STARKVILLE, Miss. — The Mississippi State baseball team is headed back to the College World Series for the second-straight year after sweeping Stanford in the Super Regional round. The Diamond Dawgs topped the Cardinal 6-2 on Friday before clinching their spot in the CWS with an 8-1 win on Sunday night at Dudy Noble Field.
This will be the Diamond Dawgs’ 11th trip to the CWS in program history.
Stanford (45-14) took a 1-0 lead after the first inning when junior Kyle Stowers hit a leadoff home run to center field. After that hit, starting pitcher Peyton Plumlee got into a groove and didn’t allow another hit until the bottom of the seventh inning.
MSU (51-13) was held without a hit in the first two innings, but got things going in the third inning by scoring four runs. State would add a run in the fourth inning before three more runners came across to score in the ninth.
The Dawgs loaded the bases in the top of the third inning. Senior Marshall Gilbert led off with a single through the left side. A groundout would follow before sophomore Jordan Westburg headed to first base after being hit by a pitch. After a strikeout, senior Elijah MacNamee drew a walk to load the bases. One run came in to score when sophomore Justin Foscue worked a bases loaded walk. Junior Dustin Skelton then smashed a ball to the fence in right-center field. Three runs came across to score and Skelton found himself standing on third to give State a 4-1 lead after the top of the third.
State would add a run in the fourth inning to take a 5-1 lead. Gilbert hit a one-out single before senior Jake Mangum singled to right center and moved Gilbert over to third. A sacrifice fly from Westburg plated Gilbert.
The score remained the same until the top of the ninth inning when the Dawgs added three more runs to their lead. Mangum and Westburg began the inning with back-to-back singles. A flyout would follow before MacNamee cleared the bases with a three-run homer to left field to give MSU an 8-1 lead. It was the fan-favorite duo of Mangum and MacNamee that really got the 11,597 fans at Dudy Noble Field on their feet. The Dawgs were three outs away from going back to Omaha.
State called on ol’ reliable graduate student Cole Gordon to get the final three outs, just like he did four other times in these playoffs. He did just that by pitching a clean inning with two strikeouts.
As a team, State outhit the Cardinal 11-4. Mangum had two hits to go along with a run scored. Skelton and Gilbert joined him with two-hit efforts, while MacNamee led the squad with three RBIs.
Plumlee (7-4) allowed just two hits in 6 2⁄3 innings with his lone earned run coming from the leadoff homer. He fanned six batters and walked one.
Senior Jared Liebelt then allowed two hits and struck out two batters in 1 1⁄3 innings of work.
Junior Erik Miller (8-3) was charged with the Stanford loss after allowing four runs—all earned—on two hits in 2 2⁄3 innings of work. He struck out five batters and walked four.