- Associated Press - Sunday, June 15, 2014

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - Good things usually happen for Texas Tech when closer Jonny Drozd takes the ball.

But the Red Raiders ran up against the nation’s hottest team in close games, and not even Drozd could stop Big 12 rival TCU on Sunday.

The previously unbeaten Drozd gave up Boomer White’s go-ahead single in the eighth inning, and the Red Raiders lost 3-2 in their first appearance at the College World Series.

Drozd had entered the game with a 2-1 lead after starter Chris Sadberry limited the Horned Frogs to three hits in seven innings.

“Of course, now we can go hindsight and go, ‘Why didn’t we leave him in, right?’ Had to listen to the dumb manager,” Tech coach Tim Tadlock said. “But we had decided really before we scored the runs, very rarely do these guys go past 100 pitches. He’s right at 100.”

Texas Tech (45-20) will play Mississippi, a 2-1 loser to Virginia on Sunday night, in an elimination game Tuesday. TCU (48-16), the No. 7 national seed, will play Virginia.

“It’s a tough, tough way to lose your first game up here,” Tadlock said. “At the same time, we won’t look back, and we’ll get ready to go on Tuesday.”

Big 12 pitcher of the year Preston Morrison made TCU’s 1-0 lead hold up until the eighth inning, striking out a career-high 10 and allowing five singles. TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle called on closer Riley Ferrell (3-1) after Morrison gave up a sharply hit single to Stephen Smith. Anthony Lyons followed with a pinch-hit single, and then Tyler Neslony tripled to the right-field wall for a 2-1 Tech lead.

“I knew once we got a couple runs… I mean, we have the utmost confidence ever in Jonny,” Neslony said. “So it gave us a little momentum, but that’s about it.”

Drozd (7-1) came on and immediately gave up a single to Keaton Jones. Jones scored from second when second baseman Alec Humphreys, who had just entered the game, overthrew first after stopping Cody Jones’ grounder up the middle. Jones went to second on the play and came home on White’s two-out base hit to left.

“I knew if I could get it out of the infield, Cody was going to score,” White said. “He threw it up there, and I stayed on it just enough to get a good piece of it.”

The Red Raiders threatened in the ninth on Tim Proudfoot’s infield single and an error that allowed Hunter Redman to reach with two out. The game ended when pinch-hitter Todd Ritchie grounded out.

TCU beat Texas Tech for the third time in five meetings this season and improved to 9-4 in one-run games. Six of them have come since May 30.

The Frogs opened regionals with a 2-1, 11-inning win over Siena and then needed 22 innings to beat Sam Houston State 3-2. All three of their super-regional games against Pepperdine were decided by a single run.

TCU scored on White’s sacrifice fly in the first inning against the Red Raiders, and then the duel was on between Morrison and Sadberry. Sadberry gave up three hits, walked two and struck out five before giving way to Drodz.

The Frogs came in with the nation’s best ERA (2.19), and their bullpen came into the game having allowed two runs in 28 1-3 innings.

Schlossnagle was asked if he believed prevailing in all these close games means his team could be one of destiny.

“That’s hard to say,” he said. “Teams with really good starting pitching and a good closer can win baseball games. If that’s destiny, I’ll take it. If you get hot and you play the best, then you can be the national champion.”

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