OMAHA, Neb. — Senior Tanner Leggett came into the game in the seventh inning as a defensive replacement and became the hero Saturday night at TD Ameritrade Park when his walk-off RBI single gave No. 7 Mississippi State a 4-3 win over No. 2 Texas to put the Bulldogs in the College World Series finals.
The Bulldogs (48-17) return to the CWS finals for the first time since 2013, while the Longhorns end their season at 50-17.
MSU outhit Texas 11-4 and had four players record multiple hits. Senior Rowdey Jordan, senior Tanner Allen, sophomore Logan Tanner and freshman Kellum Clark all recorded two hits apiece. None were bigger than the one Leggett hit, which was his first hit in more than a month.
Sophomore starting pitcher Will Bednar struck out seven batters in 6 1⁄3 innings and allowed three runs on four hits. Sophomore closer Landon Sims (5-0) pitched the final 2 2⁄3 innings and allowed no runs and no hits with four strikeouts to get the win.
Texas redshirt sophomore pitcher Cole Quintanilla (5-1) was charged with the loss after allowing one run on two hits in 3 1⁄3 innings with five strikeouts and one walk.
The Longhorns took a 2-0 lead in the top of the second inning when redshirt sophomore Ivan Melendez drew a leadoff walk and redshirt junior Cam Williams homered to right field.
The Bulldogs cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the third inning. Clark led off with a double to left field and scored on Allen’s two-out single up the middle.
Doubles from redshirt freshman Douglas Hodo III and redshirt senior Mike Antico increased the Texas lead to 3-1 in the top of the fifth inning. In the bottom half, junior Brad Cumbest doubled down the right-field line and advanced to third on Clark’s single to right field. Freshman Lane Forsythe then grounded into a double play, but Cumbest was able to score to make it a 3-2 ballgame.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, sophomore Kamren James walked and junior Luke Hancock singled to right field to put runners on the corners. Tanner followed with an RBI double to tie the game. The Bulldogs then loaded the bases with no outs, but Quintanilla was able to get out of the jam.
A strikeout began the bottom of the ninth inning before Clark was hit by a pitch. Senior Brayland Skinner pinch ran for Clark and stole second to set the stage for Leggett. Leggett sent a ball to left-center field and Skinner came around to score to give the Bulldogs the walk-off win.
The Bulldogs will now face No. 4 overall seed Vanderbilt in a best-of-three series to crown the national champions. The series begins Monday at 6 p.m. CT on ESPN2.