After all of the controversy about how many Mississippi State baseball fans would be able to attend games, and after all the talk of whether or not Ross Mitchell should have been saved until Saturday's contest against the Ragin' Cajuns, the conversation took a dramatic shift Saturday when the Bulldogs picked up a 5-2 win against the San Diego State Aztecs, and the Jackson State Tigers pulled off a stunning 1-0 victory against the No. 6 National Seed Louisiana in the first day of play in the Lafayette Regional.
In the opening contest of the Lafayette Regional, the Bulldogs fell behind 2-0 after the Aztecs (42-20) took advantage of lead off double by Brad Haynal, scoring him when Steven Pallares singled. Seby Zavala, who struck out, but advanced to first on a wild pitch, scored on a sacrifice fly by Evan Potter to put the Aztecs up 2-0.
Mississippi State (38-22) answered in their half of the inning with a two-out rally and the help of a throwing error. Alex Detz picked up a two out single, and the inning appeared that it would end with a ground ball to the shortstop, but San Diego State's Potter committed a throwing error, allowing Wes Rea to reach base and keep the inning alive. Matthew Britton managed to cut the lead in half with an RBI single to center, and after C.T. Bradford walked to load the bases, Jake Vickerson slapped a triple to right field to drive in three more runs and put Mississippi State ahead 4-2.
The Bulldogs put up the final run of the game with Detz drove in Brett Pirtle in the bottom of the fifth.
On the hill, Trevor Fitts (5-3) drew the start and went five innings, giving up three hits and allowing two runs while striking out two. Myles Gentry dominated in relief, picking up his fourth save of the year, by throwing a perfect four innings in relief.
In the night cap of the first day of the regional, Jackson State (32-23) pulled of a stunner, knocking off Louisiana 1-0.
The Ragin' Cajuns (53-8) came into the contest as the consensus No. 1 team in college baseball, but their high powered offense could not push a run across the plate.
The Tigers scored the game's lone run in the top of the fourth when Melvin Rodriguez singled up the middle to score Desmond Russell.
The Ragin' Cajuns stranded four runners in scoring position, once after having a runner on third with one out, and they saw two baserunners caught stealing after trying to swipe second.
Vincent Anthonia (4-0) went six innings to pick up the win, and Alexander Juday pitched the final three frames to pick up his fourth save.
Austin Robichaux (7-3) pitched eight innings in the losing effort.
Louisiana and San Diego State will face off in an elimination game in game three of the regional at 1 pm at Moore Field. The loser will see their season come to a close, while the winner will advance to Sunday's game five at 1pm.
With the Bulldogs now looking to play the Tigers in Saturday's winners' bracket game at 6pm, Mississippi State has a chance to save Mitchell, Jacob Lindgren and Jonathan Holder for a championship game Sunday and a birth in a super regional. The winner between the Bulldogs and Tigers advances to game six on Sunday, scheduled for 6pm, and they will have a chance to close out the regional in that game. The loser will face the winner of game three in at 1 pm Sunday.