STARKVILLE, Miss. — The No. 7 overall seed Mississippi State baseball team outlasted No. 10 seed Notre Dame 9-8 on Saturday to begin a best-of-three series in the Starkville Super Regional at Dudy Noble Field.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, sophomore Logan Tanner hit a solo home run to give the Bulldogs (44-15) a 9-8 lead. Sophomore closer Landon Sims then struck out three in two perfect innings for his 10th save of the season to seal the win.
Junior Preston Johnson (3-0) got the win after a giving up one run on two hits in 2 2⁄3 innings. He fanned two batters.
Senior Rowdey Jordan finished with three hits, two RBIs and three runs, while sophomore Kamren James and junior Brad Cumbest finished with two hits apiece. James accounted for two RBIs. Senior Tanner Allen scored three runs on a 1-for-3 day at the plate.
Sophomore pitcher Tanner Kohlhepp (7-2) got the loss for the Fighting Irish (33-12), giving up four runs, three earned, in four innings of work. He struck out four batters and walked one.
In the top of the first inning, seniors Spencer Myers and Ryan Cole hit back-to-back singles to lead off. A double-play grounder sent Myers to third before junior Carter Putz’s single to center field gave Notre Dame a 1-0 lead.
Allen homered to right field in the bottom half of the first inning to knot things up at 1-1. On the first pitch of the second inning, junior Brooks Coetzee hit a home run to left field and the Irish jumped ahead 2-1.
In the top of the third inning, Cole drew a leadoff walk. After a strikeout, senior Niko Kavadas and Putz were both hit by a pitch. Sophomore Jack Brannigan scored Cole with an RBI single to right field to increase the Notre Dame lead to 3-1.
MSU managed to even the score in the bottom half of the third inning. After a flyout began the inning, Jordan doubled to right field before Allen was intentionally walked. James followed with a single to center field. An error on the play advanced all runners and allowed Jordan to score. Another Notre Dame error allowed junior Luke Hancock to reach first and Allen to score to make it a 3-3 ballgame.
In the top of the fourth inning, junior Zack Prajzner doubled to right-center field before an RBI single from Myers plated him and gave Notre Dame a 4-3 lead.
Prajzner had a three-run home run in the top of the fifth inning that gave Notre Dame a 7-3 lead.
The back-and-forth game continued in the bottom half of the fifth inning as MSU drew within a single run. Jordan led off with a single to left field and Allen reached on a fielder’s choice. An error allowed Jordan to advance to second. A single by James scored Jordan before a wild pitch advanced Allen to third and James to second. A throwing error scored Allen before James scored on a groundout to make it 7-6.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, freshman Kellum Clark drew a one-out walk. A strikeout followed before Jordan hit a two-run home run to give the Bulldogs an 8-7 lead.
Brannigan hit a leadoff double in the top of the seventh inning and scored on Prajzner’s RBI double to left field to tie the game at 8-8. In the bottom half, Tanner hit an opposite-field home run that ended the game’s scoring at 9-8.
MSU and Notre Dame will play again Sunday at 5 p.m. CT on ESPNU. The Bulldogs are a win away from their 12th trip to the College World Series.