Sunday Monday blacks still had some magic left in them as the Diamond Dawgs used some hot bats and timely hitting to finish off the State Farm College Baseball Showdown with an 11-5 victory over #3 Texas Tech picking up against the Red Raiders right where they left off in Biloxi, MS before the 2020 season came to a halt. In a back-and-forth affair that never felt comfortable for either side, the Bulldogs used a big 9th inning to seal the victory and take a 2-1 record back to Dudy Noble Field and confirm the words of the immortal Jake Mangum, “We don’t lose in Sunday blacks.”
With starter Will Bednar still suffering from what is being called “neck stiffness”, the starting nod went to highly touted righty Jackson Fristoe. The 6’4 freshman from Paducah, KY did not disappoint in his first outing in the M over S, pitching 3 innings of no-hit baseball with 4 K’s, 3 BB, and 2 HBP.
The 1st inning was quiet for both squads, but the Diamond Dawgs changed that in the top of the 2nd on a walk to DH Luke Hancock, followed by a single from 2nd baseman Scotty Dubrule. Then, with 2 outs, left-fielder Brad “Mule” Cumbest shot a single up the middle to plate Hancock and give the Bulldogs the lead. The Bulldogs remained on top until the bottom of the 4th when Fristoe was replaced by freshman Cameron Tullar, and the Red Raiders greeted him with a leadoff base hit from 2nd baseman Jace Jung. Tullar retired the next 2 batters, but with 2 outs, Red Raider catcher Braxton Fulford doubled to plate Jung and even up the contest at 1. The Bulldogs wasted no time getting back on top in the top of the 5th when a walk and an error put runners on 2nd and 3rd. Center-fielder Rowdey Jordan then continued his hot streak by lacing a single through the right side to plate both runners and give the Dawgs a 3-1 lead. The lead was short lived though, as the Red Raider took the lead in the bottom of the 5th due to some struggles with Bulldog pitching. The inning consisted of 3 BB, 2 hits, and a HBP to plate 3 runs and retake the lead. Red Raider left-fielder Dru Baker plated the first run with a single, a bases loaded walk plated the second run, and a base hit from DH Cole Stillwell plated the final run of the inning to give Tech a 4-3 lead. At this point in the contest, it became apparent that no lead was safe. In the top of the 6th, the Bulldogs climbed back top thanks to a 1 out walk to 1st baseman Josh Hatcher, followed by a 2 run bomb from DH Luke Hancock, his 2nd on the weekend, to put the Diamond Dawgs back on top 5-4. In the bottom of the frame, the Red Raiders tied it up against 7th year Bulldog senior Carlisle Koestler who walked the leadoff man, who then advanced to third on an infield hit and scored on a fielder’s choice to even the contest at 5-5. The Bulldogs took the lead for good in the top of the 8th when catcher Logan Tanner singled, then advanced to second on a wild pitch. He was then moved to third on a Luke Hancock groundout and scored on an infield hit by Scotty Dubrule to give the Dawgs a 6-5 lead. In the top of the 9th, the Bulldogs plated 5 insurance runs. Pinch hitter Drew McGowan drew a leadoff walk and was scored on a triple from Rowdey Jordan. Shortstop Kamren James then plated Jordan with a single. Right-fielder Tanner Allen then followed with a walk. James and Allen both scored when Josh Hatcher shot a single back up the middle. The final run in the inning came when Luke Hancock scored Hatcher on a base hit to give the Bulldogs an 11-5 lead. That score would hold as Spencer Price came to the mound in the bottom of the 9th to strike out 3 Tech batters and end the Bulldogs’ stay in Texas with a 2-1 record.
The Diamond Dawgs benefitted from 3 RBI games from both Rowdey Jordan and Luke Hancock, who were both also responsible for 2 home runs each in the tournament. Josh Hatcher, Scotty Dubrule, Kamren James, and Brad Cumbest were all responsible an RBI each in the contest.
Freshman starter Jackson Fristoe pitched 3 scoreless innings but took the no-decision. The win went to Koestler (1-0) who went 2.2 innings, gave up 1 run, and registered 6 K’s. The Diamond Dawgs also got help on the mound from Cam Tullar, and KC Hunt, along with Spencer Price.
After the game, Josh Hatcher and Luke Hancock both attributed the Bulldogs’ gritty performance on the weekend to Coach Chris Lemonis and the tough, Bulldog mentality he instills into his squad. The Bulldogs went 2-1 against 3 top 10 teams with 2/3 of their starting rotation unavailable, and according to Coach Lemonis, 5 of their best arms unavailable total.
The Bulldogs now get to return to the friendly confines of the “Carnegie Hall of College Baseball” for a midweek showdown with Jackson State on Wednesday 2/23 at 4 PM CT before welcoming the Green Wave of Tulane to Dudy Noble Field in what should be an entertaining weekend series.
Recap and Box Score can be Found Here