When someone mentions State's 2013 CWS run, what comes to mind? Renfroe's catch at the wall, or his homerun/salute combo against Oregon State? Adam Frazier's record number of hits? Holder’s nail-biting saves? Girodo's heroics out of the 'pen? Those 3 girls running on the field?
What about Trey Porter? Anyone remember him? ... Well, ya should.
Let's flashback to the 8th inning of game 2 against Indiana. State was down 2-3, cooking with the familiar recipe of:
- great bullpen pitching from Girodo
- a decent amount of small-ball offense
- struggling to find a clutch hit to score runs
Pirtle and Rea led off the 8th with back-to-back hits, and Henderson's RBI single allowed Pirtle to barely beat the throw to score the tying run, providing one of the iconic images of our post-season run. Ammirati's groundout moved Hendu & Rea to 2nd & 3rd, bringing Trey Porter to bat with 2 outs.
A left-handed platoon starter early in the season, Porter started 19 of the first 40 games of 2013. But prior to the CWS game against Indiana, he'd only started 3 of the last 27, mired in a 2-15 slump.
So with MSU's post-season life on the line, Porter stepped to the plate. After 2 fastballs and 2 sliders (1 swinging strike) all missed wide, Porter was in a 3-1 hitter’s count with the hot-hitting Adam Frazier providing protection on deck. The fifth pitch to Porter was a belt-high fastball over the plate, and Trey sent it into the right-center gap, plating the go-ahead runs and giving State a 5-3 lead.
As Frazier batted afterward, State fans in Omaha could clearly be heard on TV chanting "Por-ter! (clap clap)
But the 9th inning stole the spotlight...
Up 5-4 with 2 outs and the tying run on 3rd, Holder relieved Girodo and induced the final out, which he bounce-passed to Wes Rea, 6 feet shy of first base. Rea scooped it up and saved the game, putting MSU in the driver's seat to get to the National Championship Series.
And that's what people remember - Holder's throw & Rea's scoop. But the game may have already been over without Porter, who stepped out of obscurity just one inning earlier with a clutch, 2-out, 2RBI single. Without that hit, our Omaha trip would've been a lot shorter.