OMAHA, Neb. — The No. 7 overall seed Mississippi State baseball team could not overcome a seven-run first inning as it lost to No. 4 Vanderbilt 8-2 Monday night at TD Ameritrade Park in the first game of the College World Series finals.
With the loss, the Bulldogs fall to 48-18 and must win on Tuesday to stay alive. The Commodores (49-16) are one win away from a second consecutive national championship.
The Bulldogs led 1-0 in the top of the first inning before the Commodores scored six runs off MSU junior starting pitcher Christian MacLeod (6-6) and one run off senior Chase Patrick in the first inning.
After the first inning, MSU held Vanderbilt to just one run and two hits. In total, MSU held the Commodores to five hits.
Freshman Cade Smith and junior Brandon Smith pitched two scoreless innings apiece. Sophomore KC Hunt then allowed one run in two innings of work and freshman Jackson Fristoe pitched the eighth inning.
Vanderbilt sophomore starting pitcher Jack Leiter (11-4) allowed two runs on three hits and fanned eight batters with three walks in six innings of work. Sophomore Nick Maldonado pitched the final three innings with four strikeouts for his ninth save.
MSU took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning when sophomore Kamren James hit a home run to left field.
In the bottom half, freshman Enrique Bradfield Jr. was walked and advanced to second on a groundout. Junior Dominic Keegan was then walked and Bradfield stole third. Junior Tate Kolwyck was hit by a pitch to load the bases before sophomore Parker Noland was also hit by a pitch to plate one run. Sophomore CJ Rodriguez scored two runs with a single through the left side, making it 3-1.
A popout followed before junior Isaiah Thomas hit an RBI double down the left-field line. The final three runs of the frame came from a three-run home run by senior Jayson Gonzalez to give Vanderbilt a 7-1 lead.
In the top of the fourth inning, senior Tanner Allen led off with a double to right-center field. Sophomore Logan Tanner scored him with a two-out single down the left-field line to make it 7-2.
Gonzalez walked to start the bottom of the seventh inning and was sacrificed up to second. Sophomore Carter Young’s RBI single ended the game’s scoring at 8-2.
The Bulldogs will look to bounce back in Game 2 on Tuesday at 6 p.m. CT on ESPN.