OMAHA, Neb. – A seven-RBI day from Jordan Westburg carried Mississippi State (39-27) to a 12-2 win over No. 6 North Carolina at at TD Ameritrade Park Tuesday afternoon. The Diamond Dawgs improved to 2-0 in the College World Series and are one win away from the National Championship.
State’s next game will be Friday at 2 p.m on ESPN. North Carolina (44-19) will face Oregon State (50-11-1) in a rematch of its opening round matchup in an elimination game on Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET. The winner will then have to play Mississippi State to see who will advance to the Finals.
The Tar Heels took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning after Kyle Datres hit a lead-off double, advanced to third on a ground out & fly out scored him to make it 1-0 after the first frame.
MSU erased the deficit quickly and took control after a four-run second inning. After a Hunter Stovall groundout, Elijah MacNamee singled. Justin Foscue then reached on a fielding error and Luke Alexander followed with a single to load the bases. After Dustin Skelton struck out, Westburg cleared the bases with a grand slam to give the Dawgs a 4-1 lead.
The score remained 4-1 through until the bottom of the seventh inning, as North Carolina starter Austin Bergner (7-3) retired 16 straight after the grand slam.
North Carolina added a run in the bottom of the seventh to make it 4-2. Ashton McGee hit a leadoff triple and scored on on a wild pitch.
The Diamond Dawgs then exploded for an eight-run eighth inning to take a huge 12-2 lead. State began the frame with a pair of singles after Skelton led off with a single and Westburg followed with a single of his own. Jordan Anderson came in to pinch run for Skelton and advanced to third on a throwing error. Jake Mangum was then intentionally walked to load the bases.
Rowdey Jordan, Tanner Allen and Stovall followed with consecutive RBI-singles. MacNamee reached on a ground ball, which led to an error and another run. Alexander forced in a run after being hit by a pitch, before Westburg ended the big inning with a three-RBI double just inside the left field line.
State finished with nine hits, with Westburg leading the way with three hits. McGee finished with two of the Tar Heel’s seven hits.
Konnor Pilkington got the start on the mound for MSU. Pilkington (3-6) pitched six-plus innings, allowing two runs, both earned, on six hits. He struck out four batters and walked two. He was lifted after a North Carolina leadoff triple in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Cole Gordon allowed one hit, while facing 10 batters, in three innings of relief work for his fourth save.
Bergner was charged with the Tar Heel loss. He pitched seven innings, allowing seven runs, three earned, on five hits. He had eight strikeouts and one walk in the game.
With a win Friday, the Diamond Dawgs will advance to the national championship series for the first time since 2013, and the second time in program history.