The Mississippi State Bulldogs (44-15) need one more win to get to the College World Series for the third consecutive time. In the first game of the Starkville Super Regional, Mississippi State took advantage of Notre Dame’s (33-12) mistakes to grab a solid 9-8 victory over the Fighting Irish.
In front of a record setting crowd, The Mississippi State baseball team responded to a 7-3 deficit by going on a run in the 5th and 6th innings.
Mississippi State found itself in a hole as the Fighting Irish’s dominant offense continued to put runs on the scoreboard.
Will Bednar, the start for the Bulldogs, only made it through three innings. During that time, Notre Dame was able to get to him, getting seven hits and scoring four runs. The Fighting Irish scored a run in the top of the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd innings.
But, the Bulldogs were able to go score-for-score with the Fighting Irish during that timeframe.
In the bottom of the 1st, Tanner Allen launched a home run over the right field wall. In the bottom of the 3rd, Kamren James got Rowdey Jordan across home plate with an RBI single. And thanks to an error by Notre Dame’s third baseman, Luke Hancock was able to get on base while Allen made it home.
As Notre Dame was able to get another run in the top of the 4th inning, the Fighting Irish and Bulldogs headed to the 5th inning, which featured a combined six runs scored between the two teams.
In the top of the 5th, Notre Dame’s offense exploded.
After a groundout, the Fighting Irish got a couple of runners on thanks to an error and a single to left field. From there, Notre Dame knocked a home run out of the park to give the Fighting Irish a 7-3 lead over the Bulldogs.
But that solid lead wouldn’t last for very long.
In the bottom of the 5th, James hit an RBI single, which got Jordan home and cut Notre Dame’s lead to 7-4. Hancock was able to get on base thanks to another error, this time by Notre Dame’s shortstop, which allowed Allen to get home again, trimming MSU’s deficit to 7-5.
Logan Tanner followed that up by grounding into a double play, but that was enough to get James home and set the score at 7-6 in Notre Dame’s favor.
In the bottom of the 6th, Jordan gave State a lead with a two-run home run which scored Kellum Clark. That homer over the center field wall put MSU on top 8-7 and gave State fans plenty to cheer about.
Notre Dame was able to tie things up in the top of the 7th, but the Bulldogs weren’t done there. In the bottom of the 7th, Tanner launched a home run of his own out past right field to give Mississippi State a 9-8 advantage over Notre Dame.
Landon Sims was then able to step in and shut things down, which delivered a game one win to the Bulldogs. In 2.0 innings, Sims threw 29 pitches and struck out three batters. Sims was credited with the save, his 10th of the season. Preston Johnson earned the win for MSU. In 2.2 innings of action, Johnson struck out a couple of batters, and only gave up one run.
Mississippi State and Notre Dame will play game two of the Super Regional Sunday at 5 p.m.