On Monday afternoon, June 10, Bulldog baseball fans rejoiced as the Diamond Dogs defeated Virginia 6-5 to reach the College World Series for the first time since 2007.
Photo by Courtesy Mississippi State Athletics
Mississippi State University sports fans have gotten bad news, but also some excellent news this past week. First, the bad news: On Friday, June 7, the NCCA hit the MSU football team with penalties for recruiting violations.
Then, on Monday afternoon, June 10, Bulldog baseball fans rejoiced as the Diamond Dogs defeated Virginia 6-5 to reach the College World Series for the first time since 2007.
MSU is the second Mississippi team to reach the College World Series this year. The Millsaps College Majors reached the Division III College World Series in late May.
Mississippi State rolled through the Starkville Regional after hitting a slight bump, and finished with a 3-1 regional record. The Bulldogs' next test would be as against the sixth national seed, Virginia, in the Super Regional in Charlottesville, Va.
MSU pounded out 20 hits to defeat Virginia 11-6 in the Super Regional opening-round game Saturday. That put the Bulldogs in the lead in the best-of-three series for Sunday's game, where the score was 5-3 in the team's favor in the bottom of the seventh inning. Rain delayed the game until Monday.
Virginia jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning before MSU tied in the bottom of the second. Mississippi State took the lead in the bottom of the third when Wes Rea hit a two-run home run. The team stayed ahead for the rest of the game.
Rea's home run was MSU'S first in the postseason, and it fulfilled his bold tweet this past fall: "1,000th tweet goes out to this chase for Omaha we're working towards. I'm just gonna go ahead and say it, book your rooms for June 15-27!"
Teammate Adam Frazier put on a hitting clinic during the Charlottesville Regional, going eight for 11 at the plate. Frazier now has 102 hits and is second only to Brian Wiese, whose 103 hits is MSU's single-season record. Frazier is tied with Tommy Raffo for second place. Wiese and Raffo both played on MSU's 1997 and 1998 College World Series teams.
In Charlottesville, the Bulldogs added two more runs in the bottom of the fourth Monday to stretch their lead to 5-1. Then, Virginia scored twice in the bottom of the sixth inning to make it a tighter 5-3 game. After the rain delay, MSU added a much-needed "insurance" run in the bottom of the seventh.
Virginia added two runs in the top of the ninth, where it seemed the Bulldogs might implode with errors. Nonetheless, Mississippi State held on to win 6-5 and sweep Virginia--a team that had previously lost just three times in 38 home games before the Bulldogs came to town this week.
Mississippi State heads to Omaha to face Oregon State in the first game of the 2013 College World Series on Saturday at 2 p.m. This is the first meeting between the Beavers and the Bulldogs on the baseball diamond.
The game marks the ninth College World Series appearance for Mississippi State. So far, the highest the Bulldogs have finished is third place.
Oregon State won two straight games against Kansas State after dropping game one of that best-of-three series. The game against MSU is Oregon State's first appearance in the College World Series since 2007 when the Beavers won their second of two back-to-back titles.
During the Super Regional, the 2013 MLB Draft snapped up seven Bulldogs. Mississippi State superstar Hunter Renfroe led the way when the San Diego Padres drafted him as its 13th pick.
Other Bulldogs drafted: The Pittsburg Pirates picked Adam Frazier with the 179th pick; the Toronto Bluejays grabbed Kendall Graveman with the 235th pick and Chad Girodo with the 265th pick; the Cincinnati Reds grabbed Evan Mitchell with the 405th pick; the Detroit Tigers took Daryl Norris with the 666th pick; and Luis Pollorena went to the Texas Rangers with the 700th pick.
Catch game one of the College World Series between the Oregon Beavers and the MSU Bulldogs at 2 p.m. Saturday, June 15, on ESPN 2. The loser of this game plays the loser of the Indiana/Louisville matchup at 2 p.m. Monday, June 17. The winner will face either the Hoosiers or the Cardinals at 7 p.m. Monday.