How close was it? This close (God bless your well-oiled glove, Mr. Renfroe):
Oregon State battled as hard as any team could until this final out. But Jonathan Holder's (19th save) nasty garbage could not be touched. His 28 saves in two years are just one back of tying the school record of 29 by the legendary Van Johnson.
Both Holder and Ross Mitchell (13-0), who went 2.2 innings only allowing three hits, gave the Bulldogs the much-needed defense at the right time. MSU starter Kendall Graveman went 4.2 innings giving up six hits, four runs, two earned, while striking out two and only walking one. Not the best day, but certainly not the worst.
Oregon State's freshman ace Andrew Moore held the Bulldogs at-bay for seven innings, only allowing four runs on six total hits. Pac-12 player of the year Michael Conforto finished 4-4 with an RBI double. Major props to that kid. He's good... really good.
Adam Frazier continues to do Adam Frazier things. He started the game with a leadoff double to tie Brian Wiese's 1998 single season hits record with 103. It was also his team-leading 20th double of the year. He later broke the record to stand alone in the MSU record books with 104 hits. He is one of only four players in MSU history with 100+ hits (Wiese, Tommy Raffo, and Richard Lee).
Brett Pirtle also continued his reaching base safely streak to 40 consecutive games when he was hit by a pitch (20th time which is third-most in the SEC and top 30 in the nation) in the third inning.
Today's victory was the first MSU win in Omaha since 1998, when the Bulldogs defeated Florida, 14-13. It's also MSU baseball's eighth school win in the College World Series.
Two stories highlight this game: Wes Rea's heroics and Mississippi State's unreal bullpen.
Wes Rea finished the day 2-4 with two doubles and two RBIs. His right-center field, two out double in the top of the 8th plated Alex Detz and Hunter Renfroe to put the Dawgs on top, 5-4.
MSU's bullpen continues to blow minds. They are 32-5 with 22 saves through 314 innings and an ERA just under two runs. Try finding another sets of guys in the nation with outrageous numbers like that.
The Bulldogs advance to the winners bracket to face the winner of the Louisville-Indiana game Monday at 7 p.m. State could easily see OSU again, possibly even Wednesday of next week.
The No. 3 seeded Beavers (50-11) will take on the loser of the Louisville-Indiana game in an elimination contest Monday afternoon.
Isn't this fun?
UPDATE (Saturday, June 15th at 11:32 p.m.):
MSU will face Indiana Monday at 7 p.m. Central. The Hoosiers (49-14), a team very much like State, defeated Louisville, 2-0. No word yet on who Tracy Smith will get to pitch for IU. Same goes for John Cohen but look for Trevor Fitts or possibly Luis Pollorena. Heck, who's pitching the fifth inning is typically more important than the first for MSU. REMINDER: If State wins Monday, they're off until Friday.