OMAHA, Neb. — Mississippi State forced a third and decisive game Wednesday by beating Vanderbilt 13-2 on Tuesday at TD Ameritrade Park in the finals of the College World Series.
The national champion will now be decided at 6 p.m. Wednesday.
The Bulldogs (49-18) scored four runs in the third to take a lead they never relinquished. Vandy (49-17) was held to four hits and Commodore pitching issued 10 walks.
“We haven’t played a game like that, but whether it’s 13-1 or 2-1 — if you lose 2-1 it might have more of an effect than a 13-1 game,” Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin said. “It’s embarrassing to play a 13-1 game. It’s not fun to play like that.
“But at the same time it’s a loss. And you can — a loss is a loss is a loss. They’re not worth more than the other. So all you’re left with is the next game. And everyone would sign up for that.”
After a two-hour delay at the outset, Vanderbilt starter Christian Little (3-2) got through two hitters in the first before a Jayson Gonzalez throwing error allowed Kamren Jones to reach. Luke Hancock’s single into the right-field corner scored Jones – running on the pitch – giving Mississippi State a 1-0 lead in the first for the second game in a row.
Little got out if the jam after that and his battery mate had his back.
Catcher CJ Rodriguez hit a two-out home run in the top of the second tying the game at 1-all.
In the third, Tanner Allen poked a ball to shortstop that got stuck in the webbing of Carter Young’s glove. A wild pitch moved Allen to second before James, Hancock and Logan Tanner drew consecutive walks, giving the Bulldogs the lead back at 2-1.
Patrick Reilly came on to spell Little and Scotty Dubrule banged a two-run single off Reilly’s foot to plate two more, making it 4-1. A wild pitch later in the inning plated another run for a 5-1 score.
Mississippi State loaded the bases in the fourth after three more Reilly walks. Nelson Berkwich came in for just his 10th appearance of the season and gave up a run on a fielder’s choice with one out before getting out of the inning down just 6-1.
James knocked an RBI single up the middle with two outs in the fifth upping the lead to 7-1. That was followed a Hanock RBI single to left.
Little was charged with five runs – four earned – in 2+ innings. He walked four, struck out two and gave up three hits.
“Just gotta have a short memory,” Rodriguez said. “I think we need to wash it out as fast as we can and get it done (Wednesday).”
• Vanderbilt is hitting 40-for-202 (.198) during the College World Series and 9-for-59 (.153) in two games against Mississippi State.
• Tuesday’s loss was Vandy’s worst in its College World Series history.
• The Commodores now trail the all-time series with the Bulldogs 73-54-2. The programs first met in 1913.
• Vandy has recorded 780 strikeouts this season, a new program record.
• Vanderbilt’s 81 strikeouts this CWS broke Arizona State’s record of 76 during the 1967 College World Series.
• Vandy is now 20-9 at the College World Series.
• The Dores are now 23-6 in their last 29 NCAA Tournament contests.
• Vanderbilt is one win shy of 50 for this season. Only previous times in its history have Vandy won 50 games in a season (2019, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2011, 2007).
• Vanderbilt football coach Clark Lea, men’s basketball coach Jerry Stackhouse, men’s golf coach Scott Limbaugh, swimming and diving coach Jeremy Organ, former men’s basketball standout Godfrey Dillard and former football standout Jay Cutler were among those in attendance Tuesday.
• Attendance on Tuesday was announced as 24,122.