NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Elijah MacNamee was the hero Friday night, as his walk-off homer led MSU to a 10-8 win over Vanderbilt in the opening game of the Nashville Super Regional at Hawkins Field.
Mississippi State (37-25) and Vanderbilt (34-26) will resume the best-of-three series today with an 8:30 p.m. start on ESPN. The winner will advance to the College World Series.
The Diamond Dawgs took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning after Vanderbilt threw away a ball to plate a pair of Diamond Dawgs. Hunter Stovall scored after reaching first on a wild pitch and Justin Foscue scored after hitting a single.
The game was tied 2-2 in the third inning after two MSU errors and two Vanderbilt base hits.
State then scored five runs in the third inning to take a commanding 7-2 lead. Jake Mangum walked and Rowdey Jordan singled to start the inning. Tanner Allen and Stovall then hit back-to-back RBI-singles. MacNamee hit a three-run home run to cap off the big five-run inning.
The Commodores came back and scored five runs in the fifth inning to tie things at 7-7. Three walks and an error made it a 7-5 game. Pat DeMarco then hit a two-run home run to left field to knot things up at 7-7.
In the eighth inning, Luke Alexander reached on a fielding error and then reached third after a sac-bunt from Dustin Skelton and a sac-fly from Jordan Westburg. Jake Mangum’s single in the inning scored Alexander and gave State an 8-7 lead before DeMarco hit a triple and scored on a throwing error to tie the game at 8-8.
Tanner Allen began the bottom of the ninth inning with a groundout, but Stovall then followed with a single and MacNamee followed with the game-winning two-run home run to give the Dawgs a 10-8 win.
MSU out-hit Vandy 11-10, but the teams combined for seven errors, four from MSU. Stovall and MacNamee led the way with three hits apiece for State.
Ethan Small got the start on the mound for the Diamond Dawgs. Small allowed four runs, thee earned on six hits in his four innings of work.
JP France then followed and got two outs, before Cole Gordon came in. Gordon pitched 3.1 innings of shutout relief on just one hit. He had three strikeouts and a walk.
Riley Self (5-0) pitched the ninth inning to pick up the win.
Zach King (1-4) is charged with the Vanderbilt loss.
With a 1-0 series lead and the series resuming today, the Dawgs need just one more win to secure a spot in the College World Series for the first time since 2013.