan loaded the bases and chased Montgomery from the game. 

Westburg struck out, but a Hatcher infield single got MSU on the board. A Foscue walk gave the Bulldogs a 2-1 lead, and a James sacrifice fly pushed the advantage to 3-1. Tanner flied out to end the inning with two runners still on base. 

Top 6: Harding got two of the first three batters he faced out. The other reached on an error by Hatcher. A single put runners at the corners and brought Harding’s night to a close after 76 pitches in 5 and 2/3 innings. 

Senior righty David Dunlavey replaced him, and he simply couldn’t find the strike zone. He walked the only two batters he faced. The second free pass worked a run across for Texas Tech to bring the Red Raiders within one, 3-2. Freshman righty Landon Sims replaced Dunlavey and ended the threat on a strikeout. 

Bottom 6: Landon Jordan pinch hit for Leggett and walked. He moved to second on a wild pitch. Pimentel singled him home with a hard-hit ball to right-center. Rowdey Jordan reached on a fielder’s choice, and Westburg doubled off the wall in right-center to give Mississippi State a 5-2 lead. 

Top 7: Sims stayed in, but it didn’t last long – in a good way for Mississippi State. He struck out the side. All three Red Raiders went down swinging. Sims had struck out all four batters he’d faced at that point. 

Bottom 7: Justin Foscue started the inning with a smoked double to center. He moved to third on a ground out, and Tanner took a pitch to the opposite side of the field to single Foscue home. Mississippi State stretched its lead to 6-2. 

Contact Tyler Horka at Follow @tbhorka on Twitter. To read more of Tyler’s work, subscribe to the Clarion Ledger today!