OMAHA, Neb. — Cameron Smith’s foot slipped on the pitching rubber just enough as he waited for shortstop Tim Proudfoot to get back and cover second base.
The Texas Tech left-hander double pumped.
Then he threw wide, really wide and past the outstretched glove of Proudfoot. It was the third error of the College World Series for the Red Raiders and for the third time it cost them.
With runners on the corners thanks to the miscue, Mississippi pinch-hitter John Gatlin stroked an RBI single in the bottom of the ninth as the Rebels defeated the Red Raiders 2-1 Tuesday at TD Ameritrade Park in the CWS elimination game.
“You’re talking about a couple of miscues and we only scored what, one run in a couple of games?” Texas Tech coach Tim Tadlock said. “I think I would take Cameron Smith getting a comebacker right now. I’d bet everything I had on him. He just slipped a little bit.
“We still had an opportunity. We had one of our best guys on the mound with the game on the line and got the swing we wanted ... . You know, we just didn’t give them enough.”
Despite the miscues, Zach Davis ran Texas Tech (45-21) back into the game in the top of the ninth.
With Tech trailing 1-0, Adam Kirsch hit a one-out single, and Tadlock pinch-ran for him, inserting Davis.
Davis took off for second and slid in safely as the ball went by Ole Miss catcher Will Allen.
He wasn’t done. He promptly stole third base and gave the Red Raiders the jolt they needed.
Pinch-hitter Anthony Lyons then hit a shallow fly ball that Rebels right fielder Will Jamison had to dive for and Davis sped home on the sacrifice fly and tied the game 1-1.
“As a pinch-runner you obviously want to put your team in the best situation that you can and get in scoring position and that’s what I tried to do,” Davis said.
In the seventh, an error by Bryant Burleson allowed Sikes Orvis to reach safely. Pinch-hitter Holt Perdzock slapped a single inside third base past Ryan Long’s glove as Ole Miss (47-20) took a 1-0 lead.
“Finally, we got that one (hit) with Holt off the bench and he comes through with a huge hit that just squeaks down the line,” Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco said.
Ryan Moseley and his mid-90s and heavy fastball kept getting groundballs from the Ole Miss lineup early in the game. The freshman Cooper product pitched a career-high 71/3 innings, gave up four hits, struck out six, walked three and surrendered one unearned run.
“The fastball was working and it had a lot of sink on it today,” Moseley said. “I was just throwing that thing up there and getting a lot of ground balls and trusting my defense behind me. Those guys have done wonders for me this year.
“We came up short, but that is baseball.”
His counterpart, Christian Trent, was not quite as strong, but he just kept pitching out of jams. The Rebels left-hander went eight innings, gave up six hits, a walk and struck out six.
Tech did hit him. It couldn’t execute with runners in scoring position, though, and that was a problem that plagued it in both CWS games. The Red Raiders were 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position against Ole Miss and 1 for 13 in two games in Omaha.
“The pitching was good, but honestly we have a lot of young guys that have to mature and learn how to handle those situations a little bit better,” said Kirsch, who was 2 for 4. “Me being a senior, I could see them getting a little jumpy and too aggressive at times.”
Despite the loss, Texas Tech did make its first CWS appearance, something Tadlock won’t let his returning players forget.
“It’s all we shoot for (making the CWS),” he said. “At the same time, we are all competitors. We line up and play and we want to win. So right now for me it is an unusual feeling. We did something these guys will hold forever.
“At the same time we are going to lay our head down every night and wake up every morning and try to get back.”
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